March 30 2016
Testimony of Sasha Tsutserov
parents were members of the Communist Party. They never spoke of God or the
Bible. However, when I was five years old, my grandmother insisted that I be
baptized in the Orthodox Church. This was all done in secret — miles outside of
a dimly lit sanctuary. Although I was young, the Holy Spirit touched a hidden
yearning in my heart for spiritual reality.
had lost virtually all traces of Christianity during 70 years of Communist captivity.
Her legacy to me was one of atheism. I became a member of the Communist Party
and secured a position in the KGB. I had a beautiful wife Natasha, a precious
daughter Julia, good friends, a bright future, and all that I dreamed of as a
befriended an American girl whose father was a missionary in Moscow. Soon
after, Natasha was engaged as their private Russian language tutor. As the head
of my home and a KGB agent, I felt obligated to investigate these foreigners
who had made such an impact on my family. I was awestruck by the humanitarian
aid distributed by their church. And I was irresistibly drawn to their joy for
life, for each other, and for the Lord. Step by step, I began to realize their
generosity and joy stemmed from their love for God. At first, I gave God a
50/50 chance: since no one could prove God’s existence, then no one could deny
Him either. I stepped away from my aggressively atheistic realm. Then, while
praying at one of the church retreats, I had a vision. I saw God standing on
the top of a mountain. I felt I was a jar of clay. God was pouring down pure
gold of the Holy Spirit right inside of the jar – me. From that moment on, I
needed no evidence for God’s existence, for I knew God in Jesus Christ. I came
back home that day. My wife Natasha met me in the door and said, “What’s wrong
with you?” I said, “What’s wrong with me, honey?” She said, “You are smiling!”
You see, I had never smiled before. But that day Jesus made me smile. Now, my
smile gave me away. I did not know any better than to admit that I became a
Christian. She, in turn, confessed to me that she had become a Christian even
earlier than I did only she was scared to death to talk about it with her
husband, a KGB agent! In July 1993, I was baptized and openly proclaimed my
faith in Jesus Christ.
realized I could not keep both my faith and my job, so I quit working for the
KGB. We – as a part of a team of ten converts – planted a church in Moscow. And I also knew
God had called me to ministry in education. But there was no school in Russia
offering a degree in Biblical Studies because the Communists had prohibited
theological training. Therefore, I had to study abroad. In 1997, I graduated
from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, with a Master of
Divinity degree (mentored by Dr. Ben Witherington, III). In 2004, I earned a
Ph.D. in New Testament at the University
of St. Andrews in Scotland (mentored by Dr. Richard Bauckham). While studying,
I also worked at the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary by consecutively
taking each and every position the school had – from a secretary to the
Today, I am a full-time minister -
director and professor of the Moscow Seminary. We are raising a whole new
generation of Christian leaders from scratch. Under Communism, more than
200,000 Christian leaders were martyred and nearly 40,000 church-owned
buildings were destroyed. I now have realized a new dream. Not the dream I
sought as a young man; that dream did not include God. But the dream of you and me, together,
training men and women to evangelize the lost and plant churches across Russia
and the former Soviet Union is becoming a reality!
To support Sasha, director and
professor of Biblical Studies at the Moscow Seminary, please donate online here.
To support the ministry of MECS, you can donate online here.
March 22 2016
a Jew, about once every three months, I like to participate in the Jews for Jesus
campaigns. With my Jewish brothers, I teach the New Testament on Saturdays, in
addition to my regular church responsibilities on Sundays.
semester at MECS, I have some classes I enjoy and some that are not as practical.
One class that is useful in ministry is my counseling course. I am involved in
ministry at a Center of Social Adaptation (our church reaches out to its
inhabitants). There are many abused people in recovery at the center, and I want to apply some of the knowledge and skills I’m gaining in counseling there.
really enjoy my church music and Russian language & rhetoric classes. I also
love our church leadership course! It is based on the history makers curriculum
and led by a true leader – pastor of a church and doctor of ministry. It is
it can be tough to carry on with all the responsibilities in my church, along with Jews
for Jesus ministry, and the seminary course work. Thank you for your prayers and
Efremenko, MECS student
Moscow Evangelical Christian
Seminary was founded in 1992 by One Mission Society. MECS’ reputation as a premier theological training
institution continues to grow as former students spread the word. The seminary
offers theology, church ministry, youth ministry, and camp ministry degrees at
both the master’s and bachelor’s levels. While studying, students enjoy a
hands-on experience as part of their course work, in addition to service in
local churches. The seminary is located in Russia’s capital city, Moscow, and
is directed by Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Tsoutserov.
