Meet my friend, Svetlana Mosias. Actually, I think of Sveta more as a sister…or another daughter! We first met when she came to the U.S. to help with translating for other Russian leaders who were also visiting. When we picked her up at the airport in San Francisco it was easy to spot her…the only beaming smile in the long line of weary travelers.
It was love at first sight. That first night in our home, over cups of her favorite Russian tea, we heard her story. She shared about her early days in Lithuania where her father was stationed serving in the USSR Army and how the family eventually moved back to their former home in Krasnodar, Russia. Svetlana was an eager student and avid English learner, often using classic old movies from Hollywood to polish her skills. (We wondered how she knew so much slang from the 50’s!) It was during this time that she began attending a Young Life Club in Krasnodar and was struck with the love and reality of the living Christ. Her faith grew and she became a Young Life volunteer leader. During this time she also pursued her love of linguistics, graduated from university, and began translating for the Young Life ministry in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. Svetlana has made many trips back to the U.S. to translate for FSU leaders who have come to share their stories at U.S. staff gatherings, meetings with foundations, camps and churches.
Svetlana now serves as the Regional Administrator for Young Life Russia. She spends countless hours translating training materials for leaders, helps translate YL Area and Regional updates from FSU leaders to friends in the US and participates in camps and clubs. Sveta also helps host and lead Expedition teams all while parenting her adorable little daughter, Masha.
Sveta calls me her “American mummy.” I love to think of my “Russian daughter” sharing her heart with the leaders and kids in Krasnodar. These past fifteen years of knowing and loving Sveta have brought deeper faith and unity in Christ to us both. We have shared countless hours over tea sharing joys, challenges, family relationships, laughter, and tears. These “tea times” are truly God’s gift…a glimpse of His Kingdom. I’ll never forget our trip to Krasnodar, meeting her parents who didn’t speak a word of English and yet feeling a kinship as we expressed our love for their daughter. These deep relationships are the essence of the Gospel and are truly life giving. What a joy it is to know Sveta! What a joy it is to know she is bringing light and life to those around her!
We never dreamed (as we have vivid memories of the Cold War years) that we would think of a young woman in Russia as a member of our family. But here we are…experiencing the greatness of our God whose arms are big enough and strong enough to carry this whole, wide world. We are no longer US and THEM. We are now getting a glimpse at what God has had in His heart all along…one incredible fellowship in Christ that crosses all boundaries, languages, and cultures. Thanks be to God!
Written by: Lin and Dennis Ashlock, Young Life FSU Committee Members