“Incredible”: autobiography of John Nelson Parr — Contents
Chapter Seventeen: The Incredible New Bethshan
In 1960 the European Evangelistic Society requested me to visit Russia to find out what had happened to the Russian Pentecostal churches and their pastors. Before the Russian Revolution there were about 250 Pentecostal Assemblies in Russia and all the pastors of these churches were either put into prison or sent to Siberia. We had already received authentic information that the Chairman of the Pentecostal Churches had died in Siberia from exposure but we had no information about the other pastors. I travelled to West Berlin by plane and then, after much trouble, crossed the Iron Curtain to the East Berlin airport to catch the plane for Moscow and was met by one of the pastors of the Baptist Church. The Council of the “Union of Evangelical Churches and Baptists” (this is a union of “Evangelical Churches, Pentecostal Churches and Baptist Churches”, at that time—in 1960—they had a membership of over 500,000 and it was estimated that about 250,000 were Pentecostal people) provided a welcome meal for me and after this was finished the members of the Council bombarded me with questions for about two hours. I was the first British Pentecostal preacher they had met since the revolution and they wanted to know all about the Pentecostal movement in England. I had to be very careful and very diplomatic as I soon became convinced one of the members of the Council was a Communist member.
I did not ask them any questions until I was about to leave Moscow and then I suggested they should provide a farewell meal as I had about fifteen questions to put before them. They were delighted to fall in with my suggestion and the farewell meal was arranged for the evening before I left Moscow for London. I discovered all the pastors and ministers had been liberated. The meetings held in the Baptist Church were fantastic. There was Revival atmosphere in all the meetings and I could only say to myself “God is in this place”. There would be about fifteen hundred in every meeting and some would stand for over two hours. I did not see one person with a Bible but when the preacher read from the Bible many people were writing quickly on paper the portion which was being read. I discovered it was impossible to obtain a Bible in Russia because they could not obtain a permit to obtain paper for printing Bibles. Since my return from Moscow our society has sent a few hundred Bibles to Russia. Many remarkable facts were revealed to me and my visit proved to be very successful.
Chapter 19: An Incredible Service
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