Every year young doctors, who have just finished their residency programs and who strive to become professionals in their field as quickly as possible, come to work in our Agape clinic. This allows us to begin the process of sharing the love of God by building relationships between them, our clinic's employees, and other Christians.
Last year I heard a comment from a young doctor, who said: "Agape doctors are different!” I have always been interested in finding the answer to this question: "How do Agape doctors differ from doctors from the state and from other private clinics?” After thinking through various answers from many young doctors that I have collected over years, I can share the answer with you.
“Passion for excellence in profession and compassion towards a patient”
The Bible says, “Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord!”, so we are called to experience the presence of the Lord in our profession in the middle of daily storms, tragedies of life, burnout, and all of life’s circumstances.
Agape missionaries teach that when a patient stands in front of the Agape doctor, it is necessary to imagine that it is the Lord standing in front of the doctor. Agape has been teaching this principle for 28 years.
Sometimes we use these secular terms to present this principle to medical students, residents, and medical educators – “compassionate medicine”, or “holistic approach in medicine”. By teaching this principle, we strive to change the face of the medical profession in Russia and use this principle for evangelism. In the public health system, the doctor works 12 hours a day and a doctor has about 15 minutes to interview the patient, examine the patient, make a diagnosis, and prescribe treatment. When a young doctor asks me: "Is it possible to see the Lord in every person during the crazy rhythm of the day?" I reply: "Start with one patient."
Last week we heard from Nikolos, the missionary-pastor from Yakutia, in far north-eastern Siberia. He shared that because of Agape involvement in 2020 the brotherhood in Yakutia was able to share the gospel with 380 Yakuts, 43 prayed a prayer of repentance and 11 became local churches participants!
Because of Agape, the brotherhood was able to go to the areas where they had not been able to visit for several years and had great success! The local missionaries are very thankful to God for Agape.
Now as the result they plan to start a new church in Neryungri, the second largest town in Yakutia. Nikolos, his family, and several other families plan to move to Neryungri to plant the church.
They invite Agape to be a part of the mission. In March, Agape is invited to go to Yakutia and for Agape it will be a new area.
In February I am invited to visit Yakutsk to participate in the local missionaries conference to share about Agape and it's work.
Thank you for all that you have done to support Agape and our work in Russia!
Being seriously ill can be scary, especially if you live alone. Imagine what it would be like if you were sick in the small village where there was no doctor’s office. A neighbor told you that you could get medical help through your cell phone...but there was only one problem, the doctor on the other end of the line didn’t speak your language!
Sharing the Gospel through Telemedicine. Because of the coronavirus restrictions on travel, we have had to cancel our medical expeditions to remote parts of Russia indefinitely. Last month our Agape doctors teamed up with a church in eastern Siberia to bring hope to isolated people in the region by providing online consultations and videos related to their medical conditions. The local pastor assisted the patients with language translation because many spoke their native language, not Russian! God finds a way when there is no way! Please pray for this pastor as he reaches out to people in his community who need medical and spiritual help and for Agape doctors as they struggle to meet the needs both in Moscow and Siberia.
Each one of us has a limited time on this earth. We are encouraged to use as much of that time as possible for advancing Christ’s purposes in this world.
Above is a small unfinished kiosk that Dr. Bill and PatM bought with their “stimulus money” to be used in the Live and Learn program to teach “business principles.” Under Communism, profit (and charity) organizations were usually considered corrupt and run by the Mafia. You worked at a government job, received a government salary, went home, ate, slept, and went back to work… but as you know, that system didn’t work. The Soviet Union collapsed, and millions lost all their money and life savings. Everything! It was sad.
Keep it simple and cheap. We plan to teach orphans and others in the “Live and Learn” program to run a “tiny” business, but under our supervision and teaching. This place will work only during seminars, festivals, camps, and other farm programs that take place often on the farm. When foreign guests come for a Friendship Program, the students will open the kiosk to show guests what our orphans and widows are making and offer them the opportunity to buy something, and “be involved” with Agape. Profit is not the motive but learning HOW to make a profit and share Jesus is.
The students will learn basic information: how to buy, sell, display products, keep records, keep an inventory, be a cashier, chart income and expenses, make Profit and Loss statements, etc. Some will get instructions on how to be “leaders” and make decisions; others will learn principles of submission to those in authority. The staff, Dr. Bill, and PatM, will teach and oversee the program. This is going to be a lot of work for us and if God leads, you are welcome to help Pat and me with finances to finish this kiosk. We still need to buy lights and display cabinets, fireproof the “kiln,” lay linoleum, etc. We believe this is God’s idea and plan. Memo: FARM: L&L Kiosk
Here is a link to “some” of the items that our L&L Orphans and Widows make: www.AgapeGalleria.com. If you see something you would like to buy, “hit the reply button” and we will take your order, make it, and mail it to you from Russia with LOVE.
Blessed to be a blessing!
When Olessya, our orphan resident, first came to us, she had trouble hearing and this caused her to isolate herself, especially from people she didn’t know. Agape provided her with hearing aids. Thank you to those who gave funds so that Olessya can hear!
