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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.  

 

God's Gracious Hand

Matthew grew up in a home in Myanmar with a father who was a Buddhist and a mother who was a Christian. His mother’s efforts to bring Christianity into their home and get her four children to attend Sunday school met with failure, for the most part. Matthew notes, “[My father] dismissed Christians as the most unreasonable people on earth, up to no good, trouble.”

When he graduated from high school, Matthew thought a lot about the important questions of life and searched for the answers in religions. He shares, “Buddhism failed to appeal to me because it spoke only of the future and had no answer for the present. Christianity offers answers concerning the present and the future, but I was greatly prejudiced against it, as it seemed to me to be a Western religion that was foreign to our culture. So, I never entered Buddhist monastery nor went to church for many years.”

Starting in March 2013, Matthew was chronically ill and suffered from headaches. “When the headaches were particularly bad, I felt the same as if something was violently squeezing my head,” Matthew explains. He went to different physicians and hospitals. The family lost their cows, their land and money paying for medical treatments, but nothing worked. “Finally, I was convinced that God was punishing me; therefore, I asked God forgiveness and another chance,” Matthew submits.

Then, in May 2015, Matthew’s mother invited a man from Reach A Village to come visit. Matthew recalls, “... he taught me about Salvation, and I accepted Jesus on that day.” When this Christian brother laid his hand on him and prayed for him, Matthew says, “I felt what seemed like electricity entering into my belly, moving up to my head where it stayed for a while, then the current left. And I noticed that I was healed!”

Matthew rejoices, “I have seen God's gracious hand at work in my life through healing. God knows how to make it all work out. That’s why I can live life in peace. God is in complete control. Today I can boldly declare that it’s not by my own strength or by my own power. It’s because Almighty God, the One who holds our future in His hands, is going before me, fighting my battles, making crooked places straight, even causing me to want to live for Him. All for God’s glory!”

Feeling Like Home

On the surface, Ilena’s life might appear the same as that of any other 11-year-old girl. The youngest in her family, Ilena lives in a village in Moldova and attends school. But Ilena’s life is anything but ordinary. She explains: “My dad doesn’t have work to earn money. He works at home looking after a big garden and our animals. My mom works abroad, and I see her seldom. I would love to spend much time with her, but I don’t know how this is possible.”

Ilena says, “To make time go by faster, I visit my grandmother in the neighboring village.” One time when she was visiting, Ilena saw a group of people walking by, headed somewhere. She asked where they were going. They replied that they were on their way to the village center where they would read an interesting book and play games. When Ilena asked if she could go too, they told her to come along, but still she was afraid she would be turned away.

When she arrived, Ilena was surprised and happy that not only was she greeted warmly, but the Christian man leading the group welcomed her by name! He even gave her the Bible study booklets the others were using. “The two hours flew by in a second,” Ilena declared. “I learned beautiful songs, verses and games. I learned verses from the Bible and also that Jesus loves all people. I am so happy that Jesus loves children also!”

Ilena shares, “I love to go to church now, where people are nice to me and other kids. Sometimes we eat lunch together in church. This is like at home, and the food is like mama’s food. I love it!”

At the church, the children learn songs and Bible verses and take turns presenting them to the adults during worship services. “When I loudly presented my Bible verse in church the first time, I felt that I am useful to God and people. All of a sudden I felt great!” Ilena recalls. “I said, ‘Jesus, come into my heart.’”

Now Ilena prays that her mother and father would also start believing in the living Jesus. She adds, “I also want to bring my friend, Tolik, to our studies and games. Jesus loves him too.”

Triumph Over Tragedy

Death, poverty and tragedy ravaged Tatyana’s life. Her difficulties began when her husband passed away, leaving her a widow with four children at the age of 27. Family members came for his wake. While the adults were gone, the children stayed home with Tatyana’s brother. A fire broke out. Thankfully, no one was physically hurt, but their house was destroyed.

Grappling with the grief over her husband’s death as well as the loss of their home, Tatyana was completely devastated. She shares, “I felt like I was the worst of sinners and wanted to disappear from all these troubles. So, I lived my life with a bottle in my hand and tears in my eyes.”

A few years later, Tatyana married again and had another child. There was constant fighting and unrest in the marriage. Further trouble struck when heavy rains flooded their house, and Tatyana lost her home for a second time. The family found housing in a small apartment that had no heat. Since it was so cold, they resorted to stealing heating in order to keep themselves and their children warm.

One day, the light went out and Tatyana’s husband went to fix it. In the darkness, he touched the wires and was electrocuted. He screamed, fell, and died that day. Tatyana was left alone once again with five children and a broken heart, convinced that there was no God.

A friend gave Tatyana a Bible to read. When she reached the New Testament, she had tears in her eyes. Tatyana recalls, “I started to attend the services of an evangelical church. When the altar call was given at the end of one service, I felt embarrassed because of my tattered shoes to go forward, kneel and repent. When I came home, I regretted that I didn’t do it, yet the Holy Spirit kept working in my heart. For a few nights in a row, I couldn’t sleep. One night, I had a dream of two men in white standing in my room telling me something.”

Tatyana notes, “Since I couldn’t find any peace, I went to visit my father in his village. But God continued to look for me. It was there my life changed. Church planters from a neighboring village, where they have a church, came and visited me to preach of God’s grace.

“When I heard the Word of God from these men, I accepted the Lord and invited Him into my heart. And He illuminated my whole life with His light! Today, five years later, together with my five children, we still serve the Lord with inexpressible gratitude,” Tatyana rejoices.

Shining Light

Life for many Ukrainian believers has not been easy amid war and conflict. Many church planters found it difficult to carry out their work. In some areas, it was increasingly challenging for groups of Christians to meet together to worship and learn about Jesus Christ.

One church planter, Alexander, was forced to uproot himself and his family more than once to avoid harm. The family also hid their car in a protected garage, as it provided them with a way to travel to ministry locations when other means of transportation were shut down.

Bible study meetings were relocated to different homes and apartments in order to avoid persecution. Alexander often felt that the situation was impossible. Many of the believers in his Bible study groups had evacuated the area. At his lowest point, Alexander considered giving up and discontinuing the Bible study programs that offered non- believers something greater than the harsh world enveloping them.

Alexander found encouragement in the example of one lady who had been attending a Bible study group. She had only recently become a Christian, and she was the only believer remaining when the other members of the group evacuated the village. She, herself, began to organize meetings with unbelievers who were seeking her out with their questions about faith in God.

Alexander remarked, “If this sister who is young in faith has become such a shining light in this gloom and horror of war and darkness, then how much more must I continue?!”

Despite the difficulties and dangers, Alexander and a small group of believers continued to meet together and share the love of God with others. Though they often held their Bible studies under the wailing of sirens and the sounds of explosions, many people learned to trust God.

Clinging to the light of Jesus Christ amid their dark situation, the now liberated band of believers has learned an important lesson. They serve a God who WILL NOT forsake them.

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