Comforting Those Who Mourn - July 2007Written by Jacob Prasch
If you"re in Christ, you are a new creature!
2 Corinthians 5:17
7/4/07, Wednesday: AM fellowship; saw Raiya and chatted w/ her. (Raiya lost four of her five children in the school massacre, and is an amazing woman of faith and trust in The Lord.)Ã‚ To God's glory, her ankle is better and she"s able to walk now (she had broken it and had to stay off it for a month or so). Hung out and talked w/ Sasha, a brother in The Lord who"s the same age as I am. He told me how he had met Vova (Khodov) a few times, who later became one of the main terrorists in the school massacre here. Sasha told me that Vova was a drug addict. " ¦Sasha and I talked about several different things, one of which was about the difference between " ˜killing" and " ˜murdering" in the Hebrew language. So far as I know, Russians use the same word for " ˜kill" as they do for " ˜murder," and The Russian Bible translates one of The 10 Commandments as saying not to " ˜kill;" some English translations translate it that way as well, but the Hebrew actually commands us not to murder. Hebrew has words for both " ˜kill" and " ˜murder," but makes a clear distinction in The 10 Commandments, which prohibit us from murdering. Not that I"m trying to say we ought to go around freely killing " “ you know what I mean! Just that people sometimes create enormous movements (such as pacifism) and try to back them up with a Scripture which they incorrectly interpreted.
7/6/07, Friday: Went and visited Mairbek and the people in his apartment’s courtyard. Talked with Aza, a grandma whose two grandchildren miraculously survived the school massacre. Pray for her health, which has been a problem since the terrorist attack; this is the case with many of the people in Bsln. I visited Mairbek, who for some reason really wanted to learn the English alphabet this evening. (Mairbek is 11, and survived the terrorist attack although his mother was killed there.) So I taught him the Alphabet song, which he wanted to turn into a rap " “ so we did! He also wants to start coming to English/guitar lessons where I live.
7/8/07, Sunday: Went with Taimuraz and Raiya to the Baptist fellowship in Vldikavkz. (Taimuraz pastors that church; he and his wife lost four of their five children in the massacre.) Afterwards, I spent a lot of time in fellowship with the believers there, and was really blessed in talking with Tamara " “ Tamara speaks English pretty well, and is involved in the ongoing work of translating The Bible into the Ossetian language. Please keep that translation work in your prayers, that The Lord would grant them love, wisdom, and unity as they labor in their ministry. I, for one, am fascinated with languages, and so it was really interesting talking with her, and she gave me an Ossetian New Testament, as well as Genesis and Exodus. And of further interest to me was that she mentioned wishing someone would put The Psalms to music in her language (Ossetian), and so with God’s help, we’re going to work together on this project (songs for the believers here to sing which are right from The Psalms). Tamara also told me that several people had been asking her about starting an English class, and so she asked if I’d be interested in teaching one. Lord willing, we’re starting this new week, and will be using a children’s Russian/English Bible storybook as our main text. Talked with one brother there named Sultan who asked for prayer for his mom, Raiya, who had surgery; Sultan is a believer, but his parents are muslim.
A note of clarification: one of the dear saints that is very involved in sharing in this ministry wrote and shared her concerns over something written in Update #8, where I said that the people of Bsln need personal visits more than material things. In case anyone else also misunderstood what I said, I want to explain what I wrote. Something which I’ve tried to communicate several times before is that the people of Bsln need to see the love of Jesus in personal ways more than in general ones. Of course the people here are happy to receive financial gifts and so forth " “ but a visit, phone call, or letter/card to one of the families who lost a loved one means so much more to them. I’m not one who sets out to criticize what other people do or what they donate" ¦ may The Lord bless them a thousand times for every gift they’ve given! But here, I’ve seen how groups have given money to build playgrounds, or donated backpacks and school supplies, and so forth; and those are wonderful demonstrations of their love. But I have seen how one girl here has received around 4 backpacks (and I’m sure that’s the case with others), and also how there are numerous playgrounds here " “ and it’s not that I’m against those things. But just that I know the victims’ families would be more precisely and personally ministered to by simply receiving a note of condolence, love, prayers, and care. In having spent a lot of time here, and really getting to know very many of these dear families, I know that they are ministered to much more by having a visitor come and sit with them or in receiving a letter than they are with new playgrounds being built in Bsln. That, again, is not to say that the other things are bad: I’ve just been trying to communicate with people that there are better and more effective ways to reach these families. Of course financial gifts also bless and help them, but I try to put myself in their place. What if I had lost my young daughter (and only child) in a vicious terrorist attack, searched for her for a long time afterwards trying to find out what actually happened to her, and then took one body home from the morgue thinking it was my daughter and almost buried the child before I realized it was the wrong child and then had to have my relatives return the body to the morgue" ¦ and then later, buried my own daughter? (This is the actual case of one mother here, whom I personally know). I firmly believe that I, and that mother, would rather have one visitor, or one phone call, or one letter/card, than to have 1000 new playgrounds built in my town. The Bible gives us so much knowledge about caring for others and helping them, and were Timothy, John, or Paul still on the earth today, I believe they would be more involved in personally reaching out to the hurting, rather than trying to build a new playground in the city. I don’t think they would oppose a new playground, but I do believe that they’d try to focus in on how to personally touch the lives of these families. I can focus on trying to build people up, or I can focus on trying to build things up. I think a similar case could be made regarding your place of Christian fellowship; were John still alive and able to visit, I think he’d be much more concerned about the state of the church (that is, the people) than he would be about the state of the church’s building.
