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.
In spite of the milder winter weather, temperatures dip below freezing at night and the homeless flock to the state-run homeless center for shelter and medical care. Last week Sasha, who faithfully cleans and bandages the wounds of the homeless, sent us these photos with a note that he is out of bandages and medicines. Would you be willing to donate the cost of few cups of Starbucks coffee each month so that Sasha can buy the needed supplies?
In the photo, you can see thousands upon thousands of Muslims gathering for worship. There are four mosques in Moscow and the city has become the largest Muslim center in Europe.
The majority of these people come to Moscow as migrants, hoping to find work to support their families back home. Living in Moscow is expensive and migrants take low-paying jobs and cram into small apartments, making it necessary to sleep in shifts. They are looked down on, persecuted, robbed, and beaten. The deeper you look into their situations, the worse it gets. Women are forced into prostitution and laborers work in poorly maintained factories where they end up dying in burning buildings. Agape has provided compassionate medical care to the migrant Kyrgyz people group in and around Moscow for many years.
In December 2019, our Agape staff and friends of Agape had a wonderful meeting with migrant Kyrgyz Christians, as well as some nonbelievers. Can you imagine what it felt like for them to be surrounded by loving arms and welcoming smiles instead of the hostile, unsafe environment in which they live?
A Kyrgyz medical doctor who works at our clinic has been strategically involved in providing medical and spiritual care to these migrants. Agape invested in Dr. Z.'s development as a Family Practice doctor for more than 3 years. Thank you to those who gave so we could send her to get more medical training. Now she is fully equipped to “make disciples” through her profession as a family practice doctor (Matthew 28:19-20).
In an interview, Dr. Z. said, “In my culture, it is a special tradition to sit around a table to drink tea together. When unbelievers come, they are not against talking about God and praying. Lot of them start to believe in God.
“I stand on the position that faith and prayer contribute to recovery. In my practice, I experience the power of prayer many times and always see positive results in the patient.” Hearts are softened when they experience God’s love and many turn to Christ.
Signs of Revival in Siberia!
Incarceration is a dead-end road. Prisons in Russia are not like those in the U.S. Instead of rehabilitation, inmates are victims of violence. The atrocities that happen in Russian prisons is hell on earth. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ, inmates have no future and are lost for eternity.
Last Fall, Agape sent 230 pairs of eyeglasses, New Testaments, and gospel bracelets to a pastor who has a heart for prisoners in Siberia. A former prisoner himself, he regularly visits 17 prisons which is around 15,000 people. He holds Bible studies, provides personal counselling, and group meetings in the prisons system.
In our October E-Flash we asked you to pray for him. Thank you for your prayers! During two prison visits last month, he fit eyeglasses and shared the Gospel with the prisoners and 134 inmates gave their lives to Christ! Now they can read their Bibles with their new eyeglasses! Instead of spiritual darkness, they are beginning to live in the light.
We rented a bus in Moscow and decided to invite the homeless and migrants to our party. GREAT IDEA! We filled the bus and the house! Many new people, both believers and non-believers, came to the farm for the first time and learned about the birth of Jesus from an Asian pastor. Some decided to “be involved” with Agape Russia and signed up to receive the Russian language E-Flash