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An attempted mugging opens the door to share the Gospel in Belarus.

By May 27, 2005

Belarus (MNN)–Gang members in Belarus got something more valuable than money recently.

JESUS film workers were walking to a bus stop after showing the JESUS Film when a gang approached, demanding that they empty their pockets.

Valery Tatarytski (tah-tar-YIHT-skee), is the head of Campus Crusade for Christ’s Jesus Film Project in Belarus. According to him, the leader of the gang, a brute of a man, accosted him, grabbed him by his lapels, and lifted him off the ground, threatening him.

The other team member was surrounded by the rest of the gang. Both were told to empty their pockets. Unlike his co-worker, who had only tracts in his pockets, Tatarytski had a half month’s salary in his other pocket.

But instead of handing the money over, he offered a greater treasure, and asked the gang whether they had ever heard of having a relationship with Christ.

When they said ‘no,’ Tatarytski tells us through his interpreter, Sergey Zhydryk (jhih-drihk), what happened: “We just managed to tell them that God loves people, that God has wonderful plans for this man. We told [him] that man is sinful that is why he cannot be happy, and that they need Christ.”

Over the next seven hours, the gang listened as the Gospel was presented through the tract, ‘The Four Spiritual Laws.’ But the danger wasn’t over. The leader grew angry and said he would prove God doesn’t protect.

To prove his point, he said he would ambush the next person to come around the corner, be it man, woman or child. Tatarytski began to pray. “Help. Lord, please send a policeman.”

Footsteps could be heard. As they approached, Tatarytski prayed harder that the person would not be elderly, a woman or a child.

The gang leader cocked a massive fist to beat his victim. The person rounded the corner, and…it was the gang leader’s best friend. The astonished criminal then asked, “What has happened here?”

Tatarytski told the young man, “God has shown you. Don’t tempt Him, because He loves you.” Again, he presented the Gospel. By this time, it was nearly time for the last bus to leave.

The team members pleaded with the gang to let them catch this bus. Surprisingly, they agreed, and escorted them back to the station. On the way, the gang members said it was the first time they had ever let anyone go without robbing and nearly killing them.

Before the bus left, the leader asked the evangelists to return so they could hear more of the story. The team has been back several times, since then, but haven’t seen the gang.

However, the experience was valuable. Says Tartartski, “We started to conduct teachings based on the experience that God gave to us. We suggested such a topic for youth–how to defend yourself without any weapons or arms.”

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