Comforting Those Who Mourn October 2006 – Part 2
The LORD (YHWH) ” “ my Refuge and my Portion. ‚ (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!
Monday, 10/09/06 ” “ The Lord blessed me to have a wonderful day ” “ all praise and glory be to Him! Went to the church’s building, and washed a bunch of clothes. A lady passed by and heard the guitar, and so she came in and we talked some. She’s a believer, and also plays some guitar. She was interested in coming to the guitar lesson on Sundays, and God also blessed me to give her my CD. On the way to teach Madina (Tsabolova), i saw little Madina (Alikova) outside with her friend, Kameela. (Madina Alikova was in the gym during the terrorist attack along with her two sisters, mom, and grandma; everyone survived except Madina’s mom.) i gave Madina a disc with the photos i’d taken with her and her family, and also copied some photos of my family for her and her family on that disc. She was happy (she’s such a cute little girl) and said she’d make a copy for Kameela. I went and taught Madina (Tsabolova, who lost her younger brother in the attack). One of her friends was there, and so Madina’s mom (Zalina) ate a late lunch with me while Madina and her friend hung out some. What great planning on The Lord’s part! As Zalina and i ate and had tea, God blessed us to have a really good and lengthy time of talking. I was again amazed at the favor God has given me/us with her ” “ twice today she told me things that she said she doesn’t tell others, because they won’t understand her… and for that reason, have not included those things here. (This is an incredible praise report when we think about it; see how your prayers are touching real lives!) Among other things, Zalina shared how her life is a sort of hell… that no matter what, the pain still remains in her heart from losing her ten-year-old son, Marat, in the massacre. She said that no one understands those feelings except those who have also lost children. To lose a husband or someone, she shared, is one thing ” “ but to lose your own child… that is a completely different sorrow… a feeling that others can’t understand. Knowing this was something i ought to share, i told Zalina: ‘If The Bible is correct (Zalina became very angry at God after the attack), then God The Father knows that feeling, since He gave His Only Son.’ She then started into, ‘Why did God punish us? Why didn’t God protect us?’ i told her that i don’t believe God punished them – and that honestly speaking, i can’t answer why it happened. I told her i wasn’t trying to say why the massacre ocurred… i just wanted to share that The Father does understand the feeling she spoke of. As i spoke, i don’t know what all was going through her head, but i saw she was listening and was interested in what i was saying. Glory be to God, and may He use the seeds of truth that were sown to continue touching her broken heart. Zalina is a very kind and generous woman who greatly loves her family ” “ and that’s one of the reasons why her young son being slaughtered there is even more horrible. She told me about how generous Marat was; one time, he won a large sum of money, and split it (by his own choice and will) with his two friends. Another time, when he was in school, a girl didn’t have a notebook. She asked Marat, and he gave her his only one. The teacher then reprimanded him, and Zalina later chewed her out ” “ she said, ‘How could you reprimand such a generous boy?’ Yah also blessed me to share how there will be justice; she said how people were saying that, but when? I obviously admitted i don’t know, but there will be justice served. I brought up Basayev’s death (Basayev was a Chechnyan who was the head organizer behind the Bsln terrorist attack); he died over the summer. I told Zalina that i thought it was very interesting how he died ” “ his supporters said it was an accident, while the Russian government says they were responsible for killing him ” “ but either way, the fact is the same: Basayev was killed in an explosion, the same way so many kids were killed in the Bsln massacre.
