Nenets Fisherman

by Rob Weingartner

This story was related to me by Alexei Borisovich Teleus, the pastor of the Evangelical Christian Baptist Church in Noyabrsk, Siberia. He was also senior presbyter of the Yamal District of the Evangelical Christian Baptist Union in Russia. I preached at the church in Noyabrsk on January 22, 2006. It was 35 degrees below zero!

Several years ago (Alexei thought it was 1998 or 1999) a hungry Nenets fisherman left the town of Ceaxa on the Yamal Peninsula. The Nenets are hunters and fishermen, and reindeer-breeders who live on the Siberian tundra. The word that they use to describe where they live literally means “the end of the earth." From my visit to the region I would observe that if it isn’t the end of the earth, you can see it from there!

The man left the town at a time when things were pretty lean; he went looking for food. As he was fishing along the shore, he prayed to the god of his people, NUM, asking him for a sign.

Not long after the man finished his prayer, a Gideon Bible fell from the sky and landed near him. He forgot about the fish, picked up the Bible and went back into town saying, “I have received a sign.” Alexei told me that the man become part of a church in which there are thirty Nenets Christians. It was one of the first such congregations.

Now it all seems to be such a fantastic story. Is the Lord printing Bibles and sending them down by special delivery? What the villager did not know was that a helicopter had flown from Salekhard the same day he got his sign. In the helicopter were two government officials, bringing relief aid to needy locales. As they flew, they sorted through their cargo. One said to the other, “The cans of food are good. But what do we need with these books?” So he began throwing Gideon Bibles out the window of the chopper.

It is an extraordinary story make possible by ordinary means. Christians had paid to have those Bibles printed, paid to have them shipped to Siberia, and prayed that God’s Word would find good soil in the hearts of the Nenets people.

Friends, God uses our ordinary acts of Christian obedience in extraordinary ways. So do not grow weary in well-doing. Give and send and go and pray. The God who loves a hungry Nenets fisherman longs to bless others through you.

Rob Weingartner
Executive Director

The Outreach Foundation