7/9/07, Monday: Vitalik, one of my Christian friends here, stopped over and we talked about Scripture and things. (Vitalik and his older brother, Vova, are new believers, and they have real interest in the things of The Lord and what His Word teaches.)Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ " ¦Many of you know of a teenage girl named Madina from reading these reports " “ she’s the one who lost her ten year old brother, Marat, in the terrorist attack; I’m very close to their family, and visit them regularly. Had her brother, Marat, not been killed in the Bsln massacre, he would have turned 13 today. Needless to say, this was an especially tough day for Madina and her family.
7/10/07, Tuesday: One of the local pastors, Aslan, dropped by in the evening, and he asked about the possibility of getting Christian materials in English to help their congregation to learn. He/they are most interested in: The Bible read in English (CD or mp3 format), standard Christian hymns and contemporary church songs, Christian children’s songs, and so forth. I told him i/we would be happy to try and help, and so I ask you to pray and think about participating in this if The Lord places this project on your heart. If any of you are interested in sharing in this effort, please let me know. I’m not trying to dodge responsibility, put there’s already a zillion things needing done here and so I ask for your help to spearhead this! I would just ask you to pray, and see what The Lord might have you do if He so leads you to participate. In particular, here is what I think would greatly benefit Pastor Aslan and his fellowship " “ and I think most of these things can be ordered over the internet, CD or mp3 formats being most recommended: *The NASB Bible, read by E.W. Jeffries; *Teachings from Chuck Smith (particularly on 1 John, John, etc.); *Standard Christian hymns; *Contemporary church songs; *Christian children’s songs. And of course, I’m open to your ideas and thoughts, so please feel free to write with your comments or suggestions. (Please keep in mind that the culture here is quite conservative; though I myself love heavy Christian music, such styles would probably not be very smart to send here. And, though this should go without saying, the last thing this region needs is more false teaching" ¦ there’s already more than enough here. Anything by Benny Hinn, the PTL posse or the like, will be properly disposed of in the trash.) If The Lord does move your heart to want to send something, please let me know before purchasing anything so that no one buys the same thing twice and so forth. I can give you Aslan’s address, and then you can send all items straight to him.
7/11/07, Wednesday: Had a good visit with Madina and her family. Again realized how popular music videos are with the youth here, and am hoping The Lord might use us to help introduce good videos to Bsln. You would be amazed to know that the trashy videos you can watch there in the US are being watched by many here as well. Perhaps we could secure rights to legally copy contemporary Christian videos and distribute them here? Also thought about trying to put together a music video for one of the new songs The Lord blessed me to write about Bsln. May The Lord build as He sees fit.Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ " ¦Later went and visited with a grandma who lost one of her young granddaughters in the school massacre. She told me how her other granddaughter, who survived the attack, has changed so much since that nightmare: she (Zarina) has become much more isolated, and thinks so often about her younger sister who was killed. Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ " ¦Zarina has no other siblings.
7/12/07, Thursday: Had English and guitar classes. One of the little girls who studies English with me managed to memorize John 3:16 in our language, and so she received the promised reward: ice cream!
7/13/07, Friday: Went and visited Mairbek and his family; gave them a CD-ROM with translated letters and photos on it from Peggy, one of the believers in the US who shares in this ministry. I also gave a " ˜More than a Carpenter’ book in Russian for Kristina, Mairbek’s aunt who’s in university now. While there, I saw how much Mairbek wanted to spend time with me... I really feel bad for him " “ his mom was killed in the terrorist attack, and his dad rarely seems to be around.
7/14/07, Saturday: Had the first English lesson for a new group in the nearby city of Vladikvkz " “ a group of believers from Taimuraz’s fellowship who want to study English. (Pastor Taimuraz is the father who lost four of his five children in the school massacre.) The lesson went well, and Lord willing we’ll be going over Psalm 23 in our next lesson. " ¦Afterwards, went and visited a grandmother (Taiya) that I know who lives nearby. Taiya lost her daughter in the terrorist attack, leaving behind two young children (Tamik and Toma). The Lord blessed me to have a really nice visit with Taiya, who shared a lot of things on her heart. She shared how it’s hard living alone " “ and she realizes that more and more as time passes, and she’s without her daughter who was killed in the attack. Taiya’s worried about her grandchildren" ¦ their dad, Valerik, is often not home, and so Tamik and Toma rarely see their dad " “ they’re mostly with their grandfather (Valerik’s dad). Taiya doesn’t see the kids very much either. God opened up some opportunities to share about The Lord, and she told me that she has a Bible and reads it when she’s feeling down, and it helps her. She showed me some family pictures, and I spent several hours there.
Please pray for:
- YHWH to provide good English materials for Pastor Aslan and his fellowship;
- Vova, for The Lord to give him wisdom, strength, and encouragement;
- Young Zarina, who lost her younger sister in the attack and has since become more isolated;
- The Lord’s blessing on, and guidance for, the English lessons;
- Those translating The Bible into the Ossetian language, that Jesus would grant them love, wisdom, and unity as they labor in this very important ministry;
- Artur, who is a drug addict and needs to turn to Jesus and be set free;
- God’s help and blessing on the new music CD I started working on this Sunday, that He would raise it up for His glory and use it to draw many to His Son" ¦ with His help, I hope to complete it before September.
All the glory be to The Lord our God - Rich in mercy, and Mighty to save! Thank you so much, all of you who pray for and support this ministry: realize that this update details the people and lives whom you are touching with the love of God!
Jesus makes all things new,
You’re a new creature if you’re in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:17