Afterwards, i taught Madina English, and she did well. Alan (Madina’s dad) bought her a computer and brought it home today ” “ she was really excited! The Lord blessed me to help her set it up, though i had the monitor plugged in the wrong place and it therefore didn’t show anything. (My uncle, Ed, is the man when it comes to computers… unfortunately, i’m just sort of a Joe Shmoe with them!) i played some with Madina’s little sister, Alana, who is a really funny little girl. She has lots of energy and can sometimes be a troublemaker, but she makes me laugh a lot because she is such a typical ‘kid!’ i do wonder though, when she is older, how her family will be able to tell her what really happened to Marat (her brother who was killed). I think she was only 3 or 4 at the time he died, and so they just told her that he was/is still at school. And so of course, she asked many times after why he hadn’t come home. I asked Madina recently if Alana knew yet what happened, but Madina replied, ‘She’s still waiting for him.’ i watched some TV with their family, and all in all had a really nice visit today with all of them. They are a family that still go on, yet obviously suffer day in and day out because of what happened to them. They seem to be one of those families of whom you’d say, ‘You couldn’t find a nicer family if you tried.’ Today, as i’m guessing just about everyday, Alan (the dad) went to the cemetery and Madina went along with him. They are a very kind family and really warm to visit (you will eat while you’re there… resistance is futile!), but along with the happiness they still have ” “ there remains the obvious daily pain of knowing their little boy was slaughtered in that horrible nightmare. O Jesus, there is nothing anybody can do for this family; You Alone can comfort and heal their hearts. I just ask You to daily, in some way, remind them that You love them and haven’t forgotten about them. They ask questions that You Alone can answer, God. Let those words everyday burn in Zalina’s heart, and may she share them with the whole family ” “ that Father, You doand can understand that feeling of losing a beloved son. For You gave Your Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to save us from the hell we each deserve. Thank You, Lord, for loving us that much; Your love knows no bounds!
On the way home, the taxi driver (Timur) and i talked some. He was interested in going to the Baptist church across the street from where i live, and said he’d come Sunday. He told me that after the terrorist attack, people have changed for the worse here.
Tuesday, 10/10/06 ” “ Went to internet club in the morning. On the way there, i saw Alina Naldikoyeva’s mom (Alina survived the attack, along with her older brother). We talked some, and she said she’d get Alina to start coming to the English classes. I told her i understood that some kids don’t want to study after what happened; she said she wouldn’t force Alina, but just the same, it is necessary for them to keep studying. Used the internet; saw Rita Farniyeva (who lost her youngest daughter, Kristina, in the massacre) ” “ she more or less chewed me out for not having visited them yet. Yikes! You just can’t win here ” “ too much to do, and not enough time. She called her daughter Zalina, and i talked with her some. Rita and Zalina both told me to visit.
Came back home, and made several copies of my CD. Called the Pliyev family, and talked with Vazha; he said i could drop by in about ‚ ½ an hour. A brother at the Baptist church saw me, and gave me a Russian and English New Testament… bless Him, O Lord! Went and visited Vazha’s family; his wife, Elza, and their 2 daughters (Alana and Zalina) were in the gym during the terrorist attack. Alana was killed, and little Zalina survived miraculously. Elza and Zalina have some mental problems now… who wouldn’t after what they lived through? (Elza feels angry at herself for having survived but not having been able to protect Alana.) The Lord blessed me to have a very nice visit with them tonight. Elza said Vazha left purposely before i came, him saying it was embarassing/shameful or something for him to be there.? But i visited with Elza, Zalina, and 3-year-old Artur. Brought Zalina and Artur each one of those chocolate-egg-with-toy-inside things, and also my CD and some chocolates for their family. Little Artur has tons of energy, and seems to get away with too much… i’m guessing that maybe Elza just doesn’t have so much strength anymore after having lost Alana. Artur was watching some DVD films that were translated into Ossetian, and was playing with several toy guns. Elza served tea and some snacks, and we talked some. She asked one of those, ‘You’re a believer, right?’ questions, and i said yes. I shared that there are people in my church who send their greetings and pray for them, for which she said, ‘Thank you.’ Zalina (who is 10 and in 5 th grade) and i mostly talked and hung out together ” “ she’s such a precious little girl! If i recall correctly, she was shot twice in the stomach during the end of the massacre, and it’s an absolute miracle that they were able to save her life (praise be to God). And knowing that, it’s tragic to see how alive and sweet she is ” “ and be able to reasonably guess that her older sister would most likely be the same… had she survived. (Alana would have been 13, come November 5th.) Zalina showed me some photos and a game on her computer, and she was really eager to get more copies of my CD to give out to people. Praise The Lord! She said, ‘I’ll give them to my 3 friends, to my aunt, to my cousin…’ – and so i told her i’d bring 10 the next time i came. Elza asked if i made the disc in the US, and i replied yes, and that i wanted to give them something personal. Zalina told me that she wants to become a singer, and so i told her the next time i visit, i’ll bring my laptop and show her how i recorded my CD. And that with her microphone, she can even talk into my notebook and sing something, and i’ll record it and burn a CD for her. So she told me to bring a new disc to do so when i visit them again, and i told her i’d also bring a disc with the photos burned on them. Zalina also wanted me to bring some Sharpie markers for her when i return to Bsln in the future, and she said she’d pay for them. ! I told her i’d bring them for her for free, but she refused that idea several times; i finally told her that i was stubborn, and so she realized she couldn’t win (but it was sweet of her to try). She asked me, ‘Do you want me to draw something for you?’ Of course i did, and she made me a picture. Her mom said something about that not being of any use to me, i guess thinking it was just a kids’ drawing… which it is. But little does she know that such small gifts, when thought of and given by the very children who survived that massacre ” “ those gifts are more special to me than almost any gift a person could give me; i’ll keep this drawing to the day The Lord returns, or ’till the day He calls me home.
