Posted by admin in August 23rd, 2021
Published in Uncategorized

There are some things that are foolish, and then there are some things that look foolish to others because they don’t understand everything that is going on—they don’t know all the details.

Riding the Moscow underground (subway, Metro) alone late at night in the early 1990s was one of those things. It looked foolish. I know that. But I had to hold down three jobs to make ends meet as inflation in Russia was of historic proportions. My university ruble salary went from the equivalent of $600 a month to the value of about $6 a month. To support myself, I took a job teaching English to business men and women three nights a week. The pay was more than my university job and I really liked the motivated adults taking my class. The school was on the other side of the city from where I lived. So, three nights a week, I found myself alone on the Metro trying to get safely back to my apartment late at night. It didn’t help that Moscow started getting dark around three o’clock in the afternoon in the winter.

Moscow’s subway system was efficient and relatively clean. During rush hours in the morning and in the evening, it was crazy busy and getting on and off the train was actually dangerous. Overcrowded, pushing and shoving, aggression and fighting were the norm during the hours people were trying to get to work and then when people were trying to get home.

But oddly enough for a big city, heading to the suburbs at 9:00 or 10:00 PM, the trains were pretty much abandoned. The Metro station near my apartment was always empty late at night. And yes, I did feel a bit scared from time to time. But I knew some of the practical rules of living in a city of 11 million people:

  1. Don’t make eye contact with anyone
  2. Don’t speak to strangers
  3. Keep aware of your surroundings
  4. Keep your belongings hidden
  5. If you think you are being followed, don’t get off the train
  6. If there is a group of people, stay with them
  7. Whatever you do, don’t be isolated

Being overweight has always served me well overseas. I tell people I never worried about being kidnapped in Afghanistan. First of all, the kidnappers couldn’t hoist me into the truck. Secondly, how on earth would they maintain me?!? Most kidnappers look for easy targets. I’m not easily moved. But my years in Moscow, due to food shortages and the aerobic exercise of riding the public transportation system, I’d lost weight. In the spring of 1992, I only weighed 135 pounds. This mattered, because while navigating the city I found myself easily pushed, easily moved, easily knocked out of the way – something that rarely happened carrying an extra 100 pounds!

One night, heading home from class, I was riding the nearly empty subway back to my apartment. I was reading, but I covered my book with brown paper so no one would know I was reading an English book.

I first noticed this guy get on the train just a few stops after I did. I kept my nose in the book, but occasionally I could watch his movements from the reflection in the train windows. I was keeping an eye on him and I was praying. Little by little, the subway train emptied out passengers. My stop was at the end of the line, so the further we got from the city center, the emptier the train car became. I saw him moving after each stop…closer and closer.

Still praying, I started getting nervous. Even if the Metro security guards were around, they were never much help. I’d seen violence and lawlessness on those trains. Most of the Metro security guards simply didn’t care.

With two stops to go, I got up and waited by the door. There were five of us in the car. And then the big mistake! I made eye contact with the guy.

He was in his 20s, his winter coat gave the impression that he was bigger than he actually was. His eyes were glazed from either drugs or alcohol. When we made eye contact on the train, it was that “OH NO” feeling!

He knew that I knew and I knew that he knew I knew.

I’d read that when you think you are being followed on the Metro, jump off the train at the next stop. Wait for the bad guy to get off and then at the last minute, jump back on the train.

That’s what I did.

I was two stops from home and I jumped off the train at the earlier stop; he jumped off. I waited and then just as the train was about to close its doors, I jumped back on. Unfortunately, so did he. And now it became the trill of the chase. My heart was racing. I had no idea what to do next and he was working his way down the car towards me…

The thing about fear is it can sometimes scramble your brain. Thought processes get jumbled. And unless you’ve rehearsed and practiced what you’ll do in a situation, there’s no “training instincts” to kick in. I kept remembering all the good people advising me never to get off the train when you think you are being followed, but my stop was at the end of the line. And when it came, I had to get off.

I exited the train. He came after me and his voice echoed in the chamber of the empty subway station, “женщина! Zhenshchina!” “Woman! Woman!” he just kept calling out to me, shouting,  as I tried to run to the subway exit steps. And then he grabbed me.

He grabbed me from behind and spun me around like a plastic toy and I saw his face—up close. There was something deeply sinister in those eyes. I could smell the alcohol and dirt on him.

When I was a little girl, for some reason from the age of 9-11, I thought the devil was coming into my bedroom at night. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and this horrible fear would grip me. I couldn’t get out of bed and I couldn’t scream. It was terrifying. I’d lie in bed with tears rolling down my face.  I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t speak.

When I finally told my Mom about these terrorizing events, she told me, “Just call on the Name of Jesus! Plead the Blood of Jesus. You can do that, right? Say, ‘In the Name of Jesus I command you to leave me alone!’”

Wow. It honestly worked.

I’d wake up in the night to one of those terrorizing moments, and I’d get my little 9-year-old voice to scream out, “In the Name of Jesus! I command you to go! In Jesus’ Name!” And it always worked! The fear dispersed, my heart would be at rest and I’d go back to sleep. My Mom and Dad said they could hear me some nights, lying in bed commanding the devil to go in Jesus’ Name. Why they never came in to check on me is beyond my understanding, but that’s another story.

