Attitude toward the West in Russian media lately has included the suggestion that Western charities and missions efforts are all part of a plot to take over the world.
President Putin has been noted as saying that he’s displeased with the amount of foreign money coming into the country and manipulating the political agenda.
Honestly, I have never met anyone doing charity work with false intentions. Misguided, maybe. But I fail to see how it could be interpreted as a plot to dominate the world. Yes, there are some people with a lot of money who sometimes finance charity events for political reasons. But I do not see those pretenses in people who actual work in the field. Visiting an AIDS hospital for example day in and day out is very hard to do if it is not a person’s true calling.
When we are falsely accused, one thing that we may do is to examine our own hearts to see how we stand before God. I know that I’m not trying to force a certain political agenda. I know that my co-workers aren’t either. There isn’t a single charity program that I know of that is pushing democracy on people. An isolated event here and there, perhaps, but not the dedicated work. Regarding charity programs unfamiliar to me, I work mainly with believers, and it is hard for me to understand how a person could find the strength to do such work without faith in God, simply using the motivation of human compassion. But it happens. What's so strange about it?
However, I confess that I do have a deeper motive. I do have another agenda, and one that Russian authorities might not be happy about. I didn’t come to Russia just to do charity work. Is that what everyone thinks? No, I came to preach the Gospel. To speak the truth. To help find some of God’s sheep who might be lost. I want people to change their way of thinking and be freed from the slavery of sin. And my message might differ strongly in some ways from the traditions of the Orthodox church. I’m not going to apologize for that.
I’m not trying to raise dissent against the leaders of this country or against the leaders of other faiths. But should I be offended that onlookers are suspicious of me? Not if I have assurance that I’m following the Lord’s will. I hope that the leaders and authorities do get nervous….nervous about the state of their own hearts. I hope that they learn somehow that power over other human beings will not grant them eternal contentment. Before it’s too late.