Rev. Mikhail Starilov during a baptism.
Rev. Mikhail Starilov, pastor of the Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Borisoglebsk, Russia, has shared some highlights of his and his wife’s mercy and Gospel-sharing ministry.
Note: The LCMS supports Rev. Starilov’s work through projects in collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR). This post was shared by the ELCIR.
“An elderly neighbor of ours came to us asking for help to pay for a medicine she needed. As we met, we talked about aiding old people and what moves believers to help the needy. With tears in her eyes, she told us about her life and asked us to keep her in our prayers. She also brought her Bible and we told her what she needed to read especially. We also discussed what the Bible is and how one should read it.
“As my wife Lyubov and I were out for a walk with our little child, an old woman came up to us as she likes our son and we chatted about children. As we talked I mentioned where I serve and she wanted to know what Lutherans believe in. It turned out she did not know that Christ is Lord. As we were walking, we told her about Jesus. I invited her to our worship service and she said she would consider coming because she was interested.
“As we were providing diaconal aid to a family with disabled people, my wife was helping an old woman with personal hygiene and I talked to the woman’s husband. He had suffered a minor stroke a short time before and has trouble speaking but he had asked me to talk to him about repentance and what exactly he needed to repent of and why. I told him about the 10 commandments, prayed for him, and committed to come back a week later. This family has been welcoming us very warmly and each time we meet we get to tell them more about Jesus.
“In early January, in our town’s central square I met with a married couple I am acquainted with. As we caught up on news about our kids and they played with my son, they asked me when we celebrated Christmas and I saw this an opportunity to reach out to them with the Good News of Jesus. We talked about the birth of our Savior into this world and I told them about prophecies about his birth. It was a revelation for this family to learn that Christ is God. I invited them to our Sunday worship. They have visited us personally on January 7, the Russian Orthodox Christmas Day, in our house where we continued to talk about spiritual matters.
“On January 6, an elderly neighbor of ours asked us to help buy her groceries. When I brought them to her house, we talked about the differences between our church calendars as the Russian Orthodox Christmas was the next day and we Lutherans were already celebrating the Baptism of our Lord. The neighbor and her husband asked me to tell them more about why this was so and I used the chance to share the Gospel in this conversation and spoke more about the meaning of those festivals and what they tell us about the person of Jesus. Those neighbors had come to our church once before and I invited them to come to our worship service.
“On January 7, I talked to two groups of children who came to our house singing carols for treats and explained to them more about Jesus whose birth they were praising. ”