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Stories

Stories of Transformation through Christ!

More than one million villages still have not heard the Gospel. You can help us reach as many as possible. People, just like these, are waiting to be transformed by Christ.

Every village that is reached results in amazing stories of transformation through the power of Jesus Christ. These are real stories of real people.  

 

Mustard Seed Prayers

Sharron lives in Macedonia. She was raised in an atheist family that did not discuss God, church, or the concept of eternity with a loving Savior. She notes that her entire family lived only for the day – with the exception of her grandmother.

“My grandmother constantly prayed and told me about her belief in God,” says Sharron. Her grandmother made a point of telling Sharron Bible stories that opened her eyes to Jesus and motivated her to think about eternity. Though the topic of Christianity was taboo within the family, her grandmother’s faithful prayers and courageous storytelling planted a seed in Sharron’s heart.

As Sharron got older, she fell prey to the ways of the world. She praised the present, living for nothing more than the moment. Still, in quiet times, her grandmother’s stories came back to her. “I tried to forget about them, but they would reappear like some voice calling me to think, to seek an answer, a solution to the unrest in my soul concerning eternity,” she remarks.

In adulthood, Sharron’s restless soul cried out for the Jesus of her youth. She relates, “One day a friend of mine told me about the relief of her soul after reading the Gospels and calling on Jesus Christ to be her God and Savior.” Her grandmother’s stories came flooding back, and Sharron asked her friend for a New Testament.

Sharron began reading the Gospels and attending Christian gatherings. “I understood that Jesus is the answer to my questions ... that Jesus was in fact calling me to get close to Him, and I was constantly running,” she submits.

Through Bible study and fellowship with believers, Sharron has come to a point where she can declare, “The future doesn’t scare me anymore. The loneliness and hopelessness are gone. In Jesus, I am assured that I am God’s child and that life is more than the here and now.”

Now, Sharron’s life is a testimony to friends and neighbors who are not believers. As in the parable of the mustard seed, the tiny seed of her grandmother’s quiet, faithful prayers has taken root and grown, bearing fruit for the cause of Christ.

A New Creation

In Ukraine, Victor’s parents considered him unwanted goods from the moment he was born. Though they attempted to build their own relationship, they were wholly unequipped to care for a child. Victor’s earliest memories involve eating off of dirty dishes, intoxicated and arguing parents, swearing and beating.

It wasn’t until he entered school that Victor realized his life was far from normal. School was a new world, without scandals, brawls and alcohol. By the time he reached junior high, Victor was having difficulty reconciling his family life with that of his friends. Realizing that he was not from a well-off family, Victor stole money from a classmate. This one act changed the course of his life.

Victor’s parents kicked him out of the house. Suddenly homeless, Victor found a new family on the streets. This new “family” did not offer love or support, but they did offer drugs and alcohol. They offered a way to escape the pain and hardships of living on the streets of Ukraine.

Drugs became the focus of Victor’s life. He not only used them, but also sold them. It wasn’t long before Victor was caught selling drugs and sent to prison. Though he naturally gravitated toward other criminals while in prison, Victor took note of some people who came to the prison to talk about God and pray with the prisoners.

It was common knowledge in prison that the paper used to make Bibles also made excellent cigarette paper. So, as many of his fellow prison mates did, Victor requested a New Testament from the visitors. However, unlike many of the other prisoners, Victor continued to meet with the prison ministry team. He would read and do his best to memorize each page of the New Testament before he rolled cigarettes.

After attending a Sunday service on repentance, Victor went back to his cell and read the story of the crucifixion. The eyes of his heart were opened and, right then and there, Victor decided he would never again use a page of the Holy Bible as cigarette paper. For the first time in his life, Victor felt hope, love and forgiveness. He repented and accepted Christ as his Savior.

Today, Victor is no longer in prison. He still regularly visits the prison, but now he goes as part of the ministry team – spreading the Good News and handing out New Testaments and literature. Victor’s life is filled with meaning and stability, for which he gives all credit to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Victor is a new creation!

 

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True Life

Lidija in Macedonia testifies that true life began for her when she surrendered her life to the Lord. “Before I gave my life to God, I thought of myself as being a Christian,” she admits. “I wanted to please God by lighting candles, by kissing icons, by not working on holidays, on days of patron saints, and so on. My life was empty, and I was constantly thinking that I was obedient to God, and that God was pleased with me. However, it was not satisfying.”

Then, Lidija came in contact with brothers and sisters from the evangelical church, who told her about having a relationship with Jesus. “I did not understand that, as I had no idea that one can have a relationship with God. They talked of God as their friend. Is that possible?” Lidija wondered. They gave Lidija a copy of the New Testament, and there she discovered what God really wants from her.

“I realized that I need to repent and to give my life to Jesus,” she shares. “I understood that all of my devotion, which I considered correct, was actually void and had nothing to do with God ... I was fulfilling some unnecessary obligations. God does not need any of that, but our hearts full of love, thanksgiving, kindness, humbleness, compassion, patience, meekness, being forgiving, submissive to His will.”

Lidija concludes, “I am thankful to God that I can live my life free of unnecessary obligations and enjoy my relationship with Him. I am thankful to Jesus, knowing that He gave His life for me so that I can live. I live full of joy, knowing that my God loves me and I rest in His embrace.”

Finding a Diamond

Mykolas in Lithuania had in his mind from a young age some goals for his life. He wanted to look good and make a lot of money. In order to achieve those goals, he became active in a lot of sports starting at age 14 and began earning money at age 17.

Mykolas was always thinking that if he had more money, he would be happier. At age 39, he had reached the peak of his goals – he was pleased with his appearance and had “earned” a million. Yet, he was not happy in the life he thought he wanted. He didn’t know how to love others – his mother, his wife and daughter. He was even destroying himself physically.

By 2012, the life Mykolas had chosen for himself landed him in prison. He realized he had wasted the most beautiful years of his life in vanity. In 2013, he started to search for God. Amid all of the evil, lies, anger, drugs and pornography of prison life, Mykolas says that he found a diamond in fellow prisoner Petras. Mykolas discovered that Petras believed in God, and that was what made him happier than others.

Mykolas took his first steps toward God by having fellowship with Petras. Next, he connected with Reach A Village partners who minister at the prison. “I talked to pastors, started to attend their activities,” he shares. “In the beginning, I didn’t feel anything. I just was listening, and, little by little, trying to start to pray.”

One day, Pastor Andrius suggested that Petras and Mykolas get together daily to read the Bible and pray. For the past two years, they have started every day at the prison chapel doing just that! Through their Bible studies together and studies led by Pastor Andrius, Mykolas has learned to be patient, peaceful, and friendly, and to take care of his family and himself.

“I dedicated myself to the Lord, who lived as a man on the Earth. He became the strength of my life, the source of peace, wisdom and love,” Mykolas submits. “And all of it came not through the beauty of body or riches, but through God’s Spirit.”

 

 

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