Minsalem the ivory bone carver from northern Siberia, was a highly revered man in the Muslim society. He and his staff graciously received Jesse Fitch and the New Testaments. Immediately he looked for a gift to return. He reached up to take off his necklace. It seemed to be a little carving. It was a little ivory basket with a baby resting in it. Minsalem explained. This gift is for you. I carved it from the ivory tusk of the extinct mammoths which we find along the river banks.
There is a story behind this. Years ago, people were very poor and moved often with the reindeer. It was difficult to look after babies. They watched the water to see how it was flowing in the river. When the temperature was right and the sun was in the right place in its cycle, the babies would be put in baskets with something on them to attract attention. These would then float away. In the big towns down stream, people would hopefully see them floating past and would go out to get them. They would then raise the orphan child as one of their own children.
The story of Moses was explained and his ark in the river. The gospel was then brought to this man. He was amazed that such a story was in the Bible and said, “Your mission is the most important of its kind in a 100 years in Russia.” He has been visited many times since.
We are all drifting rapidly down the river of time. There is danger of being lost forever. We need a Savior to rescue us from being swept out into eternity – an eternity without hope. The Lord Jesus Christ saw our helplessness and need. When He suffered and died on the cross, provision was made to save us from our sins. If we acknowledge our sin and that we are drifting on to eternity, He is ready and able to save us. We need to trust Him alone, apart from any merit in ourselves, then we will have the joy of being in the family of God. “The Son of Man (Christ) is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Adapted by Louis Smith from the book “To Siberia With Bibles.”
Second printing now available from Conference Book Sellers, Douglas Yade (705) 567 5951 or Louis Smith (517) 569 2733