Thomas F. Rogers, a Professor of Russian at Brigham Young University and a scholar of Russian literature and drama, served as Mission President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS Church or "Mormons") in the Russia, St. Petersburg, Mission from 1993 to 1996. These were days of severe transition for the Russian population, moving uncertainly from the atheistic Communist Soviet State to a Democracy committed constitutionally to freedom of religion. The American LDS missionaries, predominately young men between the ages of 19 and 21, and numbering over 500 in Russia, faced severe trials of their own in trying to restore and refocus the Russians'' long suffering religious identity. In administering this effort in its early Post-Soviet days in the environs of the important city of St. Petersburg, Mission President Rogers and his wife and children encountered almost continual challenge--physical, psychological, and spiritual-- on every imaginable front. This book, structured chronologically as a journal of diverse impressions and relations of events, is astonishingly acute in its cultural commentary, often directed toward moral dilemmas, and inspirational in its depiction of the constant and persevering effort to improve the lot of the spiritually wounded Russians with human intervention enabled by the rapidly acquired Russian language facility of the missionary cadre.
Even a non-Mormon American can''t read this book without becoming infused with pride at these fellow Americans efforts, day in and difficult day out, to "help someone in need." It''s a moving read, fully titled "A Call to Russia: Glimpses of Missionary Life From the Journal of a Mission President in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission," and available from BYU Studies, Provo, UT 84602, 1999, 191 pp. with photographs. ISBN 0-8425-2461-4.