Almost two years ago, I wrote about the joy I share when I hear—either directly or indirectly—from people who have been impacted by our ministry and the resources we produce (see “Sharing in the Joy!“, from March 1, 2013). I have recently been blessed again to hear some amazing accounts. One reader wrote, “I read as though I was trying to quench a thirst I never knew I had.”
His story starts out like a love story, yet you may not be “surprised” how it ends.
The following excerpt is from a letter to Dr. Bierle, author of Surprised by Faith, and president of FaithSearch International. My role as director of communications and publications includes editing and producing the books, both in English and Russian. So I was very excited to read this.
I just finished reading your book Surprised by Faith last night. I don’t really know where to begin, but… to begin where it makes sense would be a bit over a year ago. I met a woman… who has very deep faith. In the faith department I was pretty much the opposite of her.
I was brought up in a secular family…. The closest I got to religion while growing up was when my parents felt obligated to shuffle me to some aunt or uncle and attend their church….[I]t was difficult for me at first to understand how her deep faith might affect our relationship…. I was frankly very concerned that it might be a negative impact instead of something positive.
Fortunately it seems God had something planned for me. Something was missing in my life. Partly it was love but there was something more to it than that.
“I read as though I was trying to quench a thirst I never knew I had.”
I am not one to do things blindly without thinking them through. Since I live in the Twin Cities I started my search locally for an Orthodox Church where I could learn more. I was informed there was an adult education class on Sundays before the service and to return if I was interested.
It was in a recent class that I heard Oleg Vokresensky from FaithSearch speak about the introduction of religion classes in Russia. That really piqued my interest. I know how anti-religion Russia has been for many years. He presented part of the English version of the program that was made to teachers in Russia.
Sort of on impulse I picked up Surprised by Faith in both in Russian and English. I really didn’t realize at the time that the presentation he was giving entitled “Historic Foundations of the Christian Faith” was based on your book until I started actually reading it. I approached the book with a lot of skepticism as my background has been in hard sciences, engineering, and programming. My background seemed similar to your background in some ways and that really intrigued me.
I read as though I was trying to quench a thirst I never knew I had. The more I read, the more I could identify with examples in the book…. By midnight I had finished the book and looked at all the appendices as well as the section asking for anyone who was impacted by the book to write you.
The book has been a defining point in finding my faith. I would credit it as being the key piece that put me over the edge. So now I am embarking upon the first steps of my spiritual journey.
While I still want to do some research in a few key areas to better understand the Bible and the people within it, I now have a strong belief in God, I truly feel my faith for the first time. If it wasn’t for [her] I might never have found it. Meeting her truly set events in motion that ultimately led me to your book. They say God works in mysterious ways and now I understand how that can be applied to my life.
Thank you for writing your amazing book. It truly has had a profound effect on me. If your evidence is accurate as I believe it is, I can’t deny the significance of it. Blessedly I was open-minded enough to allow facts to speak for themselves.
My role in all of this was only to get some words printed on paper so our evangelists could bring them out into the public eye. And it is WONDERFUL to be a part of it.