Monday, 10/23/06 " “ Read "The School" article again by C.J. Chivers (Esquire Magazine, June 2006), which is very well written (and you can read it online if you do an internet search). On the way to my first lesson, i gave the girl at the store by School No. 1 my CD. Went to teach Madina (who lost her younger brother in the school massacre); ate with her, her mom, and little Alan (Madina's baby brother). Alan (her dad) was also there, and looked very well; he usually has stress and pressure, but he said he was feeling good today. Thank You, Lord! Talked with Zalina some about Chivers' article, also about some father in Bsln who shot and killed his son a few days ago. (If i understood it right, he lost his wife and a child in the terrorist attack; from what i heard, this father killed his son because he " “ his son " “ was a drug addict.) O Lord, how much sorrow can one family have? Please bring healing and salvation through Your Son Jesus. Taught Madina, who did well. She said how her English class in school is really easy for her now, and boring! On my way to the store a little later, i passed the playground the Baptist church built for the kids of the community. I heard a young voice call out to another child somethig like, 'Where are you going?', and then i heard footsteps running towards me. It was little Kazik (Totiev), Sergei and Bella's youngest child (now in the second grade), and i turned around and shook his hand. Young Kazik lost two of his older sisters in the attack. He's such a nice kid, any time he's sees me, he comes over to greet me and shake my hand.
Tuesday, 10/24/06 " “ Went and met the team coming from Armavir at the train station here in Bsln early in the morning. The Lord blessed us to have a nice time of fellowship at the church's building where they're staying, and enabled me to give each of them my disc. We tried to visit Mairbek, but no one was there except someone in the shower " “ we then tried Ruslan (another survivor), but no one was there either, so we went and visited Aza and Khazbee (two believers). That was really The Lord's guidance, for He made sure those first two visits weren't possible. It turns out that Aza and Khazbee were expecting us earlier, but i think 'cos they misunderstood what i said (that the group would arrive on Tuesday, but i guess they thought i meant we'd visit on Tuesday)... of course, it's also very possible that my limitations in Russian created that misunderstanding. :)Ã‚ Anyways, it was a very nice visit, and they fed us like kings and queens. Wow! We had to leave though the visit wasn't as long as we wanted, since we had to be at the church's building for HunnyÃ‚ teach at 6. i left, to be back in time to teach Madina (Totieva). Madina was in the attack with all her siblings " “ three sisiters, and a little brother; only Madina is still with us today. Her and all her family are believers. i helped her with some English homework, and Azamat (her cousin, also a survivor) also came by and hung out with us. It's funny to watch him interact/mess with Madina " “ they're such normal teenagers (in the same grade and English class), who almost never made it out of that dreadful attack. Madina called a friend for help with her homework... Azamat went over and hung up on her! Raya came home, and then Yah blessed us all to eat " “ Felix also came, as did Taimuraz (Madina's father and a pastor), and Kazik. The Lord blessed me to help translate some letters for Raya that they'd received from believers offering their condolences and prayers. Taimuraz shared about their church's roof needing fixed; it was built about 95 years ago, and has never been replaced. Believers built the large building, but the Communists seized it during their time of rule. Afterwards, the Baptists got it back. The roof leaks in places, and needs fixed quickly. He also said that one of the heaters/systems doesn't work, so the church is cold in the winter. With the help of God, i hope he blesses us to aid them. Taimuraz is head over the 13 Baptist fellowships here in North Ossetia. Though i'm not a Baptist by name, they are serving The Lord and have regular meetings and Taimuraz strikes me as being a faithful man. God, please help us to help this man who's been through so much, but still he and his family faithfully love and serve You. They recently baptized i think 9 people, and also have more kids in their Sunday School.
Wednesday, 10/25/06 " “ Went to the morning Baptist fellowship's service " “ one of the sisters wanted me to play a worship song, son God blessed me to sing one that He helped me to write. It's sung in Ossetian, and is taken from Psalm 119:114: 'You Are my Hiding Place, and You Are my Shield; I wait for Your Word.' Later in the day as i was going to my first English lesson, i saw little Sasha and talked and walked with him. (Sasha Tsgoev, now about 9, was in the terrorist attack along with his younger sister, Valeriya, who's now about 6 " “ their mom, Fatima, was also with them in that gym. Sasha and Valeriya survived, but Fatima was killed.) Sasha had a big toy gun with him, and we chatted as we walked. He told me he lives in another apartment now, though it's really close to their old one... said i hope to visit them soon, and to tell his family i said hi. Taught English at the church's building to Tamik, Madina, and Zaur " “ a young boy who lives next door. Hunny and the others from Armavir went on a great visit, and The Lord blessed them to pray for family members who lost loved ones and share The Gospel with them. Glory to The Lord! I tried to visit Soslan and Aslan, but no one was home when i stopped by, and then went to the floor below and visited Alina. I encouraged her again to try and write a song (she wants to be a singer), and she told me that she really likes my CD (praise be to You, O Yah). Young Aleyshka, who i think is her cousin, was trying to learn how to read and Alina was trying to help him. Alina's mom came home, and fed me, and her dad arrived and we watched an old black and white movie together " “ he had wanted me to see it, as it was about their Ossetian culture. It was called, 'An Ossetian Legend,' and was interesting to watch, though there was paganism and things throughout it. Her dad told me that in traditional Ossetian culture, no women are allowed to go be in a cemetery (of course if they are dead, they're permitted)!
