Seventh-day Adventist members and volunteers in the Siberian city of Irkutsk polled the community to find out about their knowledge of the Easter holiday, a major celebration in Russia, on April 15. As they reached out and talked to the people, they invited them to attend a musical concert at their local church later that day.
Church pollsters included local church members and their pastor, as well as students from Zaoksky University—a Seventh-day Adventist-operated school—and other volunteers. The group took to the streets of Irkutsk—a Siberian city with a population of 600,000 located about 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers) east from Moscow—looking for residents willing to answer a few questions on Easter and provide examples from their personal lives.
“Are you familiar with the history of Easter?”, was one of the questions. Often, this and similar questions triggered memories in respondents, who opened and shared what they remembered and liked about that celebration. A retiree named Galina, for instance, shared dear memories of her childhood, as she told Adventist poll-takers how she would sit by her grandmother to listen to stories about Easter.
The Easter survey involved a fairly large number of respondents, including young people and mothers with small children. Someone shared how much her family enjoyed egg-painting, while another assured Adventist volunteers that she could recommend the most delicious Easter cake recipe.
At 5:00 pm on that same day, church members warmly welcomed visitors to the “Christ is Our Easter” musical concert. Musical performances focused on celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In the 90-minute musical program, members and their guests enjoyed the moving songs of the “Hope” choir, as they learned what Easter is about. A group of Zaoksky University students, who emceed the event, shared with the audience the deep meaning of some of the songs performed, such as “Marvelous Light,” “Jesus Calls You from the Cross,” “Let Us Sing to the Risen Christ,” and “People Need the Lord.”
After the musical performance, the local church pastor encouraged the audience to go to the Holy Scriptures for sound answers about Easter. “Only by studying your Bibles, will you be able to feel the love of Jesus, which He freely offers to everyone,” said the pastor.
Now the local Adventist community is praying for the Holy Spirit to work on these and other residents, so they may come to fully embrace the love of God.