Former Atheists Assist with Spokane’s Russian Work
Eugene and Vika Savtchouk were atheists in the former Soviet Union country of Moldova until they were introduced to Christ at The Salvation Army. They had been invited to a worship service by their daughters, who had been attending the day camp at the Chisinev Central Corps conducted by a Western Territory summer service corps team. After much time and discussion with Majors Wes and Ruth Sundin, then Moldova regional officers, both gave their hearts to Christ.
In 1996, when they decided to emigrate to the United States, Major Gordon Helms, then Tacoma, Wash., corps officer, invited them to move to Tacoma. They began attending The Salvation Army and in July 1997, they were asked to open the work among the Russian speaking people of Spokane.
They have used many innovative means of reaching their countrymen. They have contacted Russian-speaking clients of the social services department; they advertised in the Russian language newspaper; they went to the immigration office and talked to the Russian speakers as they waited for their visas; they walked the streets of Spokane and found Russian barber shops, where they posted flyers announcing the start of a Russian Christian ministry at the Spokane Corps.
Response was immediate. At first they conducted parallel translations in the Holiness meetings, and soon decided to start their own services. In a few short months, they now have over 30 in their own worship services, 22 in a Bible class, and a women’s outreach ministry with 14 in attendance. Their goal is to have over 200 Russian speaking people worshipping in The Salvation Army.