Darlita in Armenia had a happy childhood, got married in 2005, and had two sons. Then, four years ago, her happy life was shattered when her husband died. They found out about his disease, and a month later he was gone. Because money was tight, they were not able to get the medical care he needed.
At age 28, Darlita was left to raise their two small boys alone. Her relatives promised to be there to help, but that help never materialized. Even worse, her husband’s brother forced her out of the house, insisting that without her husband, she had no business being there. “I felt like an orphan,” Darlita shares. She moved to a rented apartment with the boys, but her despair only increased as she could not find a job to earn the money to feed them.
One day, as Darlita was feeling the weight of hopelessness, a young couple knocked at her door. She knew that they were believers who had come from a neighboring village and invited them inside. “They told me about God, his miracles and love,” she says. “When they left, I felt a sense of peace.”
Darlita realized that only God was able to take away her fears. “At that moment, I felt as if a huge stone fell down off my shoulders,” she recalls. It gave her a renewed sense of hope to keep on living. “I started attending a home church group where we read God's Word and prayed. And, soon, the first miracle took place. I got a job!” she tells.
“Now, I am growing spiritually as we gather together,” Darlita continues. “I am so glad to have sisters and brothers in Christ who are always next to me to give a piece of advice, to give a hand when I need it. If there is any difficulty in my life, I become stronger in my faith and closer to God as I can realize God’s mercy and love more than ever.” Darlita still has a lot of difficulties, but she believes that she can overcome them all with the Lord Jesus beside her.
It is hard for her to raise the boys alone, as they need a father's care, but Darlita tries to bring them up according to God’s Word. She is very grateful for the children’s study materials and picture Bible to help them learn God's will through His commandments and the Bible stories. Her sons will also participate in the summer yard camps, and she will volunteer.
Darlita concludes, “I thank God for all who gave me the opportunity to know Him, to have peace through Him, and to live a godly life. May God bless you all!”
As a young adult growing up in North Macedonia, Braden saw Christianity as a set of rules listing activities that were off-limits. He was a musician who enjoyed partying, and his whole world seemed to clash with religion.
“My goal was to find the things that deliver the most satisfaction, so I dove into alcohol, pills. Then, I found the opportunity to try heroin, and I gladly took it. In the beginning, the satisfaction from heroin was good; I liked it. But as time passed on, that satisfaction was diminishing,” Braden tells. However, if he didn’t use the heroin, he would have aches and pains throughout his body.
Heroin became his life, and Braden soon realized he had become a slave to the drug. The life he thought was pure freedom began to close in on him.
“One night, a friend told me that Jesus could free me from those chains, if I make a step in faith. I accepted the challenge. I threw away the heroin that was for the next morning, and I was waiting to see what would happen. When I woke up the following morning, I had a feeling that my whole past life of drugs was just like a bad dream. I didn’t have any need for drugs,” Braden recalls. “That night I went to church, and I gave my life to Jesus!”
Complete freedom from heroin would take an entire decade though. Braden asked God to end his life. He was exhausted from battling the addiction all those years. Finally, he cried out to God for help. “Then something happened in me. Slowly I stopped using,” he shares.
Braden moved, got married and had kids. Life was still filled with many problems – unemployment, serious medical issues. “There were days when we literally didn’t have a single coin,” Braden says. “But God never left us hungry. Each problem was solved with prayer.” He has trouble describing the feeling of God’s presence, but Braden likens it to a loving hug that radiates through his entire body.
Right now, a tremendous work of God is taking place in Central Thailand. Thousands of people who have never before had a chance to hear are learning about the salvation of Jesus. New believers are being added daily. This effort is being led by a grassroots movement of Thai believers through the Free in Jesus Christ Church Association (FJCCA).
“God answers our prayers before we even pray them!” proclaims one of our church planters living in Ukraine.
War in the region has created great turmoil and upheaval. “Many ministers were forced to leave the ministry and resettle elsewhere,” the church planter tells. “Those who are willing to stay are overloaded and find it difficult to provide for their families.” The personnel shortage was growing, and at the same time, the demand for ministers seemed to increase tenfold as many are seeking God in the midst of war.
Unsure what to do, the church planters who remained began to pray that God would raise up men and women who could serve these settlements. Miraculously, many men and women have chosen to stay there and serve.
“The main difficulty is that these brothers and sisters do not have the experience or necessary knowledge to preach and teach in their communities,” the church planter shares. Again, they prayed for God to intervene. Surely if God had raised up these men and women, He would provide the training they so desperately needed.
God answered these prayers through connecting them with Reach A Village ministry partners in Ukraine. So far, 11 people have been able to attend a series of training seminars that will equip them to lead small-group Bible studies!
“God continues to faithfully answer our prayers!” the church planter says. “We pray for an end to the turmoil in this region of Ukraine, for those who are on the front lines of evangelization, and for the many non-believers who might hear the Word of God and discover Jesus.”