Thursday, 10/26/06 " “ Went to the internet club; gave two of my CDs away (one for Alana, who used to work there, and lost relatives in the massacre). Went to the church's building and visited some with Hunny and the group. i also visited with Aida Sidakova and her mom some. (Aida caught worldwide attention when having already escaped from the gym where she had been held hostage, she was photographed climbing back into it to look for her mom, Larisa; by the grace of God, they both survived.) It was a nice visit, but Aida is extremely quiet. She's nine years old, and likes to play computer games. Larisa told me that Aida has some psychological issues now, and that she's different now... the terrorist attack changed her, and she's even afraid of shots (injections). They both laid in the hospital for a month following the attack; Aida in Moscow, and Larisa here or in Vladikavkaz. Aida's mom said that she (Aida) wants to become a doctor when she's older. Larisa heard how good the US is, and i shared about what my Russian brother and friend in the US told me to tell people here: that America is great because of how Jesus has blessed her. Towards the end of my visit, Aida seemed to loosen up a bit, and played with and showed me her cat (who looks like a grey-haired version of Garfield).
Went and taught Azamat (Totiev) and Artur English, and they both seem to have a good bit of interest. i then went to visit Khetag and his family. (Khetag ran when the attack began, but his younger brother/only sibling was trapped, held hostage, and died in the massacre.) Both he and his dad (Soslan) said they listened to my CD and like it. Praise and glory be to You, Father. Alla asked me what we'll see on this earth, and i told her that hope can only be in Jesus. Later, she told me how she's waiting so much for the resurrection, and to see Timur (her son who was killed), and she asked me if there really would be a resurrection/eternal life. God blessed me to share that yes, they will come to pass, because the prophecies spoken about Christ before His time on Earth wereÃ‚ fulfilled " “ and so we can trust that the prophecies net yet fulfilled shall also be. I shared about the prophecy regarding where Jesus would be born which was prophesized hundreds of years before His birth, and she was amazed. It would be good to get her a 'Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus' list of Scriptures. Pray for her son Khetag " “ he and a large group of survivors leave for Jordan this Sunday, and'll be there for about a week.
Friday, 10/27/06 " “ My shabbat day. Went and visited Madina (Tsabolova) and her family. (Her younger brother, Marat, was killed in the massacre.) Zalina (the mom) told me how she and Alan (the dad) were both at the cemetery today, and after coming back home, Alan went to right to sleep. Zalina told me something like, 'You know " “ he (Alan) cries and cries, and doesn't want to live. I don't want to live either, but who'll take care of the children?' And this is reality for this grieving family " “ more than two years after losing their ten year old boy, they 'live'... and yet search for a reason to continue going on. O Jesus, only You can heal and give hope to their hearts. Please do so. Zalina and Madina wanted me to help them find some info on the internet and wanted to see the video the terrorists themselves had made while in the school " “ Zalina hoping to catch some glimpse of Marat, though without success. We watched some of it (which was a little over a minute). I later checked my email there, and opened the file my pastor (Kevin, Calvary Chapel Pittsburgh) had sent with the CD cover he put together for my disc. When looking at it, Madina's little sister, Alana, was there, and saw Marat's photograph - she said, 'That's Marat.' i wonder what she thinks, because since she's so young, they still haven't told her Marat was killed. Alana thinks he's still at school, and has asked many times, 'Where's my Marat? Why hasn't he come home?'
