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Children of the Storm: The Autobiography of Natasha Vins

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Young, school-age Natasha receives pressure from her teachers to give her unquestioning allegiance to the Soviet State. Anti-Christian sentiment dogs her family's life as well. The Vins family faces imprisonment, humiliation, court trials, and loss of jobs as part of the persecution waged by their government. In her teen years, Natasha begins to see that doors close to tho Young, school-age Natasha receives pressure from her teachers to give her unquestioning allegiance to the Soviet State. Anti-Christian sentiment dogs her family's life as well. The Vins family faces imprisonment, humiliation, court trials, and loss of jobs as part of the persecution waged by their government. In her teen years, Natasha begins to see that doors close to those who remain faithful to Christ. Now she must count the cost and decide for herself whether she wants to pay the price. The autobiography of Natasha Vins.


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Young, school-age Natasha receives pressure from her teachers to give her unquestioning allegiance to the Soviet State. Anti-Christian sentiment dogs her family's life as well. The Vins family faces imprisonment, humiliation, court trials, and loss of jobs as part of the persecution waged by their government. In her teen years, Natasha begins to see that doors close to tho Young, school-age Natasha receives pressure from her teachers to give her unquestioning allegiance to the Soviet State. Anti-Christian sentiment dogs her family's life as well. The Vins family faces imprisonment, humiliation, court trials, and loss of jobs as part of the persecution waged by their government. In her teen years, Natasha begins to see that doors close to those who remain faithful to Christ. Now she must count the cost and decide for herself whether she wants to pay the price. The autobiography of Natasha Vins.

30 review for Children of the Storm: The Autobiography of Natasha Vins

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I first read this book aloud to my kids years ago, but as I've been hearing that the Christian church is being strictly regulated and driven underground in Russia again, I decided to reread it so I could review it on my blog. This story gives the reader an idea of what life was like for Christians living behind Russia's Iron Curtain in the 1960s and 70s. The author tells of her family meeting in secret with fellow believers for church services, of being mocked by her classmates for believing in I first read this book aloud to my kids years ago, but as I've been hearing that the Christian church is being strictly regulated and driven underground in Russia again, I decided to reread it so I could review it on my blog. This story gives the reader an idea of what life was like for Christians living behind Russia's Iron Curtain in the 1960s and 70s. The author tells of her family meeting in secret with fellow believers for church services, of being mocked by her classmates for believing in God, and being pressured to join the Communist youth organization, and then of her father's arrest and imprisonment in Siberia. He was eventually miraculously released and his family was relocated to America in 1979, where they continued to serve in ministries and missionary work focused on the persecuted church and Russia in particular. Mr Vins wrote another book about his experiences entitled The Gospel in Bonds: 8 years in the Soviet Gulags. This story is not a great work of literature, but simply a personal, unpretentious narrative by its humble writer who wishes to share her family's story to inspire hope and courage to believers everywhere. We may not appreciate everything about our nation's government, but stories like that of the Vins family should give us pause to be thankful that we still have the freedom to worship publicly, and to read the Bible and talk about our faith without suffering major consequences. It should also serve as a reminder to pray for the persecuted church in Russia, N. Korea, the Middle East and many other places around the globe.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Hartfelder

