Lives of Power
ANDREI DANILENKO



Andrei Danilenko is a member of Crystal Cathedral and the director of the Hour of Power Russian Ministry in Moscow. Also, he is the Director of the Russian Farm project in Russia. He was recently presented an award by the National Economics Society of Russia by the Government of Moscow for the Best Manager of the Year for 2004 because of his work as the President and CEO of Russian Farms.

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RAS: Robert H. Schuller

AD: Andrei Danilenko

 

RAS:

Please welcome Andrei Danilenko. Andrei God loves you, and so do we.

 

So you've been involved with the Russian farms for quite a while. Would you tell us what they are and how they came into being and what your relationship is with them?

 

AD:

I was involved from the very beginning and I was at the meeting where Doctor Schuller was asked to, by the Russian government, to assist Russia in the terrible food shortage in ninety-one. And I was the interpreter during that meeting and I thought this whole conversation has nothing to do with me. Dr. Schuller, being from Iowa, from a farm responded right away and the program was launched as a training program for farmers, how to make them better farmers, teach them how to fish. And as a result, Dr. Schuller found a retired president and C.E.O, Land o' Lakes, Ralph Hofstad, inspired him and he brought the project today to being one of the most advanced farming operations in Russia and the only non-profit in Russia that is a successful business which is demonstrating that business can be socially concerned and socially caring about the society in which it operates.

 

Fourteen years later, the farm project today manages over 60,000 acres of farm land. We are the largest producer of vegetables and grain and dairy in the country. We are the most technically advanced operation in the country. And most importantly we are probably one of the most powerful demonstrations of compassionate capitalism. We are a non-profit organization with the soul purpose of re-investing the money that we earn into improving production and feeding people.

 

RAS:

Wow. I've been there. I've seen what you're doing and it truly is impressive. It's exciting. And you've been a member of the board of the Hour of Power for many years. And I know the Hour of Power has been a big influence in your life. Tell us how the Hour of Power changed your life.

 

AD:

Well even though I was born in the U.S. and I've lived some years in the U.S., most of my life, I lived in the Soviet Union. And I was raised as a child being told that religion is a dangerous tool used by politicians to control the people. And I was told as a child that there's no opportunity in life for those who become Christians. And when you're a child, you believe everything that adults tell you. And it's amazing how those who were manipulating my mind were convincing me that religion was dangerous to me.

 

So, of course, the first time I got an opportunity to meet Dr. Schuller, it was an opportunity to meet a celebrity who's on stage, who's brilliant at manipulating people's minds. So I was well prepared to stay in defense of this manipulation. I must stay to all of you here, that I've seen Dr. Schuller, not here on stage, but in very private moments with family. And what shocked me and what changed my life, is what he says here in the pulpit is the way Dr. Schuller lives. And that was the inspiration, not the Bible, not the teachings, but a human being whose life is an inspiration. And I was inspired to say to myself, I want to be like this person. I want to strive to be like Dr. Schuller. And that's how I became a Christian, by meeting Dr. Schuller and meeting people whose lives were a challenge, an inspiration, and a blessing to me.

 

RAS:

I would think it would be fair to say that since that time, your wildest expectations have been transcended. Would that be a fair statement?

 

AD:

Absolutely. I was told as a child, that being a Christian would be the end of my career. Becoming a Christian has made me who I am today and I'm very, very proud of who I am today. I've become a proud father, a proud husband, a proud entrepreneur and most importantly I'm proud of being a Christian. And that means a lot coming from somebody who was raised and taught that Christianity was a way to manipulate people's lives.

 

RAS:

Tell us about your goals and your dreams for the future of the Hour of Power in Russia.

 

AD:

When we started the Hour of Power in Russia, the first challenge we had is how to finance the Hour of Power and we got a wonderful gift from the Freed and Wilden family and from the very beginning, Dr. Schuller said, now the Hour of Power can be truly valued in Russia when the people of Russia are willing to finance the existence of the Hour of Power. That means that the Hour of Power is of true value. And I must say I am privileged to read the letters from the viewers and it brings tears to your eyes when you find out about somebody who's decided not to commit suicide, somebody who's decided to be a good family person, somebody's who's been inspired to progress in their career. To me, the Hour of Power is a weekly challenge from God to be better. And as a result, this year is the first year that the Hour of Power in Russia is fully financed in Russia. No money is coming from anywhere else.

 

RAS:

Wow. That is phenomenal. Well you handed me a translation of a letter before the service started.

 

AD:

Well, sir, it's the fiftieth anniversary and in Russia we have a tradition, you can't come to a party without gifts. So I brought gifts with me. First of all, I have a gift form the Russian Orthodox Church. This is the department of Christian education and catechism. Dr. Schuller is an honorary doctor of psychology and theology in the Russian Orthodox University. Monks from one of the oldest monasteries in the center of Moscow, hand painted this icon, only a month ago as a gift to the Hour of Power on its fiftieth anniversary, to Dr. Schuller.

 

RAS:

That is absolutely beautiful.

 

AD:

And I have a letter from President Gorbachev. You'll forgive me if I don't read it in Russian. I'll read just a few words in English.

 

RAS:

You need to see the original, however.

 

AD:

It is the original..

 

RAS:

They can look at the original while you give the translation.

 

AD:

"Dear Dr. Schuller. Please accept my heart felt congratulations on the fiftieth anniversary of the Crystal Cathedral. You have lived a worthy life, preaching kindness, new forms of charity, and cooperation among people of different religious faiths. I remember very well the first time we met when I was still president of the Soviet Union, and our subsequent meetings and conversations. Esteemed Dr. Schuller, I congratulate you on the significant milestone and hope that you will continue your work to better people's lives." Former president of the Soviet Union of Russia, the head of the communist party of Russia, the last leader of the communist party of Russia.

 

RAS:

Mikhail Gorbachev.

 

AD:

Mikhail Gorbachev.

 

RAS:

Well Andrei we want to thank you for being the person you are. We're so grateful to God for calling you and for touching your heart and bringing you into this ministry. And we want to pray for you and for all the people in Russia that God will continue to do His good work through you and through the Hour of Power to bring hope and joy and peace and goodness into their lives. Thank you Andrei, God loves you and so do we.

 

AD:

Thank you.


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