"Tserkovnyia Vedomosti" magazine published by the Russian Orthodox Church: August 16, 1897, № 33, pg 1162-1163 | Русский
English translation by Katherine Ilachinski

Converting a Chinese-pagan to Orthodoxy

In the area of Belkovsky parish in Unalaska Aleutian Diocese, on the “Thin cape”, from the old time there lives a new comer from China – who is called “Sem dock”. This Sem dock, is already advanced in years (50), is now by the grace of God was chosen to the bosom of the Holy Orthodox Church - miraculously, on his own admission, testimony and evidence.

Here are the circumstances of this case: in January 1896, Sem dock goes hunting for deer, which was very abundant on the Alaskan Peninsula. In pursuit of prey Sem dock once had to go far from his dugout - “wintering” (where he was living in the winter). At that time dense fog descended on the ground; Sem dock leaves pursuit of prey: he would be pleased to quickly return home, but dense fog and late time of the day did not allow him to recognize the terrain, to identify his position … The situation is helpless and dangerous to life - the winter cold is icing his body … One hope remained for assistance from above! With bitter tears drawn Sem dock addressed with prayers to his gods, alas, in vain was half hour of intensified prayer: they do not hear it. The heart of the unfortunate is filled with despair …

Here came the moment of impact of saving grace of Christ to heathen soul! “Prayer to your gods is useless”, said his inner voice, “you will be lost; please pray to God of the Russians, you live among the people, who pray to that God, and He hears their prayers: assists and delivers from misery”. With a strong belief, Sem dock turned to the God of “Russia” and – his prayer was heard … Sem dock sees - the fog begins to thin out: the far mountain is visible, because of the mountain Sem dock can already easily determine his location. Hardly alive he gets up to his “wintering”, aware and feeling that only through the “God of Russians”, he was spared of imminent death. Informing his comrade on wintering, Orthodox Creole, about all this, he asked to teach him to pray “in English” (in-Orthodox); Creole Orthodox performed that request as he could, he taught him to make the sign of the cross and gave him an icon.

When Sem dock returned to the fishing home - to Thin cape, then once, in a meeting with two Americans, he confessed that he prayed to the “God of Russians”, and the Americans, instead of good words, called him a “fool” for this. I was very disappointed with that, said Sem dock, and started to doubt the “God of Russians”, - but the grace of God, that once touched the heart of the pagan, did not leave him at that time without guidance: one of his interlocutors drowned and the other from that time was the subject in his live of only bitter misery. This served Sem dock-as an indication from above: doubts about God of “Russia” disappeared, and then in the month of April 1897 he firmly stated to the priest of Belkovsky church Father Alexin that he wishes to adopt the Orthodox Christian Faith. The request of Sem dock-and, after testing his sincerity and instruction in the faith, was executed on the day of Pentecost this year on July 1. Right Reverend Nicholas, Bishop of Aleut, sent a blessing to the new baptized, an icon of the Holy Prophet Elias and the Sluzhebnik (priest's service book) in English (“Orthodox American Messenger”).