    Children of the Storm was not an easy read, but an excellent and challenging one that interested even my 8 and 11yo sons. It was more of a detailed, journal style biography, rather than a "story-based" biography. As Americans, we truly do not comprehend the blessing of the religious freedom we have, nor the persecution of those living under Communist control. Over and over I was struck by the courage the believers demonstrated to continue meeting and serving and preaching--rather than being para Children of the Storm was not an easy read, but an excellent and challenging one that interested even my 8 and 11yo sons. It was more of a detailed, journal style biography, rather than a "story-based" biography. As Americans, we truly do not comprehend the blessing of the religious freedom we have, nor the persecution of those living under Communist control. Over and over I was struck by the courage the believers demonstrated to continue meeting and serving and preaching--rather than being paralyzed by fear--even when the consequences were horrendous imprisonment or death. Certainly we rejoiced with amazement to see God's sovereign control in ultimately bringing the Vins family to America.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I didn't really know what to expect from this and chose it as a read aloud for our history unit that included the fall of communism. I was so impressed by it. It lent itself very well to a read aloud, it was engaging and easy to follow. I'm kind of ashamed how much I didn't/still don't really know about communism/countries that lived under that rule or still do. Even given the subject matter I think it was very well done and not an issue reading to my 7.5 yr old. I have an immense appreciation f I didn't really know what to expect from this and chose it as a read aloud for our history unit that included the fall of communism. I was so impressed by it. It lent itself very well to a read aloud, it was engaging and easy to follow. I'm kind of ashamed how much I didn't/still don't really know about communism/countries that lived under that rule or still do. Even given the subject matter I think it was very well done and not an issue reading to my 7.5 yr old. I have an immense appreciation for my religious freedom and all that entails. We finished the book the same time as the fall of communism lesson and I felt like cheering as we learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall and freedom coming to people who so long had been denied it. I'm grateful this had a happy ending, even if it wasn't the one originally envisioned for Natasha and her family. There were multiple times I got choked up reading this, tears were shed, and I felt connected with this family and their struggles. Couldn't ask for more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This was a fantastic book. I had no idea what it was about when I started, and I loved reading the first-hand account of life as a Christian in the Soviet Union under communism. I read this aloud to my 11-year-old, and though hard and sad things happen, it's told in a way that's not overly scary. God's faithfulness shines through the hard things, and it was faith-building for both of us. This was a fantastic book. I had no idea what it was about when I started, and I loved reading the first-hand account of life as a Christian in the Soviet Union under communism. I read this aloud to my 11-year-old, and though hard and sad things happen, it's told in a way that's not overly scary. God's faithfulness shines through the hard things, and it was faith-building for both of us.

  5. 4 out of 5

    JP

    I thought it was a really amazing book and it sounds like it couldn't happen but it did. I thought it was a really amazing book and it sounds like it couldn't happen but it did.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Yibbie

    Soviet Russia. The home of a convicted criminal, a preacher of the Gospel. What would it be like to live there? To love him? To suffer for what he has done and believes? How does a child deal with everyone, her teachers, the police, prison guards telling her that her father is an evil man? Because of him, she can not do this or that; how does a family survive that? More importantly, how do parents pass on truth to children under those circumstances? This book covers all of that. Best of all i Soviet Russia. The home of a convicted criminal, a preacher of the Gospel. What would it be like to live there? To love him? To suffer for what he has done and believes? How does a child deal with everyone, her teachers, the police, prison guards telling her that her father is an evil man? Because of him, she can not do this or that; how does a family survive that? More importantly, how do parents pass on truth to children under those circumstances? This book covers all of that. Best of all it offers the hope they have to everyone. It really helps put the things of this life into perspective. It is written for a child audience, but is good for everyone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Salinn

    I highly recommend this book. I really enjoyed reading it. I was pretty hesitant at first because I'm not that much into autobiographies, but it was hard to put down. I always enjoyed the film Captive Faith so to read more about what was happening was really interesting! I can't think of anything that I feel should be mentioned as far as warnings. Maybe some would rather that children don't read it......? I highly recommend this book. I really enjoyed reading it. I was pretty hesitant at first because I'm not that much into autobiographies, but it was hard to put down. I always enjoyed the film Captive Faith so to read more about what was happening was really interesting! I can't think of anything that I feel should be mentioned as far as warnings. Maybe some would rather that children don't read it......?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Every Christian Should Read This Book This book was horrifying and so sad at many moments. It was also beautiful and shows the way that God prevailed. This autobiography takes place in the 1960s and 1970s in the USSR (in Ukraine mainly). Natasha was a little girl, who at 9 years old had to face horrific persecution and later lose her father to a prison sentence just because she was a Christian. It reads as a dystopian novel because the USSR was a dystopia. I couldn’t put it down. I read this with Every Christian Should Read This Book This book was horrifying and so sad at many moments. It was also beautiful and shows the way that God prevailed. This autobiography takes place in the 1960s and 1970s in the USSR (in Ukraine mainly). Natasha was a little girl, who at 9 years old had to face horrific persecution and later lose her father to a prison sentence just because she was a Christian. It reads as a dystopian novel because the USSR was a dystopia. I couldn’t put it down. I read this with my 10 year old son. I hope these words are words he remembers as he grows up and faces persecution due to his faith as I have. This is absolutely necessary reading for every Christian. My other top pick is God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

