There was one brother who was living across the Ural mountains, about fifteen hundred kilome-ters from Kiev in the central Ukraine. He was ministering to his village there. This was about 1932. He was a man of prayer. The Lord was teaching him. The time was coming for the great crush upon Russia, the confiscation, the killing, the shooting, the deaths in Siberia. So there were different rumors, that there would eventually be full control in Russia. So this brother was praying to the Lord, “Lord, you know what the people are talking about here. There are rumors that we will be persecuted and killed. So help us Lord, protect us and save us.” One of the nights when he was praying, the Lord said to him his name was Ivan, which means John in English - “My son Ivan, I'll lead you into the country of China. Get ready for journeying.” And the Lord set him a night. “On such and such a night you are going to leave this village.” And the Lord told him what to do. He was quite well off because he had eight cows and two purebred horses. And to have eight cows in Russia in those days was quite a good farming experience, with chickens and so forth, quite a good farming operation. So the Lord said, “You leave your house and leave your cattle, leave your purebred horses, and leave everything. And put your milk cow in your horse cart, harness her and put her in the horse cart. Take a couple bags of millet grain and some other food and leave this village at dusk, in the darkness. And leave on such and such a road.” The Lord told him to take a side road out of the village. And the Lord gave the name of the village he was to go to next. So, this brother was puzzled. “Lord, I have good transportation. My horses are good..” But, be-cause he was a man of prayer and a man of obedience, he decided to obey the Lord. When the night came, he harnessed his cow. The Lord even told him the name of the cow. So he harnessed her in the horse cart, he turned on the lights in the house, he fed his cattle, fed his horses, and then he put his children and wife on the horse cart and he quietly left. As he was passing through his village, people saw them traveling in the dusk of the evening and they said, “Oh no, we have another gypsy coming to our village.” Gypsies would travel throughout all Russia. They were stealing, they were doing witchcraft, they were doing all kinds of things and beg-ging. That's how they lived their lives, they never worked in Russia. There were many, many gypsies traveling in Russia for many centuries. So, the people thought this brother was a gypsy, because it was a common sight to see a gypsy traveling on a cow. Now, why did the Lord do this? Because at that time there was very strict control. People could not move in and out of their villages because the government was already gaining control over all the people. What they did in Russia was to slowly prepare the population. Each neighbor was told to spy on their next door neighbor, and to report what their neigh-bor says, and what their neighbor does, and where their neighbor goes. So each neighbor spies on his neighbor and reports to the KGB without knowing that he was being spied on by his neighbor too. They did it in secrecy and they offered them some reward. So people were doing that and movement was watched very closely. So if he had left on horses, it would have been known immediately that he was leaving the village. Nobody was allowed to move without permission from the authorities, from town or from your village. And they experienced that same thing in China when the Communists came. You had to have four stamps on a piece of paper, and your reasons for going, and how long you were going, before you could leave town. And only ten kilometers at a time. That was the same in China too, so I know what they're talking about. So then, this brother left quietly. He was taken for a gypsy. The Lord sent him on a side road. And at midnight of the night he left, the KGB came to take this brother to Siberia because he was proclaimed an enemy of the people, because he was supposedly a rich man. So his property would have been confiscated that night and he would have been taken to Siberia and gotten rid of. Of those taken to Siberia, many were killed. Some were needed for labor. Many rich people were simply shot; taken outside of villages and shot with machine guns or whatever. They killed many millions of people in Russia from 1933 on.
