Russia Publishing House Celebrates 25 Years Instilling Hope

The Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in Russia recently celebrated 25 years instilling hope during a special weekend of thanksgiving and missionary commitment. From June 2-4, Source of Life Publishing House employees and church leaders met in Zaoksky, Tula Region, Russia, to thank the Lord and the faithful workers responsible for the publication of 50 million copies of books and handbooks of various genres and styles.

“It is the Lord who has blessed our efforts during these 25 years of service,” said church leaders time after time during the celebratory events. Source of Life is the only Russian Protestant publishing house with its own printing facilities in the Russian Federation and publishes Christian literature in thirteen languages, including Armenian, Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Uzbek.

A Long Tradition of Book Promotion

The Adventist Church literature evangelist ministry—or the activity of selling religious books door to door—started early in the Russian Empire. By the end of the 19th century, literature evangelists were not only selling books, but private printing houses were producing Adventist magazines. When authorities imposed a total ban on religious books, copying books by hand and self-publishing became the methods faithful Christians chose to keep sharing their beliefs.

“We all understand that the essence of your business is education,” said Larisa Akimova, head of the Zaoksky district, who stopped by at the anniversary celebrations to congratulate the publishing house employees. “[Your] books bring people joy and enlightenment.”

World church vice-president Billy Biaggi believes that a highlight of the publishing house has been its role in bringing people hope. “Millions of people are living without faith and hope, even though they badly need both,” he said. “Book publishing is bringing people hope.”

Weekend Celebrations

Those attending the solemn liturgy dedicated to the anniversary celebration paused to remember the pioneers who preserved books by copying them by hand. They also thanked the publishing house booksellers and readers, who keep the ministry moving forward. The focus of thanksgiving, however, was on God’s faithfulness.

“God fulfilled His promise because His Word has not returned empty,” leaders said.

“In remote villages and big cities, these books witness of the power of Jesus Christ to change lives,” said Publishing Ministries director Pavel Liberanskiy. “Even in places where there is not yet a single preacher, books are there, bringing hope.”

Liberanskiy said that in the last decade, Source of Life has published two volumes featuring stories of people who came to God thanks to their books. As part of the Sabbath worship service, several people shared their testimonies about finding Jesus through a Source of Life book donated or purchased.

Celebrations were capped by an Open House Day, which included lectures, literary cafés, and “meet the author” events.

“It was a miracle when the publishing house opened 25 years ago,” said Source of Life General Director Daniil Lovska. “And every year, the Lord continues to do wonders.”

This article was written by Alexander Evgrafov and originally published by Euro-Asia Division News & EUD News.

Image Credit: Euro-Asia Division News

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It would be remiss of me if I did not underline the good work that Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses have accomplished throughout the world. Having myself been a publishing House general manager I can testify first of all to dedicated staff members who were thankful to have had the privilege to serve God by working in such an institution and secondly of how literature pointing people to the Bible - and consequently to a life with purpose and hope - has indeed changed many men and women’s lives.
I recall one instance - as a young man earning pocket money to augment my meagre salary as a printer’s apprentice in a large secular publishing house - entering a home and selling the housewide a number of books on ‘bringing up’ young people and then returning that night to make a delivery when her husband was home.
He confronted me at the door wanting to know what ‘right’ I had to sell to his wife without his permission (1960!). I asked him if I could come in and explain and he indicated the lounge. I entered and was able to show him numerous testimonials from social workers, judges and magistrates and so on - and even the good Pope Pius XII himself. He seemed somewhat bored and began to rumage around in my bag, bringing out book after book. Placing his hand on my arm he simply said “Enough! How much does this lot cost?” and proceeded to write me out a cheque for every book I had in my bag and in his wife’s hands and requested me to return with other books the following month. Little did I realise at the time - he was the senior magistrate in that town.
I would love to know today, fifty-seven years later, how he and his family - and his grandchildren - had fared on the ten volume Bible Story, Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories and the many other books he brought - and which he described as being “entirely wholesome”.
I guess I could go on and on about the many exciting experiences I enjoyed in both selling SDA books and later serving in those publishing houses. Without doubt, the best years of my life. Sorry, in a way, that it is all over now . . .

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