5/20/07, Sunday: Went and visited Madina"s family. (Madina"s 10-year-old brother, Marat, was killed in the school massacre.) Her parents were both feeling very bad (physically), and so I mostly hung out with Madina, her little sister, and their baby brother. Ã‚ " ¦I"m amazed at how much Madina does for her family, how she helps in so many ways. Only to turn 17 on August 18th, Madina is already like a mom in so many ways " “ and she doesn"t sit around and complain. Later, I went with her to visit her grandma. Her grandma was really glad to see me, and insisted on feeding me, though I tried to refuse since I really wasn"t hungry. Of course, that made no difference to her grandma, and so she proceeded to prepare some food and tea. Her grandma sat and talked with me, and again poured out a lot of her heart about her pain from Marat"s death. I shared that we still pray for them and haven"t forgotten them, nor has Jesus. Before leaving, she gave me a brand new towel as a gift; I was again reminded/convicted about how these people so freely share the little that they have while I am so often so selfish and stingy.
Update from Russia , 3. Ã‚ Ã‚ May 19, 2007
Trust in YHWH with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5
5/13/07, Sunday: Had a great visit with Svyeta and her son, Vova; they were both held hostage in the school for the three days during the terrorist attack " “ Svyeta"s husband (and Vova"s dad), Sergei, was killed there. Their story is yet another very sad one here. Their family had lived in a different part of Bsln, and had bought an apartment close to School No. 1 (the school the terrorists took over). They finished remodeling the apartment, and moved in, and the first day they were ever in School No. 1 was that first day of September (2004). As the terrorists quickly took many of the healthy and strong men away and shot them execution style, I"m guessing that"s what happened to Sergei. I don"t know if Vova always was, but he seems very grown up and quite serious for his age; Svyeta said they"re already like friends and not simply mother and son" ¦ that Vova has a say in things, since he"s the man in the house. Vova wanted to give me an icon picture, but I said I was a Christian and couldn"t accept it. Svyeta, not out of insult, simply asked why not, and The Lord blessed me with a good time to share with them. I shared how Jesus died to give us the opportunity to pray straight to God " “ Jesus Is The Bridge between man and God, and no one else is necessary. Icons, candles, and so forth" ¦ they"re not necessary. God has the most power, and so why not pray straight to Him? I shared how offended Syveta would be if Vova needed something, but wouldn"t ask her, instead just going to a neighbor"s. Svyeta nderstood.
May 12, 2007
Cast all your anxiety upon God, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
5/7/07, Monday: Saw and briefly chatted with Laima, a young girl who survived the massacre. Please pray especially for her " “ of course all who survived the attack have been forever changed, but this young girl was more greatly affected than many others. I don"t know if she still does so, but at least for some time after the massacre Laima often drew pictures of the terrorists, and would then set them on fire as a way of somehow trying to pay them back for all the evil that they did. (If you Google " ˜BBC Laima" along with the name of the town I"m in, you"ll probably quickly find the article written about her; I recommend you do so, to see what her and other survivors have been through and still live with.) I visited Mairbek and his family, and gave them 3 Farn CDs, the CD God blessed me to finish which is in the Ossetian language. (Mairbek survived the massacre, but his mom was killed.) Later stopped by and visited Khetag and his mom and dad " “ Khetag was blessed to quickly escape when the attack strted, but his younger/only brother was held hostage for the three days and was killed. I gave them some Christian music CDs, and Khetag showed me lots of photos on his computer. The topic of praying to icons came up, and I asked Khetag, " ˜Why pray to icons when God Is More Powerful?," which he seemed to get.Ã‚ Ã‚
This I know " “ everything that God does will remain forever.Ã‚ Ã‚ (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
4/28/07, Saturday: Went and visited Madina"s family " “ the look of surprise and joy on her face as she opened the door was absolutely priceless! (Madina lost her ten year old brother, Marat, in the Bsln school massacre.) Had a really nice visit with them, and I gave her and her family some Christian music CDs, as well as a computer game for her little sister (Alanka).
"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16, NASB)
Shalom family and friends!
God has given us the most amazing privilege " “ that we can come before His very throne and bring Him our prayers, petitions, and cares. Wow! James 5 speaks of how prayer has great power" ¦ great power because of The Great One to Whom we pray. The Lord Is Able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think; now that"s power! James reminds us of Elijah, and how amazingly God heard his prayers. And we are encouraged to realize this oh so important reality: Elijah was a human being just like us. So when we come before The Father, let"s remember that He understands that we are mere mortals" ¦ we have weaknesses, and He"s well aware of them. But in His wisdom, He chooses to use us still - humans who have insecurities, fears, and the like. Thanks be to God that He does!
YHWH's Eyes "move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His." (2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB)
As His Eyes roam around the world, may He see us as ones whose hearts are fully His!
Shalom brothers, sisters, and friends! I wanted to send an update on the ministry to Bsln, and how things are progressing at the present time. Lord willing, i'm hoping to return there in mid/late March, and am still waiting to receive my new passport and then be approved for a visa - and so your prayers are greatly appreciated!
Shalom brothers and sisters!
The LORD Is Good, a Stronghold in trouble's day.
And He knows those taking refuge in Him.
The LORD (YHWH) " “ my Refuge and my Portion.Ã‚ (Psalm 142:5)
What does it mean that God Is our Refuge? Or that He Is our Portion? How often do i read such phrases in The Bible, but really take time to meditate upon what they mean? The Lord is our Refuge. He Is our Hiding Place , our Safe Place , our Haven of solace, protection, and comfort. When in fear or in danger " “ indeed, in any situation - we can run unto Him. But do we? David is such a wonderful example for us... he wasn't afraid to confess his fears and flee to God for refuge. And The Lord is our Portion. We ought to think like the Levites, and realize that YHWH Is our Allotment - our Share. He Is our Inheritance. In truth, we don't need anything else. Let us run to Him Who Is our Refuge, and be satisfied with The One Who Is our Portion!
'For to everlasting is His lovingkindness' (Psalm 136)
Some things in life are so easy to grasp, while others cannot truly be learned in this life though one may be blessed to live a hundred years or more. Generally speaking, simple things are easily learned. Tying your shoelaces, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich... though difficult at the beginning stages, none of us would assert that great intellect is needed to learn such things. Other abilities, such as learning to play an instrument or build something quite obviously require much more time, dedication, and wisdom. But what i find to be rather strange is this: there are also things in life which are both incredibly simple as well as being unfathomably complex.
"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you... 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" Ã‚ (John 15:18 & 20, NASB )
May we, as Christians remember what they did to our Lord, lest we should ever begin to expect 'better treatment.' They will treat us like they treated Jesus. This is something that The Lord has been fixing my attention on, and hope to write more about later. Christian, be thankful for the rights you are blessed with, but do not ever begin to think you 'deserve' them. In fact, Jesus said quite the opposite regarding the last times. Reading The Gospels, one cannot get around the truth of what Jesus said: everybody is going to hate us because of His Name. This in one promise of God that we too often (and perhaps very willfully) overlook; but it is just a true a promise as His promise to forgive your sins. I'm not saying we are to act stupid, and then cry, 'See! They're persecuting me because i'm a Christian!' (They may just be persecuting you 'cos you did something stupid.) i just want each of us to remember what Jesus promised us. And be that as it may, would any of us choose to gain earthly acceptance and give up our eternal inheritance? May it never be! Realize that persecutions are coming, but Greater Is He Who Is in you than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4)