The Fields White Unto Harvest
By Tom Wacaster
The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest" (Matt. 9:37-38). About the middle of this year I received an invitation from brother Bill Hearn of Salt Lake City, to accompany him on a missionary journey to eastern Siberia in Russia. I had never been to that part of the world, and the reports which I had heard from those returning from that country were encouraging. I accepted Bill's invitation, and recruited brother Bob Deister, one of the elders at the congregation where I work, to accompany us.
Brother Hearn was not able to make the trip, and Bob and I departed the U.S. on September 23 for 21 days in a field "white unto harvest." From the time we arrived in Moscow, I observed the fruits of humanism, atheism, and communism. Russia is a country in disarray, suffering politically, socially, economically, and most of all, spiritually. There is, however, a hungering and thirsting to know about God, Christ and the Bible.
We spent 10 days in Barnaul, some 2,000 miles east, southeast of Moscow. We had been invited to teach English improvement classes in the Polytechnic Institute, using the Bible as our text, and emphasizing the spiritual concepts presented in God's Word. It would be an understatement to say that we were well received. We joined Ivan Kalishnikov and Glen and Connie Buffington, who had arrived a few days before Bob and I. This gave us a total work force of five. By week's end there were nine precious souls baptized into Christ, including a Baptist preacher.
We have learned since our departure from Barnaul that there were an additional 13 souls baptized while we were still in Russia, followed by 150 baptisms since the middle of October, bringing the Lord's church in Barnaul to number close to 200. The five of us completed the work in Barnaul on October 5, and traveled by train to Omsk, some 300 miles due west. There were no New Testament Christians in Omsk, and we were, in fact, the first Americans to visit that city in more than a half century. Arrangements had been made to speak at the University in the afternoons, and conduct Bible classes in the evening. By the following Sunday morning there had been 8 precious souls baptized into Christ. But once again, the seed planted would continue to produce a harvest, and before we left Russia we learned that an additional 14 souls had been added to the body.
There is a great need for workers in Russia. With the interest of the people, and the open door that God has given us, we must move to plant the seed in that part of the world that has been in darkness these many years. There are many efforts presently underway to take Bibles into Russia, by members of the Lord's body, as well as the multitude of false religions claiming to follow Christ. Our flight from New York to Moscow had a dozen or more Mormon "elders," planning on spending two years minimum in Moscow and surrounding cities. The Baptists have already made inroads into some of the smaller towns. Some of the Eastern religions are working hard to bring souls into bondage to a way that cannot save. If the harvest is to be gathered then we must see to it that these people are given the opportunity to hear the healthy doctrine that gives live.
The door is presently open because the Iron Curtain that kept the gospel out of Russia has come down. There is a move by the Russian Orthodox church to close that door. We have the resources to send preachers into Russia, if only for two or three weeks. The currency exchange is excellent, and souls that can be saved per the dollar ratio is as good, if not better, than anywhere else in the world.
God never gives us a challenge without providing the means by which that challenge can be met. Let us lift up our eyes and see fields that are white unto harvest.