“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self” Ephesians 4:22 (NIV)
Silviya is a 20-year-old woman from Bulgaria. As a Muslim, she faithfully adhered to all of her religion’s fasts and traditions. She attended mosque and wore a burka.
Then, one day, she accompanied her mother to a church service led by a church planter who was trained by Reach A Village ministry partners. Still dressed in her burka, Silviya came back a second time, this time with her husband.
Silviya and her husband were deeply touched by God’s Word. They said that in Islam they saw a lot of ritual without a sense of a free life and communion. On the other hand, in the church, they found lively fellowship and friendship.
Both Silviya and her husband repented from their sins and accepted Christ as their Savior. After a prayer with the entire congregation, Silviya threw away her burka!
Please pray for this couple as they begin their journey in the Christian faith. It will not be an easy road, especially for Silviya. Please ask for God’s protection as they face the negative responses of Muslim relatives and neighbors.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
Fourteen-year-old Hanna lives in Armenia, where she shares a home with both her family and extended relatives. The household is often plagued by worry. Hanna’s mother, the sole breadwinner in the household, does her best to care for an elderly father and an invalid husband, but often the family must go without.
Rather than normal childhood thoughts and dreams, Hanna’s mind was consumed by concerns whether there would be enough food or if they would have access to medical care if someone got sick. Hanna longed for a reprieve from the worries of her home life.
Last year, Hanna was invited to attend summer camp at the local Evangelical church. She was excited by the prospect of playing games, socializing with friends, and having somewhere new and interesting to spend time. Hanna’s mother, though skeptical of the church, agreed to let her go knowing that there would be food and fun things that she couldn’t always provide for her daughter.
“Even after the camp ended, I wanted to participate in church ministries,” Hanna tells. “My life was changed, it became full of joy.”
The more deeply she immersed herself in the Word, the easier it became for Hanna to care for ailing family members and help her mother with the household chores. As God changed her heart and renewed her mind, Hanna discovered true peace and joy, despite the many challenges of life.
“I decided to give my life to Christ and to follow Him,” Hanna shares. She hopes and prays that the rest of her family will see the profound change in her life and seek Christ. “God always hears prayers,” she states. “I pray for my family, that they also can know God.”
The peace of God rules Hanna’s heart, and she is thankful for all that He has already given her. “I thank God for all those people who help me to know God closer, who help me to have these wonderful lessons of the Bible,” she remarks. “God bless all of you!”
After almost 50 years under an oppressive dictatorship known for persecution, censorship and human rights violations, there is finally an opening for religious freedom in Myanmar. Today, there is great opportunity for the Gospel in this Southeast Asian country where nearly 90 percent of the 57 million people are Buddhist.
Like his country, Myine Yazar too has been liberated from the chains of oppression and finally found freedom and hope. For him, the key was letting go of control and trusting God to be in charge of his life.
As a successful building contractor, Myine Yazar was used to being in total control. He had become a millionaire entrepreneur with a beautiful wife and children. He should have been happy, but he wasn’t. His life lacked purpose and meaning. Myine Yazar began to turn increasingly to alcohol and drugs.
Eventually, he was diagnosed with clinical depression, but Myine Yazar refused to accept the diagnosis. When nothing he tried improved his situation, finally Myine Yazar cried out, “God, I can’t go on like this! Just tell me what to do.” Immediately, the answer came, “Give it to me, son.” So he did. Myine Yazar felt the weight lift from him.
He joined a Bible study group in his village led by a local Burmese believer who was trained, equipped with materials, and sent out by Reach A Village partners. There, Myine Yazar learned that God loved him so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for him. Myine Yazar realized that God’s love was what he had been missing all along!
As more and more Burmese believers become local champions taking the Gospel into villages all across Myanmar, people like Myine Yazar are finding love and freedom in Christ. Lives and communities are being transformed, churches are growing, and we believe that, in time, this nation will be changed!
Jesus Christ’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations” is one that is familiar to His followers. The Great Commission is a driving force for our church planters across the globe.
But David had not been trained as a church planter or Bible study leader. In fact, this young man from Bulgaria was just in the process of discipleship himself, going through Bible studies at his church. However, David did not let that stop him from obeying the Great Commission’s call.
David’s discipleship studies at the church were interrupted when he received a temporary job opportunity in Spain. He wanted to continue to know God more, so he packed the series of study booklets and Scripture materials to take along, intending to study by himself.
When he arrived in Spain, though, David found that he desperately wanted others to know the life-changing truth of God’s Word. So, he made photocopies of all of the materials and began studying the Bible with non-believers around him! A friend from David’s home church in Bulgaria hopes to come to Spain to help pastor and nurture the group, facilitating further discipleship.
As new believers soak up the truths of God’s Word and learn how to be Christ-like, to serve, to forgive, and to live daily in the presence of their Savior, more disciples are made and the Gospel continues to spread to the ends of the earth.
David’s story is a good reminder that we are all in the process of discipleship, working to know God more and align ourselves with His plan. Every day provides new opportunities to share the Gospel. We never know exactly what God has in store for us, but we must always be ready for the moment He tells us to move.