Our eighth blog from Russia is an interview between Marshel Renz and Victor Uvarov. Our team has enjoyed having Victor as a part of our team. As a Russian-American, he has quite the testimony. He is a man of incredible meekness – a quiet strength. Here are some of his thoughts:
MR: The first time I had the opportunity to meet Victor, we were playing a game where we had to pick a verb or an adjective with the first letter of our name; I was “Marching Marshel” and Victor was awesomely named by the noun “T-Rex.” I had the opportunity to sit down with Victor this morning over a cup of tea before our daily devotions and ask him a couple of questions about our trip thus far. Wearing a “Red, White, and New” shirt with Isaiah 1:18, emphasizing the crimson blood that was shed for our purity, he expressed some of his thoughts on the mission (with some helpful and useful transitions from me).
MR: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you thus far?
VU: Yesterday, when we went to the Kursk War Memorial Museum, seeing Justin hit his head as he went down into the bunker. I’m just joking. When we went to McDonald’s and I was your wing man and introduced you to your new girlfriend. It started off when I asked her if she would pose in a picture with you. She was hesitant. Then I told her you already call her “girlfriend”, so she agreed. We later found she was nineteen…a good question to find out for you. Also at the war memorial, we saw a WWII picture of Mother Russia (in the similar fashion of Uncle Sam), and Justin made a joke to Andre, “If Mother Russia and Uncle Sam went on a date, you know a little romance in the Pacific, we would have saved all those years in the Cold War.”
MR: How has our ministry changed you? How will this experience continue to change you?
VU: I just learned about the promises, you know, if you promise the kids, you have to keep your promises. Also the kids get excited, which gets me excited. I’ve noticed that the orphans are more eager to spend the time with people closer to the age (referring to our team). I love the younger kids, more time with the kids, spend more time with the kids. Kids want to be in a relationship and have some good friends.
Katya has helped me, getting closer; she’s a friend that I can talk to openly. She’s close to me, she talks to me like a friend. Not much close talk before, she opens her heart and she trusts me more – spends more time with me. Tonight she wants to hang with me (and now the rest of the team now that she is a “war” card-game champion).
MR: How did you meet Katya?
VU: Graduation meeting in 2008. It was my first time with “Alone No More” in 2008. Interesting story, she came with her friends, so cocky, mouthy, her story, so ingrain, so protective. And I started talking to her, and she keep the distance, nothing too in depth. She wants to stop talking about certain subjects. But I heard in my heart, to keep asking her difficult questions about parents, about the hurt, I still remember the sentence, “God knows your hurts, He knows your problems. Every drop of your tears, He has in His hand.” And she started crying. Next day, we went to church, she repented and got saved.
MR: What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
VU: A chance to get in touch with the boys, more reserved, harder for them to open up. I can’t even get started in conversation with them, so untrusting, I try everything, I can’t get through. Any subjects, jokes, nothing was working. The weakest link they have is their parents, when you start talking about parents or trust, they start dumping, when you start talking about that, they start listening because they’re all looking for it. They have severe trust issues. Do you want to be a double orphan, an orphan in this life and an orphan in God’s kingdom?
MR: In your time of prayer, study, and reflection…what does God seem to be saying?
VU: I know what I have to do and use all my knowledge, He told us a long time ago, “just speak about Me, but before you do something, pray for strength,” I can do anything when I ask for God’s blessing, and every morning I pray, pray and pray, to renew the blessing, if God is going to bless you this morning you’re going to do great things, I hear this every morning, “come to Me,” every morning, like a commandment, start prayer for forgiveness all day, I just have to open my mind. It is important for rest at night, a better blessing for the next morning. The Bible reads, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, who’s confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit’” (Jeremiah 17:5-8, NIV). We all have to be dependent on the Lord, if something is coming, we’re not going to feel it, God speaks to me through scripture every morning.
MR: What is the one thing you want the people of Maltby and Merge to take away the most about Russia?
VU: I don’t know, I believe the people need to understand kindness, the world is so angry, we separate away from each other, and there is no kindness to each other. Kindness built through the missionary trip, experience kindness divine, start to use between each other, because we start losing if we don’t.
MR: Final thoughts?
VU: Share the salvation any chance you have, the biggest task in our life, this is my goal.