Currently, there are approximately 100 students studying at the seminary.
If you'd like to donate to MECS, click here.
March 17 2016
Kazennyh is excited about Jesus. He is a student at the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary (MECS). Vasiliy recognizes the
value of his classes at MECS and how they will help him in his future ministry. He says he chose MECS because it is so local church oriented. The seminary emphasizes being involved IN ministry WHILE studying. Vasily says each class is relevant to practical ministry situations.
Vasily is also involved in ministry at his church, training the
school-aged children in evangelism. He says one of his favorite parts of this ministry is seeing these tender souls accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
He also volunteers at a charity shop to
help in the community and his fellow MECS students. Vasily says, "Our students come from all over Russia and the former Soviet Union. They are poor. To cover their basic needs, we collect used clothes, shoes, etc. and distribute them (at a fraction of the cost) among the needy students. (All the proceeds help support ministries of the seminary.)"
Thank you for advancing the kingdom of God in Russia through the Moscow Seminary!
OMS began work in Russia in 1993, sending short-term teams with
CoMission. We then inaugurated MECS in September
The students of MECS are special … and are becoming the leaders of the
Russian church and the nation.
If you'd like to support MECS and students like
Vasily, give here.
March 9 2016
“Thank you so very much for participating
in advancing the Gospel in Russia!”
Beshlyaga is a student at Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary (MECS) in Russia. Here’s his testimony:
“The church the Lord helped me plant in Nizhny
Novgorod (a city of 1.5 million people, 250 miles East of Moscow) is doing
great! Each Sunday, about 50 come to worship. We have three Sunday school
classes after each service: one for kids, one for new converts, and one for
those preparing for church membership and baptism. On Mondays, we have our
leadership team meeting. On Tuesdays, our cell groups meet in homes. On Wednesdays
through Fridays, we are devoted to our Bible school studies (to prepare church
members for mission work in other towns and villages). And on Saturdays, we do
our Youth Club and evangelism, (we actually do evangelism every single day of
“The seminary teaches me a lot for
ministry. I am currently working on my thesis.
Natasha, my wife in purple, is now also a student
at MECS, studying counseling, as well as being six months pregnant with our
third daughter. I covet your prayers with her doing it all simultaneously, studying
at the seminary and taking care of our family and the church. But I am excited
that we will soon be able to minister together as a team.
“Our studies at the Moscow Seminary are
only possible through your help, my dear coworkers in Christ. I am thankful.
And I want you to know that your investment in me pays back in the form of
souls of Russians being saved by Jesus Christ the Lord.”
support Ivan and other students like him at the Moscow Seminary, click here.
March 4 2016
note: This month, we will feature the ministry of Moscow Evangelical Christian
Seminary (MECS). OMS began work in Russia in 1993, sending short-term teams
with CoMission. OMS inaugurated MECS in September 1993.
students of MECS are special … and are becoming the leaders of the church and
the nation. Look for testimonies of the students in the coming weeks...
The students of the Moscow
Seminary take Jesus’ charge, “You are My friends if you do what I command you”
(John 15:14) literally.
Bible teaches, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is
this: to look after orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). And so,
not only do our students and graduates reach out to orphans with the Gospel in state
orphanages, but they also get kids out of orphanages by adopting orphans into
their own families.
appeals, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you
gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in”
(Matthew 25:35). And so, not only do our students preach the Gospel to the
homeless, but they also feed them.
are 234 student-ministers studying at the seminary “to prove themselves doers
of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22). They need your help to
continue. Click here to donate online or you can make your check payable to One
Mission Society, P.O. Box 1648, Monument CO 80132-1648, account #301710.
By Sasha Tsutserov, Director
of Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary in Russia