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September 13, 2013

Legacy: One Left Behind

This story about the faithful service of a missionary working alone behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia was originally published by TEAMHorizons in 1994, the year Bible Christian Union (BCU) merged with TEAM.

  • Woman of Faith

    Alberta lived according to God’s will, even though that meant spending decades living behind the Iron Curtain of Soviet communism, cut off from family and friends.

In the 1930s, a woman named Alberta Skinner was serving in the far eastern part of Czechoslovakia with Bible Christian Union (BCU). Russian communists moved in and annexed that section of the country, eventually making it part of the Soviet Union. The communists seized the Moody Bible Institute graduate and told her, “You can leave and never come back, or you can stay and never leave.”

She stayed.

For many years, BCU didn’t hear a word from her. All financial support and contact with her family and friends was cut off. BCU officials feared that communists had killed her.

One day, 25 years later, the phone rang in BCU’s international headquarters in Pennsylvania. Alberta was on the line. She said she had been allowed to remain behind the Iron Curtain where — though ridiculed and persecuted — she continued to faithfully serve the Lord.

God had led her to a godly Russian pastor. They were married and had six sons. Due to their outspoken faith in Christ, they were forced to live in a small wooden structure with a dirt floor. Despite their austere surroundings, they joyfully served the Lord and raised their family. Souls were saved and churches were started and strengthened.

Finally, in 1969, Alberta was allowed to return alone to North America to receive some badly needed dental work. The communists told that if she tried to remain in North America, she would risk harm to her husband and boys.

When she called the mission that day, she uttered not a word of complaint or self-pity. Instead, she praised the Lord for His faithfulness and wanted BCU officials to know she was fine. She then returned to her family and ministry behind the Iron Curtain. She died several years later.

Alberta Skinner is living proof that there is no such thing as a closed country for a person who is willing to go and never come back.

-Written by Jack Kilgore