But this brother had left and when they came to pick him up there was no man. The family had disappeared. And they didn't know what to do, or what happened. The horses were there. Everything was there. And the lights were on in the house. But no man and no family. They were amazed. So they waited for morning and they saw the tracks leaving through the gate. They saw the direction he went. So they harnessed his horses and made a big chase along that main road. And of course, they were chasing for a long time with no results. Because the Lord sent him on a side road. And that man traveled to that village that the Lord told him to go to. The Lord told that man he would take him to China. But, of course, he hardly had any education and he had no beautiful road maps like you people have here. He had no road signs, nothing. They had to totally depend upon the Lord. All he knew was the name of the next village. He knew that one. And he was praying each time, and he was praying at night; it was summer time. And they were traveling on the cow. And they would pasture the cow and milk the cow, and make porridge with the millet, and feed the children. They praised God because they realized if they had traveled on horses, they couldn't milk horses. But they could milk a cow. So, the Lord uses the simple, the uneducated, the unwise of this world, to confound the wise and prudent. And the Lord put the KGB to shame by simply leading this man out to security and safety, to China on the cow. When he came to the next village, which wasn't very far, he prayed with his family, “Lord, is this China?” The Lord said, “My son Ivan, this is not China yet. I will take you to China.” Then the Lord told him the name of the next village. And he just moved on. And the Lord gave the next address and so on. And he had to ask people where the village was. He had no map. Russia had no maps in those days. So he would ask people, “Where is this village?” And they would point to the right road. And he happened to be moving south without knowing where he went. Like Abraham. Did Abraham know the address, did he know where he went? The Bible says Abraham left his country and didn't know where he was going. So this brother was just traveling on, and before he knew, by the end of summer - it took him all summer - he had traveled from the middle of Russia to the border of China. And here is a disappointment. When he came to the border the Lord told him to move on and so he went on, by the direction of the Lord, very close to the border. The Russian border at that time was already heavily guarded, with German Shepherd dogs and constant checking by guards on horseback. So it was already an iron curtain at that time. It was severely controlled because they did not want people to leave. It was very strictly checked. So when they saw this strange sight, a man with a family traveling in the direction of China, it was very suspicious. And so they caught him. They confiscated his cow, they took his cart away, and they made him a prisoner. And they caught some other people that looked suspicious to them, and they made them cut dry grass along the border for hay for their horses. So this brother was weeping a prayer at night, “Lord, what is this? You told me you would lead me to safety, you would lead me to China. Here I am, I left everything as you told me, and now I've lost my cow, I've lost my horse cart, I have nothing left, Lord. What is going on?” And the Lord was comforting him saying, “My son, cheer up and don't worry. I will take you yet to China. Just trust me. I will take you to China.” He was a prisoner. So they put his family and the others right by the border in tents, as a temporary dwelling place. And the men were made to work with scythes cutting hay, dry hay. His personal relative told me this story and there were many miracles along the way, but I have forgotten most of it. But one of the days when they were working, fire broke out on the Russian side of the border. A big fire. Then the wind started blowing, and this dry hay started burning very quickly. And this fire moved onto the group that was working, and onto the tents. The border guards started to panic and run for their lives, yelling orders. The workers dropped their scythes and ran for the tents to get their families. They wanted to run to safety. But the wind was increasing in force and the fire was moving very fast toward them. So everyone started to run for their lives, with their children. And this brother grabbed his wife and children and they were running away from the fire. They were running and run-ning and crying, “Lord, what is this?” And they just ran and ran. They ran for a long time. Eventually, when they were exhausted and had run far enough away from the fire to be safe, they fell down in the grass, totally exhausted. They started to weep and this man said, “Lord, here's my family running, and we're in a desperate situation. What is this? Why is this happening to me? Lord, where am I ?” And the Lord said to him, “My son, this is China.” He came to China. So the Lord deported him from prison into China by fire. And this man and his wife started to praise the Lord and rejoice and thank the Lord. And the Lord told them where to go, and so they found those four groups that had already arrived. Those four groups came to the same town. And so they joined them. They praised the Lord for his guidance and protection. And so these people, these simple people, who believed and trusted the Lord and his leadership, they never saw the starvation in the Ukraine. They never saw the persecution and trials. They never saw their children being taken away. They never saw Siberia and all those things which happened to Russia. It was a drastic, terrible time in Russia from 1933 on. Many millions of people died. And also, the Lord saved them from the great war. And that Second World War took twenty million lives from Russia and the Ukraine. That's a big number. Six million died in the Ukraine from starvation in 1933. So whatever the Lord promised them, it came to pass. He delivered them from that country, from starvation and from those troubles, from the war, as He promised. And because there was no communi-cation, there was no radio, and no mail going through to China in those desolate areas, those secluded areas in the mountains, they never knew there was starvation in Russia which took away many millions. They never even knew there was a war until some letters started to come. When the Communists came to China in 1948, then the news came. There was transportation, there was communication; the Russian trucks started to come. Russia and China became friends. And so then the news came. There was starvation in Russia, in the Ukraine, there was a war which took many lives. But these simple people were protected and saved by the Lord, led out from the area of calamity, and were living a very blessed life. It was a land of plenty because it was very rich soil, and the Lord blessed the fruits of their labors. Of course, they weren't rich by American standards, no. They were still simple farmers. But they had their cattle, they had their milk. And that brother who lost his house, he built a good house in China and lots more cows and lots more horses. So the Lord returned to him much more than he lost, for his obedience. He would have lost it the next night anyhow. But for obedi-ence to the Lord and his voice, he was richly repaid. Because the Lord is faithful and willing to bless his people if they obey his voice and follow Him.