One Year For Jesus
BARNAUL (RUSSIA) – We met grandmother Tanya, as she introduced herself, in the village of Sokharevo in Kosikhinski district of Altai region. The village looked weird: it seemed there’re no streets and the houses were grouped in small groups in some distance from each another. They didn’t even have a food store, not to mention a hospital or a school – there’re no kids in the village anyway. Half of the houses were abandoned, and in the rest of them elderly lonely people lived.
Grandma Tanya is 85. She lives with her husband Alexei. He had a blood-stroke and hardly walks and talks. Grandma Tanya has to take care of the household, garden and also takes care for her husband. Sometimes a nurse from a nearby town comes to see them. Grandma Tanya has children, but unfortunately they do not help in any way. Grandma Tanya shared her hard life story for a long time. When she finished, she let us pray for her husband. Though at first she said no, she felt uncomfortable, but we insisted, and she agreed. Of course we were ready to see tough conditions of people sufferings from disease, but the reality was far worse than we expected. It was hard to imagine, how it was even possible to live in such conditions. What makes someone live like this – helplessness, hopelessness, despair, alcoholism?
Alexei could hardly talk, but he agreed with us in sinners’ prayer, and then grandmother Tanya invited Jesus into her heart as well. With tears in their eyes they listened to a story how Jesus died for their sins, and through their faith they received His gift of salvation.
We were leaving Sokharevo with mixed emotions: we didn’t feel the joy we usually have after the outreach. The village left an uneasy impression. But at the same time we felt that we were exactly where we were supposed to be – where people needed our words of support, comfort and encouragement. We plan to visit this family again, to find out how grandma Tanya and her husband are doing.
New Life Church team, Barnaul
KALUGA (RUSSIA) – We met many people in the town of Peremyshl, and we stay in touch with them, with some of them we became friends. One of them is Elizaveta. Our team visits her every time we come to Peremyshl, invites her to church, however she always finds a reason not to come. But our last meeting was unusual. Elizaveta shared her trials with her son, who left his family and children.
It was a nice, sunny day. We sat on a bench near Elizaveta’s house and had a leisurely talk. We shared testimonies about how God changed us. Elizaveta asked us to pray for her son: “I believe that God is able to change the situation”, and then she made a decision to ask God to forgive her sins. Her words and intentions were so sincere she couldn’t help crying. The weather was sunny, and then suddenly a sunshower started. And the woman, all in tears, smiled: “Heaven rejoice with me!”
Our second meeting that day was with our old friend Vladislav and his son. He hadn’t been willing to talk in the past but this day became special for him as well. It was Vladislav’s birthday, and we had gifts that our church had prepared for people we met. It was evident that the man was happy with such an occasion. We believe that God prepares people’s hearts, and our meetings are not in vain!
Grace Church team, Kaluga
NOVOKUZNETSK (RUSSIA) – It’s a distant district of Novokuznetsk, the buses don’t go there, houses are run-down, desolation all around. Evangelists came here in winter, preached the Gospel to its residents. There they met a 94-year-old grandma Pana and realized how hard her life was. Huge drifts of snow almost cover her house. To get some water she has to walk far by a slippery slope. After this first meeting team members began to visit her with cans of water and food, trying to serve her with what they could. She would meet them with an open heart and always prayed with them. In August they met again.
Evgeny Gololobov, one of the ministers, shares: “I decided to ask grandma Pana about her almost century-long life. The first thing she told me was that life passed so fast. I immediately remembered a Bible verse which says that the time is short.
Grandma Pana was born near Novosibirsk, in the village of Bulatovo, in 1923. There were five girls and two boys in the family. There was a small church in the village and their mother would take them there. At home they always prayed together. What a blessing it was to meet God while she was still young, and what huge responsibility for parents it is to introduce kids to Christ, to teach them, to instruct them. “Train up a child in a way he should go” – says the Bible. And then times of repressions came, but God always lived in Pana’s heart. And here we are, in 2017, listening to grandma’s testimony about why she carried her faith through her whole life, never seized praying and asking God for help.
We had a chance to take a picture with grandma Pana, and prayed together. In her prayer she thanked God for His mercy, and her main words were: “The Word of God” and “serving God”.
Church on the Rock team, Novokuznetsk
KALUGA (RUSSIA) – Our team evangelized in Peremyshlski district of Kaluga area. We have made friends whose hearts are open to God and they are searching for Him.
PERM (RUSSIA) – The day was windy. We were walking down the streets of a town passing out Christian literature. One of the members of our team noticed an old lady and ran to her, “Christian mail”. The lady turned and smiled, and then she came up and gladly received the Gospel. We met her. Her name is Martha, she is 78.
EKATERINBURG (RUSSIA) – At her 80 years old Zinaida looks very well, she doesn’t look older than 60. She has a kind and sincere heart. When we began to talk to her, we realized that God was leading us to her, because she needed help. Her heart weeps for her loved ones. Though they all live together, in one apartment. But the housing problem separated the family.
NOVOKUZNETSK (RUSSIA) - The morning was wonderful: warm, fresh snow. We came to Plodopitomnik village in Prokopievsk district in Kemerovo region for an outreach. Our team of two was not welcomed by the villagers – they weren’t opened, some would even send us off. We were discouraged. But we stood firmly on the promise that God would answer our prayer, we stopped, prayed to meet the people who desperately needed God.
PERM (RUSSIA) - In May 2016, a team of three missionaries went to a village to plant a church. There they met a family of the Ivanovs1. Here’s what the missionaries wrote: “The commission on juvenile affairs asked us to visit a dysfunctional family – meet them, talk to them, pray for them, because the children were likely to be taken away from their parents. We bought some food, took Christian books and went to see them.
BARNAUL (RUSSIA) - A team from the New Life Church of Barnaul evangelized in the town of Kosikha in Altai region. All 6,000 residents of the town heard the Gospel, 276 of them reconciled with God, a home church started to meet. The team more than once have brought food products, clothes, helped people to landscape their yards. In the beginning of summer the team organized a celebration for kids with clowns, puppet show and a trampoline.
BOGORODSK (RUSSIA) - Both encounters took place in the town of Vorsma. It was warm, I walked down the street carrying “The Good Word” newspapers. Suddenly I saw an old lady sitting on a bench. She looked sad and I decided to come closer and talk to her. I told her that I brought her a gift – a newspaper and a “Choose Life” booklet. The old lady was surprised and happy with a gift. Her name was Antonina. She listened to the Good News and prayed the sinners’ prayer. She said she believed in God but was tired of such a life and was asking God for death.
BOGORODSK (RUSSIA) - The Molev’s – Viktor Alexandrovich and Tamara Vasilievna – are retired: he is 75 and she is 80. In the town of Kamenki where they live the One Year for Jesus team from Bogorodsk had a rally preaching the Gospel and praying for healing. Viktor Alexandrovich and Tamara Vasilievna came up to the front at the altar call and then the pastor prayed for their health restoration. They invited pastor Vladimir Bogdanov to come to their house to help them study the Word of God. And one week after that, a small Bible study group began to meet in their house.