In 1987, in the Kazakh SSR, the electrical engineer Mikizh Mishin (03.02.1947-02.02.2010), Mokshan by origin, received a Bible. A year later he read the book “Lutheran Church in Scandinavia” in Russian, and this became a guiding influence for him.
Within the Church, there was an idea to create a parish where the congregants could speak their native language. Guided by this desire, Mikizh came to Mordovia in 1989 and began to preach. However, this impulse was premature – a year later he had to return to Kazakhstan.
In 1990 the Church of Ingria was still “rising from the ashes” and several parishes became part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia, forming the Ingermanland probation.
I met Mishin in early April of 1991 in Pushkin, at the course for parish assistants of the Ingrian deanery. In January 1992, he was ordained as a deacon.
Estonia became independent on August 20, 1991. Looking back, I can only be amazed at what was happening during this period of great political turmoil: on November 5, 1991, the Moksha-Erzyan parish was registered in the Church of Estonia, which at the time was still subordinate to the Soviet authorities.
Mikizh Mishin was one of the founders of the parish and its leader. On December 13, 1991, almost simultaneously with the collapse of the USSR, the Missionary Committee of the Church of Ingria was organized.
Mikizh was a purposeful and resolute pioneer – people like him are indispensable initiators of new projects. In 1996, a small building was purchased for the parish. After a few years it became too small for the growing community, and the construction of a new church building began with the active participation of Mikizh. He went straight to the head of the construction company and asked directly: “do you want us, Mordovians, to have our own Church?” When the manager asked how he could help, Mikizh asked for logs, trucks, diesel engines, cranes… Thanks to the help of the Finnish and American volunteers and courage of Mikizh, who knocked on all the doors in November 2001, the new church building was completed. People began to come. Often, Mikizh directly asked people: “do You want to be saved?”- which was then the start of a serious conversation. Bishop Arri Kugappi ordained Mikizh as a pastor in February 2004.
Although due to life circumstances Mishin retired a few years ago, we remember him as a sincere Christian and a strong missionary and preacher.
Glory and thanks be to God for the work of Mikizh, his active position in life and our strong friendship.
former Mordovian missionary,
coordinator of Russian projects of the Finnish people’s mission