One of the things we most wanted to do on this trip was to immerse ourselves in the people God placed in our path to the point that it would be difficult to leave.
The first month we stayed at Donetsk Christian University we met only one gentleman, our translator at church, and the lady who was responsible for the rental of our apartment. It was a tough time for us emotionally as we sorted through the loss of the boy in the hospital in Kerch so God must have known we needed time. We were delighted with the three siblings and busy with the paperwork and visits with them. We soon knew that God was calling us to their friend, the fourth boy. Getting his referral and paperwork for court was our passion.
Two weeks ago God orchestrated for us to meet a graduating student that God dug deep into our hearts at first meeting. We saw Jesus in his humility, humor and gracious spirit. We were thrilled when he agreed to become our driver to the orphanage as we wanted to get to know him better. That week we met many of the staff of the college and were invited to other events and the immersion began. It has been an indescribable two weeks and we realized a few days ago that being difficult to leave has arrived. We have become deeply attached to the precious people at DCU as well as the orphan friends of our children. As much as we look forward with great anticipation to our departure for home, I am going to be a mess. I cannot imagine saying goodbye to these precious children and friends.
Saturday we spent the day in Donetsk with our graduating friend. It was a great day and the bond grew deeper. That night we realized that God has much more for us on this trip than adoption.
The time we have known him is short but it has been intense and deep. We have spent many hours with him and entrusted our lives to him. Our missionary friends have known him for 3 years and he visits in their home on campus every day. He has the respect and recommendation of two presidents of this college, the faculty, staff and his friends. We and he were surprised when we attended his graduation on Saturday that he was presented a special commendation from a missions organization. Prior to the closing prayer they told of him leaving for Russia as a missionary to the people of Central Asia and requested prayer and support for him.
When Jesus binds hearts and intertwines lives it is powerful.
God is calling us to become involved in this young man’s ministry. We have to be vague to protect him but he is leaving in less than two weeks with not one dollar of financial support. There are 11 million people from Central Asia in Russia who need the saving power of Jesus Christ and there are many more millions of us who can help.
We have come to know his heart and passion for Christ and there is no doubt God has prepared him for this day from before he was born…
His mother was 48 years old, had five older children, and was single again after five husbands had either passed away or left when he was born.
The doctor offered to end his life due to a lung problem at birth. His mother refused.
He has a strong beautiful voice and was chosen at a young age as a caller to his people to pray. In describing this to us he started into this call and it was chilling.
He slipped into a troubled life as a teen.
Then he met Jesus. When he told his Mom he was a Christian she told him he had to choose between being a Christian and her. He could not bear to lose his mom and chose her. And slipped back into his former troubled life.
God chased hard after him and when he met Christ the next time, in 1996, it was transforming and he chose Christ. He won his mom to Christ and she is now 80 years old and winning their entire city to Christ. We asked if she was in danger and the answer was no. Their culture places high respect on the elderly and at her age, she is safe to share the gospel without retaliation.
His passion for Christ is contagious and his huge heart to share Jesus with the people from Central Asia is from God.
We learned from others that he has no financial support, no place to live in Russia, nothing but God’s call and faith that will move mountains. His Christian contacts are with others from the former Soviet countries that still struggle to survive and have nothing to give. Former Soviet Union countries’ citizens are not welcome in the United States without being invited and sponsored by an organization or individual so he has no way to make connections to American Christians. We asked him directly about his financial situation and he has little money for a place to live, no job there, nothing but a train ticket in his pocket for May 28 and faith that God has called and he will go.
Since the terrorist attacks on America nearly 10 years ago, we have had a passion to win his people to Christ. What would God have us do? We have prayed about this for two weeks solid and God spoke clearly when we awoke early Sunday morning to pray.
We can advocate for him. We have to be careful to protect him but we can pray that God has prepared many hearts with the desire to reach these people. He is the man for the job. We believe God will do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine through his ministry. There has been much written in recent days about the deaths of these people. God has lit a fire in us to partner with him in winning them to Jesus. This is God’s call and our friend’s passion.
We want to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone that will give any amount. Little in the Master’s hands becomes much. And many of us giving a little will quickly make a lot.
We need several thousand dollars within a week for him to secure an apartment, living expenses and travel expenses for his wife and daughter to join him. His wife and daughter left DCU on April 29 to return to their home city to care for her mother who is in the final stages of bone cancer while he finished the last month of school and makes the transition to Russia. His daughter is six years old and so distraught at being separated from her dad. He was so delighted to talk with her for the first time on Sunday and she pleaded for him to send for them.
We need many who will commit to give, even a very small amount, monthly. We will coordinate the collection and distribution of the funds. He is gifted to communicate and build relationships with his people as most of us cannot. We cannot go but we can send him to devote full time to these precious people.
We spent Sunday evening with him over dinner and were delighted when he came with a guitar. He sings on the worship team of his church and when he began “Open the Eyes of my Heart” in English and then moved into it in Russian it became our time of worship. We sang, we prayed and we committed to him that we will do all we can and more to partner with him in this call that is so clearly from God.
Our hearts are full to overflowing and I have said for three days that I feel as if my heart will explode. We are so humbled and honored to be here and be chosen to participate in both the adoption of these four incredible young people and now his ministry.
In August 2009, four days into the call to adoption, Barney awoke with tears running down his cheeks and the verse from Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future running in his mind. This is the promise of the Lord for this new missionary as well. He is walking into a black tunnel and needs thousands of us to pray for him and multitudes to give so he can be reunited with his family and be all there in ministry.
He told us of his missionary friend in one of the darkest, most persecuted and dangerous places in the world. Many say to him, “why don’t you go here or there so you will be safe and it will be easier.” He replies, “I have 10,000 people praying for me here, if I go there, where it is easy, I will have no one praying for me.”
Our friend has prepared for many years, knows the call is clear and goes joyfully. He is anxious to see what God is going to do.
We need to give. We are praying that God has softened and prepared many hearts with a passion for this ministry and that they will rise up very soon.
To donate or learn more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share loads more info and make the connection for you meet him on skype. We promise you will be blessed!!