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PUC's Double Agent

Landon Bennett
Dmitry Lossov calls himself a double agent. Oh, it’s true, he’s from Russia, and he currently lives in the United States. But, whom does he serve – Russia, America or both? Actually, neither. With an incessant smile and sense of humor, Dmitry serves God wherever he is. In America, this Russian student witnesses to his fellow students and professors. And as a PUC student missionary, he witnesses to the people in Thailand, in Ghana and in the Philippines. He’s hooked.

Although PUC sent out 34 long-term student missionaries last year to 20 countries, plus many more short-term missionaries, Dmitry’s challenge in Ghana was one of the greatest: preaching in English (not his native language) through a translator, to a people who did not understand English. It almost sounds reminiscent of speaking in tongues – but with God all things are possible. As a result of these sermons, 65 people gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized into the Adventist church.

The people in Breman, Ghana, obviously loved this cheerful fellow with the thick Russian accent, so much that a year after he left they renamed their local school the Dmitry Adventist Preparatory School. What an honor for a Russian serving as an American student missionary! But, as Dmitry sees it, the honor involves “having the privilege to raise money here in the United States for the elementary school and to represent Ghanaian Adventist education to Americans.”

Dmitry enthusiastically continues PUC’s student missionary heritage, which goes back 40 years when the first student missionary ventured overseas to set up a science lab and teach science in West Pakistan. That pioneering student missionary later impressed his fellow students at PUC with the great need for workers in the field.

That need has been addressed by the nearly 1,200 student missionaries who have been sent out from PUC over the ensuing years, covering most parts of the globe. They go as teachers, evangelists, well diggers, builders, farmers, orphanage workers, technology experts – you name the need and student missionaries help meet it.

Dmitry also did his share to meet those needs. During his two years in Thailand, not only did he help plant a church among the unreached Mien Hill tribe, but he also taught English at the village school and helped at the local porch-clinic. And he did all that under trying conditions: the local people did not trust him, since he was a Russian with a Communist background. “The Cold War still existed in their minds,” Dmitry recalls.

Like so many student missionaries, once it gets into your blood, you’re hooked and you just want to go back again and again. Perhaps Jon Thornton, former PUC student missionary to Chuuk in Micronesia, expressed it best when he said, “Missions is something that grabs you and won’t let you go.” Indeed, Dmitry has already been grabbed three times, and it won’t let him go. Being a senior public relations/journalism major, Dmitry’s ambition is to become a Christian journalist, involved in cross-cultural mission activities – he’s still bent on being that double agent.

When asked what he gained from all his mission experiences, his reply included a multitude of blessings, the greatest of which was a heightened personal relationship with God. And, as Dmitry so colorfully says, “I was able to leave my comfort zone and develop a passion to serve others.”
Although Dmitry has a hard time relating to the “crazy pace of life in America where you check in/check out, rush here/rush there, buy this/buy that,” he does appreciate being able to travel, since it was forbidden to travel abroad where he grew up. He also enjoys the religious freedom prevalent in America with the accompanying privilege of being able to witness Bible truths to others.

Today, in addition to being a full-time student and part-time worker, Dmitry volunteers in activities such as Young Adult Sabbath School and Bridge Ministries at PUC. He also participates in overseas, short-term evangelistic campaigns. And in his spare time he is busy raising money to help in the upkeep of a school in Ghana.

A truly remarkable double agent.
Note: This is an archived article and does not necessarily represent current issues at Pacific Union College.