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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.  

 

Please Pray with Me!

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven ...” Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

Yasemin, a 15-year-old in Siberia, Russia, did not know why she would need God, but when friends invited her, she attended the local Christian youth club. She liked it! They played interesting games, sang Christian songs and studied a book that was foreign to her – the Bible. Yasemin recalls, “This book fascinated me! From this book, I learned about God. I learned that He created men and this world. I learned about sin and God’s love for mankind.”

After a while, Yasemin began attending worship services on Sundays. Yasemin shares, “One time, I read Acts 3:19: ‘Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.’ These words would not leave my head. During a conversation with my mentor, I understood the meaning of these words. God has touched my heart, and I asked God for forgiveness of my sins. ... I felt joy because I fulfilled God’s call!”

Yasemin was baptized during the summer of 2015. After her conversion, she felt a strong desire to share Christ with her friends, but this was not easy. Yasemin attends a boarding school. She notes, “It is hard to withstand all challenges and attempt to shine in the darkness. Everybody in my school knows that I am a believer and attend church. The girls are constantly asking: ‘Why don’t you do this?’ ‘Why is this not allowed?’ ‘Why do you need to read the Bible?’”

Yasemin decided to offer to study the Bible together. Only one girl agreed. After a few lessons, she expressed interest in visiting church. “She listened attentively and even sang hymns with us. She liked it and said she would continue to attend,” Yasemin relates.

The next day, after school, Yasemin was approached by the school counselor, who, like most Russians, perceives evangelical Christianity to be a cult. She informed Yasemin that they were a “regular school, regular people” and said, “If you want to call someone into your sect, go out into the street. I am receiving complaints from parents telling me that you are luring their children into the sect. If you ask one more child to go with you, I will take you to the principal’s office.”

The counselor threatened to expel Yasemin from the school and took her Bible away. Even so, Yasemin responds, “But I haven’t lost heart and am not frightened. God gives me boldness and desire to continue to talk about Him.”

Later, Yasemin found out that it was the parents of the girl who went to church with her who had complained. The parents forbade her friend from attending church. For a while, they continued studying the Bible, but because of her parents’ attitude towards God, the girl eventually stopped talking with Yasemin about God and stopped reading the Bible.

“What is there left for me to do? I can only pray for her, her parents and my friends and show Christ to them by my life and fellowship with them,” Yasemin submits. “Now I am praying and am waiting [for] when the Lord will open new opportunities to witness. I pray for my friends to become Christians as I did. Brothers and sisters, please pray with me!”

Calling in Jesus' Name

Khin Thu was born in Mandalay, Myanmar, where the strongest Buddhist community settled, and she enjoyed the different rituals as she was growing up. She still remembers visiting a friend’s home for the first time. Khin Thu shares, “As I went in their house, I saw the picture of Jesus twisted on the cross. I was shocked to learn that Christians worship this man.” From her Buddhist perspective, Khin Thu assumed that Jesus suffered and died this way because of something bad He had done in a past life. She learned from classmates that Jesus died in our place and rose again on the third day.

Khin Thu married a Buddhist husband, who turned out to be irresponsible toward her and their two children. “I talked to him about divorce, but he disagreed. Our relationship was nearly finished,” Khin Thu relates.

In May 2015, when Khin Thu was soon to turn 37 years old, she was walking on the mountainside with a friend during summer vacation. The friend had become a Christian recently and liked to talk about her newfound faith whenever she got the opportunity. She asked Khin Thu, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” Khin Thu was shocked and completely unprepared for the question, but she resolutely replied, “No.”

In July, a different friend called and asked Khin Thu to go shopping with her. As they were driving along on a motorbike, a group of policemen stopped them, arrested them for trafficking drugs, and put them in jail. Khin Thu had no idea that her friend was involved in this.

Khin Thu recalls, “During my first 24 hours of being arrested, all sorts of thoughts were running through my mind. I was basically thinking that my life was over. That moment, I remembered a Christian friend who said to me to call in the name of Jesus Christ in times of trouble. I knelt down and began to pray, ‘Jesus, if you are true and the living God, I need you. I need your help. Help me to get out of here. I promise I will worship you the rest of my life.’ He heard my prayer. To my amazement, I was released the next morning!”

