Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From Russia With Love

See What God Can Do

Celebrating the 20th year of United By The Cross Ministries,  ONeill resident Dick Wallace along with a dedicated group of local Christians who also have a burden for the unreached people of Russia, will again be traveling at the end of this month to a mid-size city in Russia (location withheld for protection) to minister to the local people by way of distributing Russian language Bibles, donating medical supplies to hospitals, helping with the building and repair of local churches, and giving toys and gifts to children in orphanages and schools.

Each year after Dick Wallace and his faithful group return home, Dick sends out an update letter to prayer partners. I was so touched by the letter he sent out last year, and I wanted to pass on the Good News...

"The enclosed photo (above) will serve as an update on our ministry in Russia. The stories it holds serve as a "barometer" to the successes the Lord has allowed us to enjoy. So, here goes...

To set things up, you must understand the area of Russia we visit. It is one of the most impoverished areas  where unemployment is the norm.  The oldest a male will live is age 50 and occasionally, you may hear of a man living to age 54, but that is rare.  Reason being... alcoholism. It is cheap and it is recreational. 

You may remember Tatiana. A few years back, she attended an outdoor meeting and heard the gospel for the first time in her 45 year old life.  A year later, she greeted me and informed me that she had accepted a Bible at that meeting, read it and consequently turned her life over to the Lord.  During that year she had gone throughout her village starting Bible studies for others who were oblivious to the gospel.   She explained she had been praying for her family, especially her son Jenna who was an alcoholic. We too joined her in prayer against Satan's stronghold of alcoholism on Jenna's life.

A year later, we returned to find Jenna a very big part in the Z_____ church. Now sober, he had been delivered by our prayers and the power of the Holy Spirit!  He didn't go through a 10 step program, he found the "1 step program", Jesus Christ!   In this region where alcoholism is rampant and accepted, that is nothing short of a miracle!

Over the next few years, Jenna's wife Lyuba never grasped the gospel like Jenna had. She wasn't opposed to it; she just didn't  see the need in her life... until this past year.  Lyuba, Jenna's wife was giving birth to their 3rd child and was experiencing difficulties that endangered the baby and her life.  She cried out to the "God of Jenna and Tatiana" and asked for help from on high.  Her plea was heard and answered as you can tell from mother and child in the photo. Look at the glow in Lyuba's face!  I had never seen that before this trip.  What a blessing!

There we have it, full circle of an entire family serving the Lord and in integral part of the Z_____ church.  A fifty cent Bible with the plan of salvation explained inside the back cover, provided by you, or supporter, has transformed an entire family. However, this is just one of many stories we know of and I am sure there are other ripples we will never discover until we get to heaven.

I offer this photo to you as a "picture of hope".  Maybe you have a loved one that is like Tatiana.  They have never been exposed to the gospel and don't seem like they will ever be in a position to hear it.  That is a small issue for the Creator of the universe.  He knows where to find people and He will see to it they "hear" His love for them and His desire to reach them is greater than yours.  Trust Him.

Perhaps you have a loved one that is like Jenna and living a life of bondage. Cry out to the Lord in prayer without ceasing and allow the Holy Spirit to work on your loved ones heart. NOTHING is too great for our God!  prayer does change things!

Then there is Lyuba.  We need to pray for those whom know WHO Jesus IS, but do not KNOW Him through a personal relationship.  There is a huge difference that is the difference between life and death.  We need to be steadfast in our walk so that others may see our hope when they are hopeless.

This photo should be a reminder that there is no person so lost, so enslaved, so isolated, so hard, so self sufficient, so far from the Lord that they cannot be saved. I don't know about you, but that brings comfort to me and encourages me to press on." 

D.W.  United By The Cross Ministries