    Most of the time, Christians think about persecution and martyrs as belonging to Roman times, to the Colosseum, or to Bloody Mary. However, there is still tremendous persecution of Christians today, and this book will certainly open your eyes to it. Natasha Vins is an engaging author writing about the persecution her family experienced in soviet Russia during the 1960s and 70s. I never realized just how hostile the Soviet Union was to Christianity; religious leaders were regularly imprisoned, tr Most of the time, Christians think about persecution and martyrs as belonging to Roman times, to the Colosseum, or to Bloody Mary. However, there is still tremendous persecution of Christians today, and this book will certainly open your eyes to it. Natasha Vins is an engaging author writing about the persecution her family experienced in soviet Russia during the 1960s and 70s. I never realized just how hostile the Soviet Union was to Christianity; religious leaders were regularly imprisoned, tried, and even killed just for trying to evangelize. This book will be sure to inspire, intrigue, and convict; certainly worth the read!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay Derek

    I had the privilege of spending time with Natasha before she passed away awhile back. I could hear her voice as I read these pages. It truly is a reflection of the beautiful woman that she was. Simple, grateful, full of Jesus. I only wish I had read it before she passed so I could’ve appreciated her more and asked more questions. I highly recommend this book! It is not thoroughly in-depth but more of a fly-over of her life in communist Russia. It would make an excellent read aloud and introducti I had the privilege of spending time with Natasha before she passed away awhile back. I could hear her voice as I read these pages. It truly is a reflection of the beautiful woman that she was. Simple, grateful, full of Jesus. I only wish I had read it before she passed so I could’ve appreciated her more and asked more questions. I highly recommend this book! It is not thoroughly in-depth but more of a fly-over of her life in communist Russia. It would make an excellent read aloud and introduction to communism and the persecuted church. So many aspects of the story are very timely to our dying country and the persecution that the Bible-believing church will soon face.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Tillman

    I read this with my eleven year old for homeschool, and it was a fascinating read for both of us. My son kept begging to keep reading, which is always a sign of a great book. This is also an important read for today when so many seem to have forgotten the evils of communism. We were also reading this during our quarantine for the corona virus, and it really helped us put things in perspective and praise God for our many blessings! I think this is a must read for everyone so we never forget the l I read this with my eleven year old for homeschool, and it was a fascinating read for both of us. My son kept begging to keep reading, which is always a sign of a great book. This is also an important read for today when so many seem to have forgotten the evils of communism. We were also reading this during our quarantine for the corona virus, and it really helped us put things in perspective and praise God for our many blessings! I think this is a must read for everyone so we never forget the loss of freedom that communism inevitably leads to.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarahelisabeth

    The autobiography of the daughter of an Unregistered Baptist pastor, in Soviet Russia. In her teens, Natasha had to think about whether she would be a Christian with all the discrimination that this would involve or follow the atheistic ideology of the State and be able to succeed in a profession. There is a fair amount of action with house searches, visits to prisons in Siberia and eventual deportation. Recommended. Suitable as a read aloud for older children-there is plenty to discuss.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Uncle Alfred

