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Pavel Unguryan: Gaining height / Interview on a runway

What are your greatest impressions from this meeting?

The greatest impression I have had is that the Holy Spirit “breathes where He wishes,” i.e. worldwide. His presence is felt everywhere. And the top leaders whom before I could only see on TV, in official set-up, here were seen closely and I saw that they are good Christians. They openly spoke about their belief in Christ. For example, one of the most influential people in the world, former Prime Minister of the Great Britain Tony Blair, now representative of the United Nations in the Middle East, simply told about his spiritual experiences connected with the childhood. When his father, an atheist, fell seriously ill, small Blair agreed with his teacher to pray for him. He was very concerned that nothing would happen, for his father did not believe in God. And Blair remembered the words of his wise teacher, “Do not worry about it. Most importantly, God believes in him.” President B. Obama called to pray for economic and political situation in the world, not forgetting to make joint efforts for its improvement.

Don’t you feel yourself a “player on the opponent’s field” in politics, for they say that politics is a dirty thing? And why does the politics have  such unattractive image in the eyes of our Christians?

The opinion about politics’ dirtiness is not an exaggeration. But not the work is dirty not only in politics. There are also other jobs: a sanitary technician, a nightman, etc. where it is necessary to deal with unpleasant things as well. Yet these jobs are also necessary. And consequently there are Christians whom God called to work in politics. In our country, this was not possible for a long time. But at the beginning of the last century, when the opportunity came for a short time, for example, such an outstanding minister of the Baptist brotherhood of Russia as Ivan Stepanovich Prokhanov http: // www.evangelie.ru/forum/t25695.html successfully worked in politics, being at the same time leader of the All-Russia union of Christian youth. In the West, participation of Christians, including Baptists, is a usual event which besides is welcomed by society, such politicians are preferred. J. Carter, being President, conducted a Sunday school class. Now in our country there is an opportunity for Christians to take in the leading positions in legislative and governmental spheres. Such opportunities are given by God and they should not be overlooked! I am convinced that being a Christian and a statesman is quite compatible.

Is it really possible to talk about Christians’ influence? In what, for example?

In this question, it is necessary to distinguish the concepts of “the influence of church” and “the influence of Christians.” Church and state are separated from each other legislatively in our country. Therefore it is a question of influence of some Christians. Such influence is not only possible - it is necessary. There are many serious questions, for example, moral, ethical, where the opinion of Christians sounds very importantly. This is why I rejoice when seeing that Christians hold positions in areas and regions.

In the Supreme Council, for more than half a year there gathers a prayer group which I already mentioned. It is made of about 10 MP Christians, representatives of various denominations and political parties. Together we read and study God’s Word, pray, then have tea together. We take turns in theme preparation.

Aren’t there any sisters?

Not in the Parliament so far. But we pray that women get converted!

Was it hard to make the choice between a Christian youth leader and a politician?

Actually, I did not have to make the choice, since I continue to be engaged in youth ministry in our ECB brotherhood as the youth committee leader. The ministry among youth seriously helps me with legislative activity. I see difficulties which our youth faces, and this induces me to concentrate on such questions as cleanliness of the Internet, its protection against immoral publications, laws on alcohol. In particular, the project on the interdiction on sale of alcohol near educational institutions, vacation spots and public places is prepared for the first reading, etc. I am very concerned about problems of large families, as I am from such family, and I participate in work on the corresponding bill. So my ministry and parliamentary work are closely bound, one helping the other.

Isn’t it time to open a new department at ECB – that of “political ministry”?

Well… not with such name, of course… Maybe as a department of ministry among politicians…

What goal do you want to reach in politics?

My purpose is on those levels where God enables to work, help people to become Christians, i.e. that politicians become Christians. Yes, it is possible to call it evangelism. And secondly, working in the Parliament, we can help churches and individual Christians with their problems..

How does being a Baptist influence your image?

Only positively. Baptists are considered serious people

…And how does politics influence you as a politician?

Parliamentary work gives a wide outlook, also experience and, the main thing, is means of solving of issues of my ministry. For example, during the organization in August of the last year of the First congress ECB youth of the CIS countries and Baltic, there was a complex situation with the arrival almost twice as many participants as it had been planned. Then I addressed the Ministry of Defence, explained the situation, and minister was so moved that personally disposed to give huge tents on 1000 places from military warehouses. Maybe it was not so comfortable as in buildings, but everyone was placed, nobody slept on the ground in the  open air!

From the height of your position, what it is now necessary to pray for our country?

In the past few months I felt an incredible spiritual pressure which is rolling on Ukraine. There has been coming a huge dirty wave, dirt coming with mass media - internet, TV, ads, movies...

Yes, there are things to pray for…

And to act. I am a member of the National Commission of experts in public morals.

Can you give phones to which one can call in any scandalous cases of violation of morals?

Certainly: (044) 255 41 99 – reception, (044) 234 82 41 – AUC ECB Youth Committee.

I should turn off my mobile phone now – the plane is ready to take off…

We wish you success, Pavel!

Interview conducted by Olga Dorofeeva

More on P. Unguryan, in “Horizons" magazine, # 2, 2008

Published on 25.02.09

Translated by Anna Sedova

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