Wednesday, 10/11/06 ” “ Went to the Baptist fellowship this morning; Misha read from the first 6 verses of John 14, and Sergei (Totiev, who lost two daughters in the massacre) preached a really good message from Philippians 3. He also asked the congregation to talk about what’s happened in their lives over the past five years, and if things are better for us now or worse. Several people stood up and gave their answer. But i couldn’t help thinking, ‘i wonder what’s going through Sergei’s mind regarding his own answer… just two years ago he lost two of his daughters.’ After the service, one of the elderly ladies wanted me to write my schedule for the English classes, and where. I think she wanted to know for her grandchildren – she told me they aren’t believers and she’s therefore hoping i can tell them more about The Lord. Saw Raya (Totieva) and talked some with her. (Raya is married to Sergei’s brother, Taimuraz; Taimuraz and Raya lost four of their five children in the attack.) Told her that i see Madina (their only child who escaped from that nightmare) a lot walking, and it’s so pleasant to me ‘cos she’s always smiling. Raya said, ‘Yep ” “ that’s her!’ She told me that Madina needs help with English, and Raya told her i could help her. Madina said something like, ‘It’s not convenient,’ and Raya replied, ‘How isn’t it convenient?’ i told her i’d be happy to help Madina any time; i can come to their house, or help her at the church ” “ whatever. I talked with one of the young believers there, Maximus, and he told me he’d like to study English; told him i could start a group there at the church if they wanted.
Went to the church’s building to teach English ” “ just Madina (Tsibirova) came. Later went to visit the Nogayeva family. On the way, i stopped in the corner grocery store ” “ talked some with the girl i know who works there. She was saying how money changes people (for the worse), and i showed her 1 Tim. 6:10 in ‚ Russian. At the Nogaevs, i mostly visited with Zalina, the oldest girl (Zalina was in the gym with her 3 sisters and her mom; the second oldest girl, Marina, died there). Had a nice visit with her. Zalina is a really quiet girl, but every now and then, she opens up a little more. She’s one of the 90-some group of people traveling to Jordan soon; Jordan ‘s king invited them, and is paying for everything. Zalina and i talked a little about the possibility of it being dangerous. She, and others, have wanted to know about that ” “ and what can i tell such people? I told her how my three days in Jordan were, and that i had a great time. But i also said there are crazy people there as well. May The Lord God watch over this group as they go to Jordan , and bring them back safely. Zalina also told me that she likes my CD.
Went and visited the Tebiev family – Alan, Anzhela, Tokh (13), and Arina (10). Tokh and Arina would’ve also been in School No.1 during the school massacre, but they were at the sea, and returned to Bsln after the first day of school. Alan’s brother, Oleg, doesn’t have the same kind of story to tell. On September 1 st 2004, his wife (Albina) and his two sons (Zaurbek and Zelim) all went to School No.1. Albina taught the Ossetian language there, and her older son, Zaurbek, was a student in the same school. Little Zelim wasn’t supposed to be there, but his day-care center/pre-school was closed that morning. Unfortunately, only young Zelim made it out of the massacre… he was saved by a member of Alpha, which I think is a Russian Special Forces Unit. Zelim, who will only be 5 in December, lost his mom and brother in that nightmare. The Lord blessed me to have a really nice visit with Alan and his family, and little Zelim was there, too. Brought them my CD and some other small gifts. They’re a really nice family, and i’m glad to know them. God gave me an opportunity to share some, too; i told Alan that i read at night, and he asked what i read. i answered, ‘The Bible,’ and he wanted to know if i regularly did so. I told him that i did, and i’ve seen how much It’s changed me and helped me. Alan drove me home later, and in the car, Alan told me a neighbor’s tragic story. A mother was in the gym with her two daughters. After an explosion, the mom grabbed the hand of one (or both) of her girls. However, when the mother made it out alive, she realized that the girl whose hand she had grabbed had not been her daughter’s. Her daughter died in the massacre. Of course, the mom’s action can easily be understood when we remember that there were over 1,000 people packed in that small gym, and when explosions detonated there on the 3 rd day, it was chaos and pandemonium. Anybody could have mistakenly done the same thing she did. But for her, i suspect that her reality consists of daily trying to figure out how she had mistakenly grabbed another girl’s hand while her own daughter died. And i’m sure there are other stories along that same tragic line. This is, after all, Bsln ” “ a small town that lost over 330 people in that bloodshed… most of whom were children.