Immediately, she knew that it was only through Jesus this had happened, and it confirmed to Khin Thu that He is the living God who cares for her. “I could hear Jesus speaking to me and telling me this was just the beginning of how He would show me how good He is,” she says. Khin Thu was baptized and received her own Bible from her pastor. She reads it every day.

Khin Thu submits, “As my understanding of the Word of God increased, I began to be transformed, and every bad habit or bad thought began to be removed from me one by one, such as greed, jealousy, bad temper and gossip.” God continues to shape and mold her, and He's also opened the heart of her husband, who is now receptive to God’s Word. Khin Thu rejoices that He has not only given them eternal life, but has restored their broken relationship. “Today, I am greatly blessed to be born again, with a changed heart, mind and spirit,” Khin Thu concludes.

The Power of Prayer

Yeva in Armenia is a trained psychologist who works with children with mental and physical disabilities. She attended church once or twice a year and thought that, if she lit a candle at the church once in a while, everything had to be good in her life. It didn’t depend on her lifestyle.

When Yeva met her future husband and found out that he had been attending the Evangelical church for many years and that his mother serves at the church, she was surprised. She thought that she would make him stop attending church after they were married, though she didn’t say anything to him about this. After the wedding, Yeva started thinking about how to keep her husband away from the church.

In order to see what happens at the Bible studies, Yeva went to the church with her mother-in-law one day. That day, the Bible study was about prayer. Yeva participated in the Bible study, asked a lot of questions, and left with a smirk in her eyes. To the surprise of everyone in the Bible study, Yeva returned the next day with hundreds of questions and ended up dominating the conversation. It seemed that the purpose of all the questions was to find an error and show everyone that what they believed in was just a flawed theory and they should stop.

Soon after that, Yeva got pregnant and stopped attending the Bible studies. She had a lot of complications during her pregnancy. The doctors found that the complications were related to a heart defect in her child. They were not giving the family any hope that Yeva would be able to carry the baby to full term.

In the middle of all the testing and difficulties, Yeva kept remembering the conversations she had during the Bible studies about the power of prayer. She started praying with her husband and mother-in-law. Soon, the whole church joined them in praying for their baby. The answer to the prayers was magnificent. Yeva carried her baby to full term and had a healthy, beautiful baby daughter. She realized that God listened to her prayers and gave her a healthy baby even after she kept dismissing Him. She asked for forgiveness from her husband and mother-in-law. She repented, accepting Jesus as her Savior.

Yeva brought her daughter to the church for a gifting ceremony (dedication). The baby has difficulty falling asleep, and Yeva was worried that she would cry a lot. During the ceremony, the baby slept peacefully! Yeva keeps telling how amazed she is about all of the miracles in their lives from Jesus.

Now Yeva is attending church and wants to serve. She is confident that, with her skills in working with children with physical and mental disorders and the help of Jesus, she can bring hope to many individuals and their families by communicating that there is an omnipotent God who can help them, if only they will believe.

Freedom Behind Bars

Jonas is a 40-year-old Lithuanian prisoner who is currently serving the remainder of a 13-year sentence. While in prison, he found himself reflecting on his life choices. “Life was full of pain and despair. I was constantly dissatisfied, angry and irritable,” Jonas writes.

When he compared his childhood dreams against his current life situation and saw how far he was from living his dreams, Jonas wondered if there was any hope for his life. He knew that something was missing.

Recently, a friend invited Jonas to go to Bible studies held at the prison. He began to take part in all of the Christian activities, and eventually Jonas repented for his sins and received Jesus as his Lord!

“It is difficult to describe what kind of changes took place in my life. After receiving Christ, I got a new heart. I became a new person. God took my chaos and changed it into peace,” Jonas shares.

Now, his life is full of miracles. Through prayer, Bible study and fellowship with believers, Jonas’ life has been transformed from hopelessness to possibility. He looks to the future with eager anticipation. After all, if God was capable of guiding him while in prison, when life seemed most bleak, how much more will He be able to do when Jonas is out from behind bars and willing to serve his Lord?

For now, Jonas enjoys the freedom in Christ, though physically he remains behind bars.

 

*Please note that no photos are allowed inside the prison. The picture above is a stock photo from Lithuania. 

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