    In the former Soviet Union persecution as a Christian was as common as food shortages. This testimony of a pastor's child shares how her world turned upside down when her family members were arrested. The conditions of their multiple internments were faith building, yet bitter with longing to be together as a family again. God preserves her family in an 11th hour miracle, but it comes at great cost. In the former Soviet Union persecution as a Christian was as common as food shortages. This testimony of a pastor's child shares how her world turned upside down when her family members were arrested. The conditions of their multiple internments were faith building, yet bitter with longing to be together as a family again. God preserves her family in an 11th hour miracle, but it comes at great cost.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Romie

    What life was like for Christians in communist USSR. More of these stories need to be recorded and shared. I’m so glad that this is a book I can offer to my children to read and learn about what it was like to be so persecuted for your Christian faith. Much of this happened during my lifetime, and I always am a little bit shocked when I learn of horrible things that were happening that I didn’t even know about.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin Pierce

    Excellent biography of the Vins family, and the persecution they dealt with in living and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reminds us all to be thankful for the freedoms we have to worship the Lord as we see fit.

  16. 5 out of 5

    SusanandDavid Kalman

    This was a book about growing up as a Christian in Soviet-controlled Ukraine in the 1960's and 70's. It was eye-opening for me, as I had never read a Christian biography from that time or place before. This was a book about growing up as a Christian in Soviet-controlled Ukraine in the 1960's and 70's. It was eye-opening for me, as I had never read a Christian biography from that time or place before.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Moriah

    The true story and testimony of Natasha Vins was well-told. Part of it almost made me cry. The persecution of Christian believers during the Soviet Union and injustice done against them is history that all Christians, even western ones, should know.

  18. 4 out of 5

    AnnaLee Conti

    Inspiring! Reading this story gave me even more appreciation for our freedom of worship here in America. We often take it for granted. I recommend this well-written, spell-binding book for everyone.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This autobiography is written for a young audience but, none the less, it was fascinating to read about life as part of the underground church in the Soviet Union, especially since much of her history paralleled my own, though in very different circumstances. Thank you, Natasha!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Hudson

    The triumph of the cross in Soviet Russia. This was a reread, but meant so much more to me than when I was younger.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Amazing! I loved this story of Natasha Vins faith in the USSR! What trials she went through for being a Christian makes you realize how simply wonderful it is here! I really recommend this book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rosy Marr

    An amazing testimony of a Christian family in Communist Russia, and of God's faithfulness throughout persecution. I enjoyed reading this so much! An amazing testimony of a Christian family in Communist Russia, and of God's faithfulness throughout persecution. I enjoyed reading this so much!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaymie Starr

    Excellent book if you are wanting to understand what it was like growing up in the Soviet Union. It was not called the "United Soviet Socialist Republic" without reason-although I laugh at the "Republic" in that. I wasn't super impressed with the author's style of writing but it did give me a sort of cold, unemotional & stoic look at things which is probably a somewhat accurate description of how things were at that time. I personally think its important to understand some of the things that hap Excellent book if you are wanting to understand what it was like growing up in the Soviet Union. It was not called the "United Soviet Socialist Republic" without reason-although I laugh at the "Republic" in that. I wasn't super impressed with the author's style of writing but it did give me a sort of cold, unemotional & stoic look at things which is probably a somewhat accurate description of how things were at that time. I personally think its important to understand some of the things that happened during that time in History & for our children to not forget that the freedoms some nations have today were not always there. Natasha's family went through some very horrible, awful things but kept praising God through it all & trusting Him despite insurmountable odds stacked against them. I felt this book also gave a good description of the underground church at that time & what that functionally looked like. This was a very real perspective of the harsh life then & I also appreciated Natasha's own struggle with deciding if she wanted to follow in her parent's footsteps or become an atheist. I felt like her father was very patient & loving to her through this, never judging her but giving her the freedom to make her own choice. We may never have to face this persecution in our lifetime for our beliefs but maybe our children or children's children will??