Thursday, 10/12/06 ” “ On the way to the internet club, i saw Ruslan Bigaev and his mom, and we chatted for a few minutes. (I’ve helped teach him English several times, and i used to be his neighbor. Ruslan, who’s now about 16, survived the attack along with his older sister. However, he was shot in one of his elbows, and to this day cannot fully straighten it. He and his mom were on the way to the clinic here, as there was someone/s from Moscow doing some sort of evaluation or something. Ruslan’s seen a number of doctors, but they often give conflicting reports: surgery is mandatory, or not necessary, or possibly needed. I’m sure they feel pretty worn out with all of that (now 2 years after that nightmare), but obviously are still trying to get help for Ruslan. His mom said she wasn’t sure if there would be money given to do the surgery or not; i gave them my cell phone number, and told them to call me if it didn’t work out as far as being approved for financial help. Told them that i would seriously see what i could do for them if that turns out to be the case. Ruslan was one of the first kids from Bsln that i’d ever met; when i was serving at Calvary Chapel Jerusalem /For Zion’s Sake last year, God blessed me to meet Ruslan and three other kids from Bsln when they came to Jerusalem . Pastor Bradley, his wife Mariana, and another volunteer ” “ Andrea ” “ and i went with them to the Jerusalem Zoo and spent some time hanging out with them.)
Used the internet. Dropped by the church’s building and visited with Paula and some of the other saints from Armavir who were there. Spent some time talking with her, and gave her and her assistant copies of my CD. Went to teach Madina (Tsabolova, whose brother Marat was killed in the attack) English. They have the internet working now, and so i helped her some on the computer ” “ her and her mom wanted to find more info on Marat, and i helped them find and save the info on Mother’s of Bsln’s site (materibeslan.com, i think); also showed Madina beslan.ru’s site. We went and ate with Zalina ” “ after, helped Madina more on the computer. We didn’t study English, but that was fine; spent a good while with their family. When i was leaving, Madina told me to visit again if i had free time. Perhaps much of the ministry here is just being with the people. There are definitely times The Lord opens up awesome opportunities to share about Him and His Word. But much of the service here is also just about spending time with the families. A visit here in Bsln is usually at least 2 hours or so, and goes basically like the following. When you drop by, they welcome you in, set food before you and put the water on for tea as you visit together and get caught up on how and what your families are doing and so forth. (This is often the time when there are the best opportunities to share about The Lord.) You have tea and some sweets, and then – depending on the family – you might play with the kids or watch some TV with the family. This is their culture by and large, and they seem very surprised if you just drop by for a very quick visit. We in the West seem to be much more time oriented as far as ‘getting more things done,’ but Bsln is not like that. This can be frustrating and discouraging at times, because there are so many families God has blessed me to come to know, and they all really want you to visit (and sometimes seem hurt if you haven’t dropped by in a while), but the day only has so many hours in it. Added to that is the fact that it’s not very smart for foreigners to be walking the streets here alone when it’s dark out. Winter is coming, which means it is already dark about 6:30, and once we change the clocks and get closer to the winter, daylight only lasts to about 5PM. I haven’t found anybody here that seems to share the same vision, and so i’m usually always by myself when i’m visiting families and so forth. All that to say, one wants to do much more than one is able to here in Bsln. By God’s grace, i think He’s blessed me to know perhaps 60 or 70 families impacted by the terrorist attack, in addition to other aquaintances and so forth… but how to try and spend time with all of them? Thank God that He understands and sympathizes that we are mere flesh, and have lots of limitations upon us though the spirit would often choose otherwise. After getting back home, The Lord blessed me with a very refreshing time in His Word and prayer. Thank You, Jesus!
Friday, 10/13/06 ” “ Shabbat day. In the late afternoon, i went to visit Mairbek and family. In the yard of his apartment, i saw Svyeta Margiyeva, a dear woman who’s been through so very much. Svyeta was in the gym with her young daughter/only child, Elvira; however ” “ only Svyeta survived, and that with a very wounded leg. Her husband (Valiko) has had a few heart operations… he may have had such problems before the massacre as well, i’m not sure. But even if so, the pain their family lives with has certainly not helped his condition. They have since adopted a little boy, Arsen, who is 2 years and 8 months old. Svyeta and i talked for a few minutes ” “ during my last time here in Bsln, i was their neighbor, and i’ve visited them a number of times. (Svyeta and Valiko are very, very generous and nice people ” “ the kind of people who give you jars of homemade jam and things when you visit them.) I was very happy to see and talk with her, and she specifically told me, ‘It’s very nice to see you’ ” “ and you could tell that she really meant it. I told her i hoped to visit soon, and she told me, ‘ ƒ ‡ ƒ ƒ µ ƒ ® ƒ ¤ ƒ ¨!’… ‘Drop by!’ ‚ i then visited with Mairbek’s family for a bit.
Dropped by the Mother’s of Bsln Committee and spent some time with them. Zalina (who lost her closest brother in the attack) had tea and some food with me, left, and then one mother (who lost her daughter/only child in the massacre) came and we sat and talked together. She is a quieter lady, and very dear ” “ one who’s also been through so very much pain… she lost her husband several years ago, and then lost her only child in the terrorist attack. I told her that many people view such mothers as her as miracles, for all the strength they display in their lives. She then confided in me by saying something personal, and really opening up her heart… that she has so very much sorrow. And i share this with you, just because i feel i need to for the sake of prayer (but am withholding her name). She told me, ‘I have so much pain within me ” “ it’s always there… My strength comes in knowing that for my daughters’ sake, we’re looking for answers. But after that time (if we find the truth about what happened and why), I don’t know what I’ll be living for. I can’t think about that now.’ i told her that the truth will come out, though i can’t say when ” “ and that ‚ God is with all of them in their goal of finding the truth, because The Bible says that God Is Faithful. She told me, ‘Speaking honestly, you know the feeling you have when you get older, and look back at the fairy tales you used to read? That’s how I look at The Bible now. One thing I know, there is one God ” “ whether a person is Muslim, Catholic, Christian, Buddhist… there is one God.’ I’m not sure, but she may have also been one of the moms who bought into the antichrist guy in Moscow who claimed he could raise the dead children (he also claims to be God the Father, and the second coming of Jesus Christ). Different topics came up, and she told me how she’d studied English when in school. She still remembers words, but knows she needs more practice. She told me, ‘I was planning that when my daughter entered 5 th grade and began to study English, I would help her, and she would help me’ ” “ and then expressed how that will never happen now. Her daughter was entering 4 th grade, and was only nine years old, when the massacre occurred (Sept.2004). Please pray for this hurting woman. God knows her name and heart. Afterwards, i went into the main room and sat with several of the other moms, eating sunflower seeds together. One of them, Zina (who lost her little boy in the attack), explained to me, ‘This is a Russian tradition that we’ve taken from them ” “ grandmas sitting around eating sunflower seeds and talking… this used to be shameful for us (Ossetians).’ I left some time later, and one of the grandmas who lost a granddaughter in the attack called out ” “ ‘Jason, drop by and visit.’
Dropped by and visited my friend, Karina, who turned 20 yesterday. Hung out with her and two other friends.
Saturday, 10/14/06 ” “ Today was Vova and Zipha’s (both are believers) wedding party. Was sort of an interesting day, you could say that!
