Serving God in an oppressed country

| October 4, 2012

Rev. Andrew Semenchuk has traveled the world preaching the Word of God. On Saturday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m., he will be a guest at Branch United Methodist Church, where he will share stories from his mission trips in countries that are oppressed and not free to worship God.

“So often, we talk about world missions and most of the time, it’s done through mail,” said Pastor Joel Mason of Branch UMC. “Doing it this way, it gives people a first-hand view. He (Andrew) wants to talk about the power of God and what God has done throughout the world.”

Semenchuk has seen a lot in his 80 plus years. His goal in coming to Branch is to share the excitement of his mission trips and for people to be able to see missions through new eyes. Some of his experiences include witnessing baptisms in Siberia, where water is below freezing, watching 16 young Christian seminary graduates serve the Lord in Tajikistan, just 13 miles from Afghanistan, and seeing three large churches in Alaska that want to become actively involved in world missions.

“He has a phenomenal energy,” said Mason. “I told him that I want him to explain to the people sitting in the pews what it looks like when they’re sitting in churches in a country that has suffered persecution. Our idea of worship is we go to church for what we can get from it, the singing, the entertainment. In his (Andrew) experience, people are coming to church because they have something to give away.”

Semenchuk is a 60 year veteran of the Slavic Gospel Association, which was founded in 1934 by Rev. Peter Deyneka who, at the age of 15 had immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Republic of Belarus. Their purpose is to help the evangelical churches make disciples of the people of Russia for Jesus Christ. For more information on the Slavic Gospel Association, visit www.sga.org.

“We tend to make God the God we want Him to be,” said Mason. “We want Him to be the God of love, the God who answers prayer. We don’t want the God of judgment. For these people living in these countries, it’s strengthened them and emblazoned them. We live in a place where we are free to go to church and worship God, but we draw back and shiver and shake.”

In addition to the Saturday night service, Semenchuk will also be preaching during the 9 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Oct. 7.

“What I hope the people take away from this service is, we have our stigmas in central Ohio when we say Russia,” said Mason. “But they’re still men and women giving their lives for Jesus Christ across the world. If we can make relationships with these men and women across the world, think of what we could do.”

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Category: Faith

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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