Looking into this young man’s eyes and being manhandled in the Metro station that cold winter’s night, that same fear came upon me. That fear I’d known as a child. That fear that knocked the breath out of me, that fear that rendered me speechless. It was exactly like that and suddenly, from somewhere deep down inside me and without any thought or engagement of my mind I heard the words and they were loud and they were clear, “In the Name of Jesus! Release me in Jesus’ Name! Do you hear me, I command you to let me go in the Mighty and Powerful Name of Jesus! I plead the Blood of Jesus!”

And the man dropped me like a hot potato! He stumbled backwards a couple of times and it looked as if I’d struck him, but I hadn’t. He batted his eyes as if he was about to lose consciousness. He was stunned. He was bewildered. Across the platform on the other staircase, I saw two babushkas coming laden down with shopping bags filled with rare and precious goods like toilet paper, oranges, and canned fruit. They saw me and the situation and they came running over shouting and screaming at the man. They knocked him down with their grocery bags, they kicked him and shouted horrible things at him. He fell down. He tried to get up but a few more punches put him down again and then he was up and running as fast as he could—out of there away from me and away from those babushkas.

They were bundled against the cold from head to toe. Their black Russian scarves tied tightly around their faces formed a perfect frame and what beautiful faces they were.

Their eyes were clear and shiny, their cheeks were bright red from the cold. They were plump with thick ankles and I loved every square inch of them.

I started crying—bawling actually. They comforted me, consoled me, then they scolded me for being out so late on the Metro. I explained that I was a teacher and that I was teaching across town because I needed three jobs to make ends meet. They completely understood. Then each one took hold of one of my arms, rearranged their bundles of groceries, and insisted on walking me home. All the way home.

On the way we talked about life, and inflation, and the government. We saw a drunk man passed out on the sidewalk. Someone had stolen his shoes. One of the babushkas said, “Only in Moscow would someone steal a drunken man’s shoes on a cold freezing night.” True.

The grandmothers walked me to my door. Each of them kissed my cheeks. No one ever asked me where I was from or why I spoke such bad Russian. They gave me a can of fruit and an orange. I really wanted the toilet paper, but felt it was rude to ask.

And off they went and I went inside. My knees started shaking and my head started spinning. The reality of what happened started sinking in. I made a cup of tea and sat at my small kitchen table and began to worship God. Thank You Jesus. There’s power in that Name.

A year later something similar happened to me in Yekaterinburg – only this time it was in broad daylight and there were two of them. But there’s such power in the Name of Jesus! I called on His Name and rebuked the two boys and they fled—running away from me as fast as they could.

The Bible tells us that one day at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Maybe these are glimpses of things to come, I don’t know. But we need to teach our children and grandchildren that there is power in the Name of Jesus. We need to remind each other that we can call on Him anytime. Corrie ten Boom tells the story of when a Nazi was beating her and striking her face, she whispered aloud, “Jesus please help me.”

The Nazi pointed his finger in her face and screamed, “Never speak that name again!” He also never hit her again.

We are not powerless. We are not unprotected. But we do need to be taught how to fight! The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds and as the Bible says in Psalm 18:34-36, “He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation: and Your right hand has held me up, and Your gentleness has made me great. You have enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.” Peace.

2 users Responded In This Post

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59525. Robbie said,
August 27th, 2021 at 10:21 pm

Teri, loved that I could revisit this blog.
I have a childlike understanding of how the “New Covenant” of Jesus brought fulfillment, more than change of OT prophecies – these 3 verses in Psalm 18: 34-36 (written by David certainly reflect the issues of David’s time). And perfectly relate to your writings ‘There is Power in the Name of Jesus’! Jesus taught of peace, not revenge or war, to pray for the protective armor of the Triune God to cover us in times of trouble (Corinthians?) So, should we now read from the Psalm to pray for understanding of how to tackle our ‘fights’ and for the Might, Power and Protection of the One True God to guide us?! To still continuously call on His Holy Name?
It sounds like I am answering my own query, but would so appreciate your clear Theological reasoning on this please. Forgive me if it is not the correct protocol to approach you in this way. Blessings.

59535. admin said,
August 28th, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Robbie you are so dear! I’m grateful for your comment here. Thank you. I’m probably not the best person to answer your astute question. But here it goes: I’m learning a lot of new lessons in this season of life. First, God’s answers to my prayers (more often than not) don’t look anything like what I asked for. Secondly, Jesus’ way of handling this fallen world is not the way I’d like to handle this fallen world. But I know our God is trustworthy and I know He is faithful. And as our brothers and sisters in Christ in Afghanistan, North Korea, China, and Nigeria (just to name a few nations) can testify, martyrdom has not been done away with by God. It still exists. Hebrews 11 has two kinds of faithful followers of Christ: those whose lives were delivered and raised from the dead and those who were torn apart by lions. My prayer is to be found faithful–no matter what. And like Corrie ten Boom always taught, God will give us the grace we need at the very moment we need it. I believe Jesus is coming again. When? I don’t know, but I want to be found ready and I pray my lamp is full of oil at His appearing. And I wholeheartedly agree with you, I am asking for the One True God to guide us all. Love and appreciate you so much dear Robbie!

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