Namet: Alive and praying
for his friends to believe
Namet, a believer for only 3 years, was driving five other coworkers home from work when they were hit by a train. Every two months in Baku a carload of people are killed at this same extremely dangerous railroad crossing. But this time no one died!!
Namet’s pelvis was broken and he was confined to bed for two months for recovery. But not one person in his car perished!!! At work everyone decided Namet and his colleagues were delivered because he is a believer in Missa (the Messiah).
This obviously is not a way one plans to make Christ known. But in this case Namet had clearly done his job of letting his light shine at work. His colleagues knew of his faith in Christ and so they gave Jesus the credit for delivering them. Our colleague who reported this incident also mentioned that other stories about “Missa” are drifting from Azeri believers in Azerbaijan into their homeland of Iran where 20 million Azeri Shia still call on Allah.
Other gospel efforts are underway this summer by Leading Edge partners in Eurasia. Mission to the East just gave a sewing workshop for teens in Orzhiv that “sowed” news about Christ in western Ukraine. Mirt in Russia handed out ribbons and gospel tracts at Easter. ARKA is about to start summer camps in a few weeks in the Ukraine as well as Poland. SLOT is finishing preparations to host 6000 Polish youth for an Art Festival. Jodi in Budapest is finding many new contacts in the business community. Let’s pray for Christ’s name to be praised in all 10 timezones of Eurasia this summer!
How much does a word or a touch mean to the distressed? When Jesus walked the hills and streets of Palestine, he changed lives by a word, some bread or a touch on his cloak. Jesus then taught that God, the Father, notices and blesses each time someone invites a homeless stranger in, shares his coat or gives a thirsty man a drink.
Last week in Indiana tornados ripped through small towns like Marysville and Henryville. People, including my daughter, rushed down to deliver blankets, bottles of water and start picking up the mess. Katrina learned to respect that community’s response. She also learned that the real test of endurance and courage begins in April when their plight drops out of the news and the streams of volunteers leave.
Both my sister-in-law and my friend Slava heard the dreaded word “cancer” last month. Maureen’s doctor assured her the tumor wasn’t serious. Her surgery confirmed it. Slava heard from his doctor, “90% chance of malignancy.” After his affected kidney was removed, post-op tests said Slava was “lucky.” Slava’s brother disagreed. He gave God the credit on behalf of all those who prayed that Slava’s tumor would prove benign.
All of us when we are overwhelming by need, learn to appreciate our neighbors who follow Jesus’ example and make a sacrifice to reach out to us in love.
On October 7th in Malenowice, Czech Republic, I listened to the stories of passionate leaders who pour out their lives for others. Whatever the suffering, they were witnesses that the Lord was redeeming people from trouble and distress.
David declares in Psalm 107 the goodness of God and His enduring love. There is so much hope in his words and they are worth pondering. No matter how bad the suffering – hunger, imprisonment, affliction, desperation, wasted lives – David’s God delivered people from trouble and distress.
The cause of the suffering didn’t matter. Some, caught by the echoes of judgment let loose on this world by sin, lost their way or were trapped by natural destructive forces. Others experienced the consequences of their own rebellion or deliberate sin. Many groaned under the cruelty of evil neighbors or unjust rulers. Whenever the oppressed appealed to God for help, love went to work and righted wrongs. However desperate, the blessings of a fruitful life resulted.
His love ENDURES. He can deliver those who suffer. He IS good always. The one and only God deserves our thanks. Amen!
Prime Time for Next Generation
Spring planting is done and Indiana corn is knee-high. Kids out of school are splashing in the pool and hanging out in the park. The 4th of July fireworks went off. Here in the Midwest it definitely feels like it’s time to go camping, tour Gettysburg or see the Rockies.
Many Europeans are also preparing to leave their hot cities for several weeks in July or August. Russians like to send their kids to live with grandma and grandpa in rustic cabins where the main activity is reading or raising vegetables in a small garden plot.
But for our Polish friends near Wroclaw, July is prime time for the ministry of the gospel. Summer camps use Christian volunteers to teach English, play sports and hike in the forest. Dozens hear the gospel from counselors who love the Lord. Then 5000 young people attend the annual SLOT art festival on the grounds of a beautiful old monastery: 8 days for music, art, and current events to ferment with the gospel.
Then last week the sound of a stumble, a crack and a scream interrupted counselor training for 15 guests in the leader’s home. Julie tripped over a mattress and shattered her elbow against the wall. Hours later she awoke in a hospital bed with her arm suspended over her head in traction. Her X-rays are mostly promising – the broken bones and chips seem to be growing back together. But I doubt surgery and a cast were in her family’s plans for the summer.
We rarely get to know whether the personal pain we endure is part of the suffering we share with Christ for the sake of His final glory or is an echo of the groaning our entire planet is subject to until the Lord returns and restores creation. Until His return we pray for every effort to move the gospel out to the nations will find listening hearts. And we pray that these special servants can find special moments of rest that will restore their souls for the harvest that is ripening right now in Eurasia!