Coming back home, i saw some of the youth from the Baptist church across the street and talked with them: Madina (Totieva), and her cousins Fatima, and Aza (Totieva). Both their families lost members in the massacre. Madina said she wanted help in English, and i said i’d be happy to help her. I then talked with Stas and Rusik some, sharing my concerns about tomorrow’s wedding. Since it would be an unbelievers’ wedding, i was worried about the food and drink being offered to Wasterjee, the dead, saints, etc. (i think that the Ossetians themselves have different beliefs about who Wasterjee was/is: some say their ethnic god, some say an angel, or maybe even a dead saint.) It is incredibly hard for believers here… explicit paganism is laced through such routine things like weddings, funerals, birthdays, and so forth. (The Bible says to eat without raising questions; but if someone says something was sacrificed to idols, we’re not to eat. The local believers here are often under great pressure, but choose not to eat at unbelievers’ weddings, funerals, birthdays and so forth when Scripture is violated. As you can imagine, this sometimes creates fights and resentment. See how easy we have it in America ?) Pray for the believers in Bsln! Father, strengthen them and help them love Your Son Jesus more than all.
Sunday, 10/15/06 ” “ Went to the Baptist fellowship in the morning. Gyerman spoke on how TV wastes time and causes us to think like unbelievers think and seek the things they seek… good message. Afterwards talked with Vitalik by phone… i had prayed and was really hoping that he or another saint would come to the wedding with me so i could have more support, but that didn’t happen. And it is in this that i give Yah all the glory and honor and thanks and praise. I was really dreading/worying about having to refuse food, but God helped me. When i arrived their, Elbrus (Igor’s ” “ the groom’s – dad) told me to eat something, so i sat with some of the men who were sitting at a small table. I ate as they were toasting (i think to things like, ‘May their marriage be happy’), but i didn’t toast at all (they normally do shots of alcohol), nor did i hear anything about Wasterjee, so i ate. Later, we sat down inside one of the big tents outside and were about to eat and drink again. The elders started us off, and i clearly heard one say Wasterjee, so i didn’t eat or drink anything. The people next to me urged me to, but I said, ‘i’m a believer.’ One of the young men seemed kind of taken back by that, but didn’t press the issue. Another guy, Togan was his name i think, also tried to encourage me to eat, but he seemed much more understanding and cool though i still didn’t partake. We later headed off to get the bride (their traditions are extremely different and lots needs to be written in order to explain it to you, but i don’t have the time right now). There too, we had to sit at tables to eat and drink… and they did what i dreaded once again, the elders spoke of and toasted to Wasterjee, their dead ancestors, and so forth. So, God strengthened me not to eat or drink anything. But this time around i was much more worried, for Kazik (brother of the groom and a friend of mine) was sitting very close to me ” “ i feared angering him. (He lost a little brother in the school massacre.) Kazik tried to urge me numerous times to eat, but i refused and said, ‘i’m a believer ” “ we don’t believe in Wasterjee.’ To God’s glory, he didn’t seem angry or bitter. Another young guy, 20, sitting next to me also tried countless times to convince me to eat, but Yah helped me to refuse. Instead, He opened the door to witness to the guy numerous times, and it was great. The guy said i was a ‘fanatic,’ but i responded and said that i think that either all of The Bible is true, or it’s all wrong. He talked about Christians having One God, and Muslims having one god… that there is one god. I told him how a Muslim gave me a Koran, and it says that god has no son. The Bible, on the other hand, says that Jesus Is God’s Son, and that if you want to go to Paradise you must believe that. I then said to him, ‘They’re either both wrong, or one of them is right and the other isn’t.’ He responded: ‘They’re both wrong.’ He then went on to explain his belief that ‘god’ is more of a ‘force’ or a ‘power’ than an actual God, and that he reads The Bible because of the many powerful and beautiful things written in it. I asked him, ‘Do you know what the word Christian means? It means someone who follows Jesus. With what you told me, why do you call yourself a Christian?’ He confessed that he calls himself ‘Christian’ in the sense that he was raised that way, that he’s not Muslim, he was baptized, and his culture is Christian. (Like so, so many in the US who believe they are Christian when their life shows otherwise. I know this will offend people, but it is a simple fact: if you don’t lead the life Jesus calls you to, don’t say you are His follower. Being Christian doesn’t mean you are perfect and never make mistakes ” “ but it does mean that you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, accepted Him as your Lord, and seek to follow and obey Him. It boils down to this: Who Is Jesus Christ to you? Have you been born again? The Bible explicitly stresses the importance of these things. It’s just simple logic: i don’t call myself a Muslim, because i don’t believe in the