Pin It
Favorite

Russians' Tale - Alex Kap#48ADE 

by Suzanne Schreiner & r & & r & Oppression and Freedom & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & f ever there was an immigrant success story, it is Alex Kaprian's. His flight to the United States also illustrates the story of Spokane's religious refugees from the Soviet Union. He grew up in a devout Christian family in Mariupol, Ukraine, and his memories of the Soviet government's persecution of his family are still vivid. Though he was one of the best students, he was not recognized for his talent in the government-run schools and he recalls being beaten up at school several times for being Christian. For the Soviets, Christianity presented an ideological threat to the ideals of the communist state, in which God had no place.


In the late 1980s came Gorbachev and glasnost, and in a kind of modern-day exodus, Jews and Christians began to leave the country that had never wanted them. Using fake Jewish passports, Kaprian, his six children and his pregnant wife left Ukraine in October 1989, landing first in Czechoslovakia, then Austria and, finally, Italy. Safely out of the Soviet Union, they revealed that they were Christians and were granted religious refugee status. Kaprian explains the passport ruse, saying that Christians had helped Jews during World War II, and the Jews remembered and helped Christians leave with them.


The family arrived in Fresno, Calif., in January 1990. Then 27 years old, Kaprian says he was "shocked at first" -- at the astonishing abundance in the grocery stores, as well as the ethnic diversity of the community. He soon began preaching at an immigrant church, whose members saw in him the potential to be a leader. In 1992, the family moved again, to Spokane, where his wife had relatives and where he says some houses were going for $40,000 and federal programs offered help even if a family was on public assistance. His found a job with the International Refugee Council, then in 1993 he started with DSHS as a community worker serving refugees.


Meanwhile, he had begun a little church, with just a few families from Mariupol. But Kaprian says he had "a vision from God" of a new church, a more American sort of church, one based purely on the Bible. In January 1994, with just 48 people, Kaprian created Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church. Here, Kaprian says, "we accept everybody," and the church has shown the growth to prove it. Membership now stands at around 600 souls, and as many as 1,000 attend morning and evening Sunday services. There is a children's Sunday school, a youth group, a choir and even a Web site.


"For immigrants," Kaprian says, "the church is everything."
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Tipping the Scales
  • Tipping the Scales

    Why the Gem State may be getting better and better
    • Jan 28, 2016

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation