Comforting Those Who Mourn – October 2007 – Part 3
Update from Russia, 25
October 23rd, 2007
YHWH has done great things for us, and we are glad! (Psalm 126:3)
10/16/07, Tuesday: The Lord blessed me with an opportunity to witness to Lyuda, the lady who runs the internet club. She showed me some card with one of their Russian icons on it, and i asked why we should pray to the saints. God enabled me to give her an example, showing her that going straight to The Lord in prayer is the way to go ” “ God has the most power, so why not go straight to Him? Lyuda, like many here, believe that there”s power in praying to ” ˜God’s helpers.” i mentioned that the saints may have been holy people, but they”re dead now. Lyuda interjected by saying, ” ˜Jesus died too.” i looked at her in sort of a wide-eyed eyebrows-raised way and nodded my head to signify ” ˜yes,” and said, ” ˜Yeahhhhh, but He rose from the dead, didn’t He?” She agreed in sort of an ” ˜oh-yeah, I forgot about that” way.
10/17/07, Wednesday: When i was at the internet club this afternoon, Lyuda told another worker about my not accepting the saints ” “ for they’re dead, but Jesus Is Risen. Then Lyuda said something like, ” ˜I can understand his logic, but I still believe in our saints.’ (I’ll translate for you: ” ˜Although you shared truth with me, and I myself acknowledge that what you said is true, I’m going to keep on believing what I want to.’ Does that sound familiar to any of you?) But nonetheless, by God’s grace, both of these women hopefully now have something lingering in their minds that though they may not accept, they just can’t shake off or forget. Please pray that Lyuda and the other worker will draw near to The Lord. ” ¦In the evening, i went to visit w/ little Madina and her family ” “ Madina and her mom, Elvira, both survived the terrorist attack, and they live right down the street from us. i had prayed for an opportunity to witness, and Yah greatly heard! i talked mainly w/ Elvira, and Madina sat at my side, and we talked about many different things for several hours” “ Jesus, The Bible, and so much more. Little Madina goes to the Baptist fellowship Nahzee and i go to, and Elvira used to as well but has stopped attending; pray that Elvira will make the decision to stay in fellowship.
10/18/07, Thursday: This morning I really saw my lack of patience right before my eyes. You know, you wake up, and it just seems like one little frustration/annoyance after another. Thank Jesus that He’s so much more Patient than we are!
10/19/07, Friday: Today was my Dad’s 61st b-day ” “ everyone who lives close, be sure to say Happy Birthday if you forgot! Dad, may The Lord our God give you many more years, strong faith in Him, passionate love for Jesus, great health, and blessings and success in all you are and do. ” ¦The Lord blessed me to play two songs at a local evangelization event, and though the songs went over well, i made a big mistake. i had about 10 copies of my new CD to give away, & i made the mistake of not committing the handing-out process to someone else. After i finished the songs and left the stage area, there was a mob of kids that more-or-less assaulted me to get one of the discs! i don’t claim to be a very strong person, but even i can fend off an eleven-year-old boy. But when there’s about 20 of them mobbing you, and they grab hold of CDs which you’re attempting to hold on to, i don’t think many others would be successful in fending them off either!
10/21/07, Sunday: Our fellowship had a really big celebration today, called “Zhatva.” (See attached three photos.) Zhatva is basically like a Harvest Celebration, but done with a very real and deliberate focus on genuinely thanking God for all His blessings and provision. We had a longer service this morning, lots of singing, and guests from America. Two of the daughters of the pastor here (Sergei), had wanted to sing something in both Russian and in English since there were to be American guests joining us this morning, and so they had asked me to sing “Shout To The Lord” together with them. We had practiced it several times in recent days, and glory to The Lord, it was a blessing to Him and to His people. In particular, it was a big blessing to me as well, for there i was, singing next to two sisters who lost two of their younger sisters in the terrorist attack. i count it to have as a huge honor to have been blessed to sing for The Lord alongside two of His children who have been through so much but still continue to follow and serve Jesus. Thank You, YHWH, for that tremendous blessing! As we (Fatima, Aza, and i) were preparing to sing, Sergei said from the pulpit something like the following: ” ˜Jason was an American that used to come here, and then return home. Now, we’re releasing him to go America for a short time, and then he’ll return home (to Bsln)!’ ” ¦Before the service began, a grandmother named Nelli came up and talked with me. She lives in Moscow, but came back here to bury her mom. Nelli told me something about how she goes to Baptist services, and also goes to Mormon ones. (Yikes ” “ big red flag!) The Lord gave the opportunity to share some with her, and i asked her, ” ˜Why do you go to Mormon services? They’re not Christians.’ Nelli responded by saying that they also believe in god, and that the most important thing is for us to believe in God. i told her how the Mormons have a different ” ˜jesus,’ and I asked her, ” ˜Do you know that they believe Jesus is satan’s brother?’ Nelli was shocked and said, ” ˜I’ve gone to their services for 10 years, and they’ve never told me that.’ i assured her that the Mormons do in fact teach that, and she said, ” ˜Maybe they hid that from me.’ (What, cults hiding the things that they actually believe? Thing of all things!) i proceeded, ” ˜Do you know that they teach that you can become a god?’ Nelli said that, yes, she knew they taught that. ” ¦After the service, our fellowship had a huge and yummy Thanksgiving-style meal. Another amazing thing is that even after people ate their fill, so many hung around and just spent time with one another. Two of the local believers here, Raiya and Ira, wanted to talk with two of the American women who were there as guests, and so they had me help translate for them. Raiya is the wife of one of the local pastors, and she is the mom who lost four of her five children in the Bsln school massacre. Ira was a hostage herself, along with her two older boys (around 10-ish); Ira and her younger boy survived, but the older child (Artur) was killed. You are now going to read perhaps the strongest incentive to faithfully teach children about Jesus and the things of God that you could ever read. Raiya shared that before the terrorist attack, she taught Sunday School at this fellowship, and though things were crammed (they taught the kids in the small kitchen), they taught the kids about The Lord just the same. When all five of her own children – as well as many of the other Sunday School kids – were held hostage in School No. 1’s gym for the three days in 2004, those children helped comfort other hostages, taught them how to pray, and even wrote prayers down on paper & passed them around. Raiya said something like, ” ˜If we hadn’t taught the kids those things beforehand, how would they have been during that time in the gym?’ Of course Raiya and others had no idea what would befall their beloved children, but Raiya used this story as an example of how important it is for us to build into the youth. (And i was absolutely amazed at the calmness of Raiya as she told this; she is a phenomenal woman of God, a sister who resolutely trusts in her Savior even after losing four of her five children in that attack. When she tells of all that happened, and tells of God’s help through it all, you can see that she really believes what she is saying. She is not some theologian reflecting on others’ suffering and hurt – she is a woman of God who has lived through perhaps the most horrific loss that anyone could even begin to imagine.) Raiya said that it’s very hard without her children, but she knows her kids are with Jesus, and that she’ll see them soon. She said that everyday she lives with that hope ” “ maybe tomorrow she’ll see them in Heaven. The American lady who Raiya was sharing this with remarked how God had given them strength – and Raiya added, ” ˜And He gives strength.’
Please pray for
- Nelli, to follow The Lord in truth and honor The Real God;
- a brother here in ministry, who asked for prayer that he might walk in holiness more;
- The Lord to raise up His Word in the Ossetian language;
- Valiko, who has heart trouble;
- my brother Stas to be strong in The Lord, and for God to heal his mom;
- me ” “ as I wrap up things here and then head on to Jerusalem;
- the family of Rami Ayyad. Rami was a believer who managed a Christian bookstore in Gaza who was recently murdered – he was shot as well as stabbed. Rami left behind two children, as well as his pregnant wife – Pauline. Yet another act of brutality from islam, ” ˜the religion of peace.’ Please pray for Rami’s family; and for those who are guilty, that YHWH would convict them & bring them to Jesus;
- and please pray also for President Bush, who recently said that Christians and muslims pray to the same ” ˜God,’ and that islam is a religion which preaches peace. (You can read about this, as well as about our brother Rami being murdered, at Moriel.org.) Whether you do or don’t like the President is beside the point, so i’m not getting into politics here. You who know me know that i’m not a ” ˜Bush-basher’ ” “ we need to pray for him, and i myself would never want the job that he has. But having said that, we need to examine the content of what he said. And all politics aside, what he said was Biblically heretical, and just plain garbage as well. The God Of The Bible Is not the god of the Koran, and islam is not a ” ˜religion of peace.’ The Bible clearly teaches that God has a Son, His Name Is Jesus, and you must believe in him in order to have eternal life. The koran clearly teaches that ” ˜God’ has no son, and to assert otherwise is extreme blasphemy to a muslim. Even just taking a non-spiritual look at such a statement shows that it is completely impossible and illogical that we have the same God. ” ¦And as to islam being a peaceful religion, that is just not true. ” ˜Muslim extremists’ are not extremists ” “ they are simply carrying out the same practices that the first muslims engaged in. Again, spiritual issues aside, it is well-known and well-documented that the early muslims spread their religion by the sword; and the nature of the beast has not changed. As I read in a VOM (Voice of The Martyrs) newsletter, you can’t judge islam by the seemingly moderate muslims who live in the west ” “ you must judge islam by those countries who have muslim governments and which have a majority of the population being islamic. It’s not fair to say that a muslim American who is (perhaps) a ” ˜moderate’ represents true islam, and that all the others are extremists. The opposite is true. Those in muslim nations who to this day spread and defend their faith by force, fear, and murder are the ones who actually represent islam; they are the true muslims – it’s the others who are the ” ˜extremists.’ A religion is known by its fruit. And for anyone to take a look at just the events of the past ten years, and see the fruit of islam, and then call it a religion of peace” ¦ that is absolutely ridiculous and repulsive as well. Of course not all muslims are terrorists ” “ that’s a fact, and there are different muslim sects who interpret things this way, or that way, and what-have-you. However, for anybody to look at islamic culture and history as a whole and label it as a religion which preaches peace is crazy. Ok, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt; sure, many muslims do in fact preach ” ˜peace;’ the problem is that the fruit doesn’t match up with the words. As you may have heard said, ” ˜Not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are muslims.’ If anyone wants to do some homework, i’d be happy to post the results and give you credit before all of this audience. Here’s the assignment: put together a chronological timeline of terrorist attacks, beginning with 9/11 and continuing to the present-day, and be sure to include who was responsible for each attack. Again, even putting all spiritual things to the side, it is plain to any human eye that islam is indeed the world’s most unpeaceful religion. i personally have muslim friends, and so i don’t hate muslims. i hate islam. i’m not out to bash the President ” “ i myself would never want to have the job that he does. But for him to say that Christian and muslims pray to the same God, and that islam is a ” ˜religion which preaches peace,’ why, that’s almost as funny as Condoleezza recently saying that now is the time to give the ” ˜Palestinian’ people their own country, and Pu_tin’s recent statement saying that Iran’s race for nuclear weapons is for good purposes. May The Lord give President Bush wisdom, and courage to speak the truth!
Thank you so very much for all of your prayers and share in this ministry! This will be my last report from Bsln at this time, as i Lord willing will be in Jerusalem soon. The Lord has given me the opportunity and blessing to visit and help once again at Calvary Chapel Jerusalem/For Zion’s Sake, and i’m greatly looking forward to seeing old friends there! i’m due to arrive in Jerusalem early on November 1st, and will be there until Nov. 19th. Then i fly back to Moscow, and catch a plane which will begin my journey westward ” “ and Lord willing, i’ll be back in Pittsburgh on the evening of Nov. 20th. Please pray for me and the ministry ahead there in Jerusalem, and please also pray for all the flights to be on time & everything. Pray that the ministry will be acceptable to the saints in God’s city, and that He’ll use me as He sees fit. All the honor and glory be to YHWH, The One and Only God! He has no equal. Praise be to Him Who has given us the opportunity to have spent 6 months touching the broken hearts of Bsln with the love of Jesus Christ! i again reiterate that He has given us this blessing, for it was not just me over here in Ru_ssia; The Lord used us as a team, and He has truly done great things. Thank you for every prayer you’ve said, every financial gift you’ve given, every email of encouragement you’ve sent, and every letter/package you’ve mailed! And i especially want to thank those who have written and told me of how constantly your little kids pray for me and the ministry in Bsln; though of course every prayer is treasured and vastly appreciated, there’s something special about having several little kids constantly mentioning you in prayer. For as The Scripture says, their angels continually see The Father’s Face (Matthew 18:10). All the glory be unto our Lord Jesus Christ!
Jesus never fails,
YHWH has done great things for us, and we are glad! (Psalm 126:3)