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I opened the book for the first time Sunday afternoon in the car, and finished it on Monday night. Natasha tells of her girlhood, and the persecution her family endured for Christ. I really appreciated her telling of how she came to the Lord; until she graduated from high school she was a "Christian" because her parents were, and wondered how important it was. Then she understood the gospel and her parents faith became her own, and she lived for Jesus. She has an engaging manner of writing, perh I opened the book for the first time Sunday afternoon in the car, and finished it on Monday night. Natasha tells of her girlhood, and the persecution her family endured for Christ. I really appreciated her telling of how she came to the Lord; until she graduated from high school she was a "Christian" because her parents were, and wondered how important it was. Then she understood the gospel and her parents faith became her own, and she lived for Jesus. She has an engaging manner of writing, perhaps because she writes as one real person would speak to another, not with studied eloquence. I was encouraged by the testimony of the trials and severe hardships her family went through. It made me reflect on how easy I have it here, and what I am willing to sacrifice for my Lord. I would encourage Christians, young or old, to read "Children of the Storm."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Roberts

    This is the autobiography of a woman born in the 1950s, growing up in a Soviet Christian family during the Cold War. Her father spent most of her life either in prison, or living and working "underground" doing ministry. In the 1970s, on the day he expected to be exiled to Siberia with his family, he was suddenly exiled to the US as part of a prisoner exchange agreement. After having just read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which gave a detailed account of life in a Soviet prison camp, This is the autobiography of a woman born in the 1950s, growing up in a Soviet Christian family during the Cold War. Her father spent most of her life either in prison, or living and working "underground" doing ministry. In the 1970s, on the day he expected to be exiled to Siberia with his family, he was suddenly exiled to the US as part of a prisoner exchange agreement. After having just read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which gave a detailed account of life in a Soviet prison camp, this book was an interesting counterpart, giving the extended family's perspective of their lives as persecuted dissidents.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Young

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love this book! My teacher read it to me when I was in either 5th or 6th grade. it's an autobiography about Natasha Vins and she writes about her childhood and about how her father went to prison because he was a Christian. They had a lot of struggles during the time their father was inprisoned. I really hope you will read this book! I love this book! My teacher read it to me when I was in either 5th or 6th grade. it's an autobiography about Natasha Vins and she writes about her childhood and about how her father went to prison because he was a Christian. They had a lot of struggles during the time their father was inprisoned. I really hope you will read this book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    An amazing story of Christian courage in communist Russia. The autobiograhical flow was choppy and I felt like sections of this teen/woman's life were missing or unfinished, but Natasha and her family persevered as Baptist Christians against great persecution. An amazing story of Christian courage in communist Russia. The autobiograhical flow was choppy and I felt like sections of this teen/woman's life were missing or unfinished, but Natasha and her family persevered as Baptist Christians against great persecution.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I loved this book! It helped me see that we live in a great nation, and how we can be able to worship God freely without being put in jail or beaten. It is a great autobiography. I highly suggest reading this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christa R

    This was an excellent book about life in the Soviet Union for Christians.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaedyn Bond

    This book, though a tad choppy, inspired me and enlightened me on the cruelty of the KGB and the Soviet Union. The story is about a Russian Christian girl named Natasha Vins, (the author) and her walk with Christ and her journey to freedom. The only reason I gave it four stars was because, like I said before, the book was a bit choppy. The general premise and plot are understandable, and it is not horrible, but some of the characters and events are unclear. All in all, I would give the book a 4.5- This book, though a tad choppy, inspired me and enlightened me on the cruelty of the KGB and the Soviet Union. The story is about a Russian Christian girl named Natasha Vins, (the author) and her walk with Christ and her journey to freedom. The only reason I gave it four stars was because, like I said before, the book was a bit choppy. The general premise and plot are understandable, and it is not horrible, but some of the characters and events are unclear. All in all, I would give the book a 4.5-star rating.

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