As part of our Live & Learn program, Olessya frequently goes to a nursing home near the farm with our farm staff. Lucie, one of the residents there is deaf and cannot speak. Can you imagine how terrifying it would feel to be so totally alone? No way to cry out when you are afraid? No way to tell someone you are hurting? When Olessya met her, Lucie’s face was set in stone. Olessya began conversing with her using sign language. This opened up a whole new world for Lucie. Now she is beaming. She has found a friend and can “speak” from her heart. Olessya made a bracelet especially for her and she wears it proudly. Olessya has learned how to be a blessing to others! She has a servant’s heart. After Sergey shared the Gospel with Lucie, she repented and accepted Christ as her Savior.
Our first medical expedition of 2020 targeted “Area 87,” the region in Siberia where 87 churches have welcomed us to come along side them to share God’s Love with those who know little or nothing about Him. Dr. V., a Neurologist and family practice doctor who works for Agape, traveled from Moscow by herself to meet up with the church’s team leader and a driver. She is one strong, brave lady who wants people to hear the God’s Love. Their ministry began at the church on Russian Christmas Day. After a drama dedicated to the meaning of Christmas, nearly 70 people joined in a prayer of repentance. The team spent the next week sharing God’s love through compassionate medical care at rehabilitation centers. Many rehab centers in Russia have been started by a local church or are directly connected to one.
Dr. V. writes: “Jesus changed many hearts of those at the rehab centers. Some of them were thieves, some killers, some lived in captivity of Spiritism. Almost all of them were infected with HIV, Hepatitis C, and Tuberculosis, but many of them believe that Jesus forgave all their sins and is healing all their diseases.
“There were some who were waiting for their trials without any fear, because they know that any decision will be only from God their Savior, and they are ready to go to prison and be witnesses for Christ. Praise the Lord and thank you for our brothers and sisters who help to finance these expeditions! You are very special to us, and to these prisoners. Thank you to everybody who prays about this great ministry of Agape!”
Dr. Diana is the one standing on the right.
About Dr. Diana:
Agape is behind developing her professionally and spiritually: encouraging her to be a witness for Christ in medical education. Thank you to those who gave so that we could support her in her post-doctoral studies!
From Dr. Diana,
The young medical generation, going through residency, is a special group of doctors, whose hearts are not yet hardened from the hardships of life, whose minds are not yet shaped into restricted thinking, who are often open to renewing their minds and hearts. It's a privilege to be able to interact with them and to sow seeds into their lives.
Recently being with them at a medical conference, during the coffee break, residents started discussing and advertising occultism, and I was listening and praying as I felt I couldn't keep silent. One of the residents looked at me and said (knowing that I am a believer): "Diana does not agree with us". This was the start of a conversation about the Bible and God's perspective on this. Two of the residents were still defending occultism, and the other 3 were listening to our conversation.
At the end I felt like I lost, as I was the only believer among them, and they had their own opinions. But later on the resident that was most resistant toward God opened the spiritual topic again and asked so many questions about God. I could see there was so much pain in her heart, as she thought God doesn't care about her life.
Every time we meet, we keep talking about spiritual topics, and she is very open to them now.
It's great how God can turn something that is felt like a lost battle into His exciting work.
Pray for these young doctors as they search their way through life.
Last summer I invited several residents to my home for shashlik (Russian barbeque), but due to work only one was able to come, and she came with her husband. We had nice time together and were able to share our testimonies with them.
As it is written, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service" (1Cor.3:6-9).
Pray for those who plant, and those who water in this medical field, so that all that God makes grow would be for His glory.
For more than 2 years Agape encouraged the Christian medical professionals in Russia (MHAR) to gather once a month to share their faith and Agape provided the medical offices for them free for the meetings.
Agape assisted to develop a Christian fellowship in Moscow and it grew in numbers. Now the Moscow chapter of MHAR gathers in various places in Moscow to reach out. So Agape played a critical role in developing the professional medical fellowship of Christians in Moscow.
Last December Dr. Vadim the leader of Moscow chapter of MHAR asked if I would like to share something with them in January 2020. I agreed and the topic of my presentation was: "The Burnout: Psychological and Biblical Perspectives" A pastor from a Moscow church was invited to come to share a message from the Word and I invited Dr Natalya (MONIKI) and several doctors from Agape clinic.
On Jan 17 at 6.30 p.m. Dr Bill came to meet with me and Dr Natalia and Dr Vadim said that the pastor who is supposed to come to share from the Word could not come because of health issues. I asked Dr Bill if he is willing to share about his faith. Dr. Bill's message to the doctors was, "Faith is not what you think or say, it is what you do”. Then I shared my presentation.
At the end we had tea and cookies. At the meeting was a man (anesthesiologist and health care administrator from Komi republic). I shared with his about the whole person approach Agape uses to teach the compassionate medical care. He invited me and Dr Natalia (who is a tutor in the subject) to come to Syktyvkar to share with the doctors at the Department of the Health care of the Komi Republic about the whole person approach in treatment.
So, we might impact quite a number of the medical professionals at the state administration level and share the love of God with them and then... who knows... maybe to call them to go to the expeditions in Komi Republic and encourage the native population to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.