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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.  

 

One Small Prayer

Betty is 56 years old and lives in Bulgaria. She attended mosque regularly for her entire life. Though having weathered many hardships in life, Betty felt that her prayers were never answered – no matter how often she went to mosque to pray.

For several years, Betty’s neighbor had been inviting her to join Bible study. And, for several years, Betty brushed off the idea of attending as crazy. She went to mosque, and that was that. Yet, lately, Betty’s heart was aching for peace. Her curiosity was growing. Was it possible that there was a God who could truly answer her prayers?

The next time her neighbor extended an invitation to Bible study, Betty accepted. On her way to the group, Betty had a terrible headache. She wanted to pray, but a familiar skepticism arose in her mind. Why pray over something as silly as a headache? Why pray to a God she was not even sure existed or would have the power to answer her prayers?

But, Betty did pray. “Lord, if you are here, please make this headache go away,” she asked. Immediately, the headache disappeared! Betty was astounded. Not only had the headache vanished the moment she prayed, but the miraculous healing lasted, and the headache did not return.

Betty still marvels at the answer she received from one small prayer. Her curiosity about Jesus is blossoming into a deep desire to know the God who seems to know her and care about her. She has begun to attend the Bible study regularly and has accepted Jesus as her Savior.

Betty prays constantly and waits patiently, full of peace, to see what her Lord and Savior has in store for her on this new and marvelous path.

Strength of My Heart

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

Betsy’s heart was hardened toward God. Born in Poland to a Catholic family, she was raised with a healthy respect for both God and religion. But, her husband’s alcohol abuse, the stress of raising five children, and having two sons leave the family to become Jehovah’s Witnesses had made her angry at God.

“My image of God was that of someone who would divide and take away,” she comments. Betsy resented God and believed He was responsible for orchestrating the many heartaches of what she saw as a wasted life.

“After 20 years in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, my oldest son left its ranks," Betsy tells. "I began to notice changes in his life. ... He not only said he was happy, but I saw that it was true. My son visited me and talked to me about God, but in a completely different way than before, when he was a Jehovah’s Witness. He often said that God was good.”

This was at odds with Betsy’s view of God. Yet, the more she talked with her son, the more her heart began to soften to the idea of a God of love, a God who answers prayers.

Not long after Betsy’s reunion with her son, she faced her most impossible challenge yet – cancer.

Lying in her hospital bed, Betsy prayed, “God, if You are there, please show me how to believe in You, because I have little life left.” Instantly, a weight was lifted and peace was restored. The cancer symptoms got better, then worse again, and then extremely bad. Betsy was bedridden, but she was not inactive.

Betsy read everything she could get her hands on. First, she read Christian pamphlets, then the book of John – a gift from her son. She received a New Testament and, later, a full Bible. When her eyes began to fail, her son would read to her.

When the pain of breaking bones and illness took over, Betsy lay in a hospice bed desperate to know God more and make Him known. Clinging to life and to God, Betsy prayed all day long for sick friends, for family members who didn’t know God, and for the opportunity to be baptized.

Almost a year later, Betsy baffled doctors with a recovery. She has been baptized and helped to lead two of her other children to Christ. She is no longer angry, because now God is the strength of her heart.

“Today, I'm 70 years old,” Betsy shares. “Although there have been many unpleasant events and moments in my life, I now actually see how the good Lord has led me through them ... And more importantly, how he taught me so much, first about myself, and then about Himself. For that I am, and I always will be, eternally grateful to my Father.”

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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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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