Saturday, 10/28/06 " “ The Lord blessed me to give a CD to another girl that works in the small store by School No.1's ruins, as well as for a friend Igor in Armavir " “ the group headed back there today. i went and visited little Artur (a boy who used to be my neighbor), and had a chance to talk with his grandma some since i'd seen one of the Jehovah's Witnesses' (JW) magazines there. I warned her about them, and she told me that she doesn't like them " “ she is actually Muslim. We talked some, and i shared how surprised i've been here at the number of Muslims and Christians who don't even know their own religions, to which she agreed. The Lord gave some other opportunities to share truth with her, and then i visited Mairbek and his family. (Mairbek survived the massacre, but lost his mom there.) i also saw one of the JWs' magazines there, and again warned about them. Of her own accord, Sima (Mairbek's grandma) said she needs to take Mairbek to the Baptist fellowship sometime " “ they have a Sunday school class and such. Though i spent a good while with them, Mairbek really wanted me to spend the night there. I declined, saying i still had to feed Barseek (our dog), and that he was chained up and would bark all night if i didn't come back. I told him i'd stay overnight on Monday; he wasn't satisfied, and started crying. Hated to leave that way, but had to go.
Sunday, 10/29/06 " “ Went to Baptist fellowship in the morning; Nahzee (the grandma i stay with here) returned home (she had been in South Ossetia, now part of the country of Georgia). Had tea with her and chatted a little before leaving for the other fellowship... she told how hard the believers and Ossetians in general have it there (in South Ossetia). i later saw Elena, one of the young ladies who had studied English with me before (Suzanna and Ilona's friend) " “ we talked some, and i gave her my CD.
Today i spoke with Pastor Jambul, and shared with him that i believe it's time for me to help elsewhere. (I'd been helping and attending mainly that fellowship for almost a year all together, and believe God has shown me that we have a different vision " “ mine being mainly to visit those who lost loved ones and/or survived the attack themselves). The Lord blessed me to make it clear both to him and to the fellowship that the decision is what i truly believe God wants me to do... and that i'm not leaving to break fellowship, but to pursue the ministry i feel The Lord wants me to be more involved in. i've recently been attending another fellowship more - the Baptist one - seeing that things are more in order there. To be honest, i often feel like sort of a 'loner' here in a sense... there are three main groups of born-again believers here - Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Baptist " “ though i'm not specifically any one of them. I still believe in the spiritual gifts, but am not part of the out-of-line obsession/abuse of them; i'm not a Calvinist, nor do i believe that The Scriptures teach that the Church has replaced Israel (Romans 9-11). Personally, i'm non-denominational, and have been part of Calvary Chapel for the past several years. And so, i guess i kind of fall somewhere in the middle here between the groups.Ã‚ I don't know of any other believers here who share the vision i believe God has given me, which can make things difficult and discouraging at times... sometimes, you begin to question yourself, if you're really doing what The Lord wants you to and so forth. But at the end of the day, with my own failures and all, i know this is what He has placed upon my heart in ministering here in Bsln. Each of us need to do what we believe The Lord calls us to " “ and for me, it's to try and visit/help the families of the more than 300 victims killed in the terrorist attack. i perhaps know around 60 such families... which is, so to speak, simply a drop in the bucket. I'm not underestimating what He has done or is doing " “ i just see so much opportunity to share in hurting lives, and the natural limits of what one person can do. There are still people needing operations and physical and mental help from their wounds now over two years old; by God's grace, i hope to do all i can, but can honestly get overwhelmed. It's like you know that you're not their Savior, but you want to try to do all that you can to help them. And trying to get precise answers in this town, regarding how to find help and so forth, can be extremely difficult. This is just the human side of things here; but praise God that we serve Him Who can do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think! Regarding physical and material needs, there are a few projects i hope to be able to inform you about in the near future - should The Lord lead you to want to financially help those living here in difficulty, i personally know of a few families/people we can try to assist with the help of our Great and Glorious God.
Please pray for
- Khetag and the others in Jordan for the next week or so;
- The Lord to open Alan and Zalina's eyes to the hope that is in Jesus;
- God to bring peace between Valya and her daughter;
- The Lord to help Alla and Soslan to find their hope in God's Son;
- More opportunities to share Jesus and The Gospel;
- me... pray that He helps me finish all He has set before me.
- me and the other believers here in Bsln and throughout Ossetia " “ November is a 'dedicated month' to the Ossetians' dead saint/angel/ethnic god, and they prepare food in honor of him and so forth. This month is especially difficult for the Christians here as we obviously don't want to take part of pagan celebrations honoring an idol, but still have to live among the multitudes who do, while we refuse to honor their idol.
All the glory, praise, honor, and thanks be to YHWH, The Only True and Living God. And thank you for your share in the service here!
Reminding you that He Is a Jealous God,
If we seek Him, He will let us find Him.
(1 Chronicles 28:9, NASB )
If . . .