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The Taxi Cab Missionary

By Emily Stroble | September 27, 2021

The large windows of the church Smirnov Vyacheslav Mikhailovich attends with his wife and daughter look out on a construction site. During services that can stretch over four hours, Smirnov wonders what the crane operator working next-door thinks of the worship he sees from his high perch?

During the week, Smirnov drives a cab in Novgorod, near St. Petersburg in Russia. Like crane operators, taxi drivers have a unique perspective on their city. They’re experts in shortcuts and creative routes. Cabdrivers embody “hustle” – the ability to see opportunities and adapt creatively to obstacles.

Smirnov hustles more than people; he hustles the gospel.

Smirnov has made sharing the gospel a habit, as natural as putting on his seatbelt. He is always prepared with gospel literature to give away.

Smirnov cares about each passenger. He asks about their day, their problems, their hopes, and their questions.

“Two women got in the car,” Smirnov shares.

One of the women said, “I recognize you. Remember, you gave me the New Testament.” Smirnov’s gift had encouraged her after a difficult day, she explained. “I feel so bad sometimes. I came home from work, opened the gospel, and read it.”

The other passenger listened as her friend excitedly described how “she began to sleep peacefully. Now, she had peace in her soul.”

“After a few minutes of this conversation,” Smirnov says. “The second woman couldn’t stand it and said, ‘I want to read such a book!’

“I replied that I could give her a gospel, too.”

This woman felt drawn to the life-changing book but was even more interested in the friendship it had sparked. “It’s as if you had known each other for a long time,” she said.

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