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Peter J. Vins
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Birth: 1898
Death: 1943


"The Baptist Bulletin" publication date February 2002.

Peter J. Vins (1898-1937)

Peter Vins was born in 1898 in Samara, Russia. Even though he was only a boy when his father, Yakov, was arranging missionary excursions along the Volga, Peter accompanied his father on these trips. In later years, he recalled, "There, on the Volga River, when I was just a little boy, I came to love the Russian people with all my soul, and even then was praying to the Lord that He would make me a preacher of the gospel in Russia."

When the family moved to Canada, Peter attended school and soon mastered English. After high school, he moved to the U.S., where he became a citizen and studied theology. In 1922, Peter graduated from seminary and worked in a Ford factory in Detroit while also ministering at a Russian Baptist church. When a Russian congregation in Pittsburgh invited him to become their pastor, he accepted.

From Blagoveschensk, Peter's father once wrote him, "The field is ripe for harvest, but there are few workers, and those who are here do not have adequate preparation. How sad it is!" Yearning to labor in his homeland, in 1926 Peter determined to go there, and set sail from Vancouver. By the following year, he was pastor of the Baptist church in Blagoveschensk (Yakov [Peter's father], moved on to Khabarovsk). Believers warmed to his sincere love and simplicity despite his American-college education.

In 1927, Peter proposed to Lydia Zharikova, who accepted, even though she knew life would be difficult as a preacher's wife. (Sunday Schools were already banned, and newspaper articles were calling for a struggle against religion.) In 1928, Peter and Lydia had a son, whom they called Georgi.

In the same year that Georgi was born, Yakov told Peter, "My ministry in Russia is over. The government will not permit me to minister in the future. I am planning to return to Canada. How about you?"

Peter replied, "One of us has to remain here and continue ministering as long as possible. I have been called to be with the Russian brothers and share their fate."

In 1929, the local authorities summoned Peter and gave him a choice: leave the country with his family, or surrender his American passport and become a Soviet citizen. After much prayer, he turned in the passport.

Within six weeks of accepting Soviet citizenship, Peter was forced to serve three exhausting months chopping down trees and digging up stumps on a road-building crew. Less than a year later, someone knocked on his door. Once outside, he was shoved into a car and arrested. A closed trial sentenced him to three years in labor camps for "counter-revolutionary activities."

After Peters' three-year term, he visited believers and preached in house services, but in 1937, he was arrested and sentenced to ten years. This time, though, he never returned. After repeated requests for information, his wife was told only that her husband had perished in prison. Not until 1995 was his son, Georgi, permitted to see the secret polices' dossier on Peter. From those records he learned that his father, like so many Christian leaders had been executed.
(information researched, typed, and submitted by F.A.G. member Debra Polly)

Family links: 
  Yakov Vins (1874 - 1944)
  Lydia M. Zharikova Vins (1907 - 1985)*
  Georgi Petrovich Vins (1928 - 1998)*
*Calculated relationship
Prairie Street Cemetery
Elkhart County
Indiana, USA
Created by: Jackie & Ralph
Record added: Oct 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59739755
Peter J. Vins
Added by: Debra Polly
Peter J. Vins
Added by: Debra Polly
Peter J. Vins
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Geoff Trowbridge
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Debra Polly
 Added: Jul. 18, 2013
Thank you for your sacrifices in Russia for our Savior and raising a remarkable son. Enjoy your heavenly rewards! ;D
- Debra Polly
 Added: Apr. 11, 2012

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