Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thank you for praying!

We are deeply grateful for so many of you that have been praying for our family & our neighbors.  I didn't have time to explain the other day but the past four years have been very difficult with our next door neighbors.   The very first time James met our neighbor Zhenya he began ranting about how much he hated foreigners, how much he hated anyone who believed in God and how much he hated children.  ( I had walked over with the children and was about five months pregnant).   We then  found out Zhenya was a Doctor that performed abortions at a large clinic in Moscow... we also found out he was a staunch Atheist.   Through the years we endured many, many rants, yelling, screaming at us; other neighbors told us not to worry he treated everyone like that.  But still many times over the the past four years I wondered why out of all the houses in a city of 100,000 we would end up right beside (we're talking our windows are a mere 20 feet from each other) a man that hated children and anyone who believed in God.  (Remember in this culture having four children is a HUGE family!)  So that's the background of our relationship.. this is why James was surprised when the mother Olga asked James to pray at the funeral.  We kept thinking to ourselves how is Zhenya going to handle prayer at his son's funeral?? 

Well the day before the funeral we found out Zhenya had refused to have any mention of God, prayer or anything at the funeral.    Olga did say that he agreed to her request to allow Ksenya (our ministry partner) to pass out a tract with lots of Bible verses in it.. she said that all last week she kept finding Dima reading that tract over and over again.. it was the last thing she saw him read before his death. 

Friday morning came and about 90 young people gathered outside Dima's house.  They went inside in small groups to have a viewing of the body.  Then they carried the body outside on the street and all the neighbors and other friends gathered.  What stuck me as so sad was that nothing was said, nothing was read... nothing.  No one talked as eight friends carried the coffin down the street with everyone walking behind.    I came home then and wept; I realized that grief with no hope is overwhelming.  

Late that night James returned and said a total miracle had taken place.  After the burial everyone went to a restaurant to have a meal and part of the tradition is to give toasts with vodka and a small speech.  He said Ksenya got up to the microphone with Bible in hand and told about the night before Dima's death and how they had talked about God, purpose in life, forgiveness of sin etc.  James said she then gave a very powerful, clear presentation of the entire plan of salvation.  She talked about the only hope we can have is that Dima may have turned to Jesus for forgiveness before his death.  That we can not have hope in religious traditions or our own good works but only in Jesus.  At the end she passed out the tract Dima had been reading to everyone present.. even Zhenya the Father.   James said after five solid hours of just heart-wrenching mourning..  the truth was finally clearly told and hope was given.  James was afraid Zhenya would be upset, but instead he very sincerely thanked Ksenya and James for coming and sharing.  

Please continue to be in prayer as I know the next few weeks will be so difficult.  I know that it was only the prayers of so many that allowed the truth to be shared at Dima's funeral.   I keep thinking of Jim Elliot's quote  'Father, make of me a crisis man.  Make of me a fork, so that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.'   This has been such a tragedy for so many, and yet it may be the only thing in their lives that will make them stop and think about their soul and eternity.  


Georgene said...

Overwhelmed by God's mercy! Thank you for sharing. I was so blessed and will pray as the Lord leads.

class said...

Susan and all, Thanks so much for sharing. Praise God for how He orchestrated the presentation of Truth at the funeral! Praying for you all.

Grateful for Grace said...

Continuing to pray!!

I'm so grateful you are a light in such a dark place.

salvation78028 said...

Susan, wow, again! I cannot tell you how good it is to hear of your family's powerful witness. God is so loving, so good, and so kind. I am praying for Dirma's family, and praying for a great harvest!

sethswifeforlife said...

I am just now reading this update. Wow, Susan, what an opportunity for your family, and for James & the funeral & afterwards. I will pray that the seeds that were planted will bear much fruit. And that this death of one would lead to life for many!
Blessings to you all. I think of you often!

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