Thursday 2 July 2015

Children of the Storm

I've recently reread Natasha Vins' autobiography, Children of the Storm and was surprised at the relevance of this book.

Natasha was the daughter of Georgi Vins, a Baptist pastor in the USSR, in the 1960s and 1970s. What made life difficult was that the state was atheistic and Natasha's father wasn't going to compromise his faith and give in the state restrictions on his faith. The family joined the Unregistered Baptists which led to a life of persecution. For Georgi, and for his elderly mother Lydia, that meant imprisonment. For the rest of the family, the implications were social disgrace, being picked on at school, being denied the chance of a university degree and even the threat of the children being removed from parental care.

Natasha was taught, in school, that religion was a lie and that the lessons she was taught, at home, were old fashioned and impeded advance. As a teenager, she had to face the stark choice between these two worlds and after her conversion, she went to work with an underground printing team.

Eventually, Georgi Vins was stripped of his citizenship and sent to the US in a prisoner swap. The rest of the family were given no choice but to follow and carve out a new life.

How is this book relevant in the post-Glasnost era?

In a time, when the Western world is also becoming aggressively atheistic, we need to understand the pressures that we may have to face. We need to remember Moses who
Chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Eygpt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Hebrews 11v25-26

Reading this book, reminded me of Jocabed, the mother of Moses, who didn't have much time to teach her son but managed to teach him that he wasn't Pharaoh's son and that serving the Lord is greater than the riches of Eygpt. Nastasha Vins was taught by her parents and grandmother within the limitations that they had. The Vins parents both had to work; the state provided education and part of the time her father was absent either being in the underground or in prison. 

Do we make the most of the freedom that we have? Yes, our children will learn secular humanistic values from everything around but are we teaching them about the Lord and His great love? 

Correct teaching didn't change Natasha. She had to come to know the Lord for herself but the Lord used the faithful witness of her parents through difficult circumstances. 

This challenging book is suitable for older children and adults. Highly recommended.

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  1. Thank you for this review! This sounds like a very good book.