Koran, Muhammad, or follow their god. So why do so many polls show that huge percentages of Americans believe themselves to be Christian, when many of them believe that much of The Bible is just ‘stories,’ Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, The Bible isn’t really The Word of God and therefore don’t read it except for portions on the back of the memorial cards they get at funeral homes, view murdering babies as a ‘matter of one’s personal choice,’ and are hoping to get to Heaven beacause their ‘good’ works outweigh their bad ones? A Christian, plain and simply, is someone who believes that Jesus Christ really Is Who He Said He Was (Lord, Savior, and God) and have called upon His Name as their Lord, believing that God raised Him from the dead. As C.S. Lewis wrote, let’s throw out all of this patronizing nonsense of the idea that Jesus was simply a very good teacher. He claimed to be God: so He was either crazy, a liar, or indeed ” “ God. If you believe Jesus was either of those first two choices, then it is absolutely ridiculous to say He was a ‘Good Teacher.’ Good teachers aren’t crazy, and they’re not liars. Simply put: forget about your upbringing, cultural heritage, religious ‘feelings,’ gripes against church and society, and everything else… right now, between you and God, have you accepted His Son as your Lord and therefore seek to follow Him, or not? All the other matters are trivial in comparison.) The guy said (nicely) that i was a fanatic, and that we don’t need such kinds of people. I told him what Jesus Himself said in John 14:6 ” “ that He Is The Only Way to The Father, and no one will make it to The Father except through Jesus. I told him, ‘i didn’t write that.’ (God Himself said it. I merely believe that what The Bible says it true: if you think It isn’t, you’ll have to take that up with The Author, not with me.) And surprisingly enough, the young man and his little brother still seemed interested in me, and hung around me much of the remaining time. (My general perception of the Ossetian people is that they are very religious, though often do things without knowing or thinking of why. They also can be extremely proud. But they, on a large scale, appear to be open ” “ at least from my point of view. You can talk to them very directly about things, and though they may not agree when you are finished, they generally listen. There are few people like the multitude we have in the US who fly off the handle and get all offended should you dare so much as even question their beliefs.) Pray that The Lord of The Harvest will send forth more laborers here, and open the blinded eyes of the Ossetian people. On the drive back to the groom’s house, several of our cars pulled over at one of the ‘holy Wasterjee sights’ ” “ they played music there, and seemed to have stopped there to praise him and have a short service. They then divided up some sort of food and passed it around for the people to eat, to honor this false god. i obviously didn’t take any part in their service, but rather stood at a distance watching them ” “ grieved and angry at their idolatry; and now reflecting back on it, it was one of those things that you read about in books ” “ something backwards countries do… praying at big rocks and things. Hard to believe that in this day and age there are still so many people blinded and performing such ancient forms of paganism. But then again, how many of our ‘enlightened Americans’ don’t even believe the devil exists? Which deception is worse?
Please pray for:
- The Lord to open more doors to share The Gospel;
- God to give Elza and Zalina peace and healing of mind;
- The Lord to comfort, and reveal His Son Jesus, to the mother written about in Friday’s journal entry;
- The people i had contact with in this report;
- The Lord to bless my dad on his birthday (10/19). I accepted Jesus in part due to my godly father’s example of having done so earlier. My dad, though the Lord is still working on him as He is with all of us, has been a wonderful example for me in many ways ” “ in his faith, in his wisdom and common sense, and in his hard work and belief that you can accomplish your goals though the world may be against you. He is a strong believer, a great lover of Israel , a caring father, and an amazing artist; and he has been the kind of father to us, his five children, that his own father was not to him. And for that and all the other reasons, i greatly love, respect, and honor him. (Happy Birthday, Dad ” “ this report is sent out to people in Africa, Israel, Canada, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and across the US!) One thing we have been working on off-and-on for some years now is trying to put together animated kids’ programs which teach about The True God. Lord willing, this is one of the big things we hope we’re able to work on when i’m back in Pittsburgh at the end of November. Your prayers in that regard are also greatly appreciated!
May The Lord Most High reward you for all your prayers and support in this service – it’s so wonderful that we can be a small part of what He’s doing across the earth! All the glory, praise, and honor be to our Blessed Redeemer, Jesus! Remember The Many Beautiful Names by which He is called: Healer, Savior, Love, Peace, Majestic, Faithful, Unchanging, Light, Hope, Life!
Reminding you that Jesus never fails,
YHWH is our Refuge and our Portion