Israel Missions

Comforting Those Who Mourn - September 2007 - Part 1

Update from Russia, 18. September 5th, 2007

YHWH Is a Shield to all those who take refuge in Him! (2 Samuel 22:31)

8/27/07, Monday: As part of the new CD I"m working on, I recorded Nahzee (the grandma I stay with) speaking, and will integrate her voice with music and put into song. She is such an amazing woman of God! I earnestly hope The Lord sends someone here someday to put her life story into book format " “ it would be a most interesting read. Nahzee was orphaned at a young age, later lost her husband and raised their four children by herself, lost her youngest son in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, and then lost her beloved granddaughter in the Bsln terrorist attack. Despite such a life of hardship, Nahzee is a smiling and laughing woman of God who clings tightly to her Savior. As she often says: on this earth, there"s nothing but deceit " “ but she hopes in her God and in Him Alone. She is the opposite of the self-focused Christianity we in the west are so subject to" ¦ you know what I mean, the "Oh, my life is so bad"  pity party we often hold for ourselves. Nahzee of course isn"t perfect, but I"m amazed at the strength of her faith: that after all she"s been through, she still loves Jesus, and puts none of the blame upon Him.

8/28/07, Tuesday: A difficult day for Nahzee and her family: had her granddaughter (Sofia) not been killed in the school massacre, she would have turned 17 today.

8/29/07, Wednesday: Went to AM fellowship; afterwards, I had the Russian F.Bee.i interrogation which I notified you about and then asked for your prayers.

8/30/07, Thursday: Visited Mairbek (photo attached), the 11 year old boy who survived the terrorist attack, but lost his mother there. I gave him some things for school " “ some notebooks and things with pictures of famous soccer athletes on their covers. Mairbek was so happy, the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and he hugged me twice and said, " ˜Take me to America!’ He learned John 3:16 in Russian at a Christian summer camp, and he recited it to me. From time to time I think about what I’m doing here, and wonder about the fruit that is or is not being produced: for no one has given their hearts to The Lord, and so forth. But Mairbek said something today which, though it be very small, was a real encouragement to me. When talking about the future, I often say, " ˜with God’s help,’ and then mention future plans or what-have-you. Anyways, as he was talking with me today, Mairbek used that same phrase that he’s often heard from me. It was an affirmation that, as I’ve also seen with him in the past, he picks up on things and then puts them into his own life. I’m not claiming some big personal victory or anything " “ but hearing him use that phrase reminded me that in particular, I believe it’s the youth of Bsln that are perhaps being impacted the most through this ministry in which you share. They are youth today but, should The Lord tarry, they will be the adults of Bsln tomorrow. That is why, with the help of God and for His glory, I want to continue sharing my music especially with these youth, and introduce them to truth and to the ways of The Lord. " ¦Later in the evening, God blessed me to have a very great visit Mairbek’s cousins. Their two youngest boys, fraternal twins, were also hostages during the Bsln terrorist attack; tragically, only one of the twins survived. The mom, Zina, referred back to the terrorist attack a few times" ¦ tears still fill her eyes.

9/1/07, Saturday: First day of the 3rd year anniversary of the terrorist attack. Went w/ Nahzee in the morning to School No. 1, the school the terrorists attacked, and we walked together through the gym " “ the gym where her beloved granddaughter was held hostage for three days before being killed. In the school yard we saw and greeted Raiya and her daughter, Madina: Madina and all four of her siblings were also held hostage, but only Madina survived.

9/2/07, Sunday: AM fellowship. Nahzee later told me how she and her son-in-law had a confrontation yesterday. Her son-in-law (Vladimir, who’s not a believer) blames Nahzee for being at least partly responsible for his daughter Sofia’s death; had Sofia not lived with Nahzee here in Bsln, she would not have been killed in the terrorist attack. Yesterday he told Nahzee that the Baptist Church across the street, a well as Nahzee’s house, are tied in with witchcraft. Nahzee was supposed to watch their new baby daughter this morning, but when Vladimir heard that Nahzee had planned to sit with the baby in the church’s nursery during the service, he erupted, saying something like, " ˜Wasn’t it enough for me to lose one daughter that you would also take my second daughter there?’ He told Nahzee that her house was a house of witchcraft, and that she was a woman of witchcraft, and that she wasn’t welcome in their house. Obviously, this was tremendously painful for Nahzee to hear and to bear. " ¦In the evening visited with Aslan, a teenage boy who survived the terrorist attack. " ¦Then went and visited Alla and her family " “ she lost her younger son, Timur, in the school massacre.

9/3/07, Monday: This morning a received a very encouraging text message on my cell from my brother and friend here, Batik. He wrote, " ˜1 Corin. 15:58. Jesus loves you! We need you, brother."  This really blessed me, because these past few days have been really difficult for me. Beginning last Wednesday with the Russian F.Bee.i’s questioning and threatening me, there’s just been a number of things " “ though some quite small " “ that have been going on and really weighing down on me. Fearing and worrying about what their F.Bee.i might do, having several days of stomach sickness from something I ate here, and so forth " “ like the expression goes, "When it rains, it pours."  We in ministry have the same struggles that " ˜normal’ people do" ¦ we get frustrated, sick, offended, scared, and the like; and that’s why Batik’s short text message was like a breath of fresh air to me. Remember those in your city who serve in the ministry" ¦ you have no idea how much a simple card or phone call may bless and encourage them. And in my time in His Word, Yah greatly encouraged me with a Beautiful Verse of Scripture " “ check out 2 Samuel 22:31! And to remind myself, I wrote " ˜He Is my Shield’ in Russian on my cell phone’s display screen. " ¦Went with Nahzee to the cemetery after lunch, and I was there with her for around three hours. This new cemetery, specifically for those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack, is quite different than any other that I’ve ever seen. Beside each grave, there is a small table for the mourners to sit at " “ many family members come to this cemetery every day, and parents sit for hours next to the graves of their children. I saw many families that I know, and briefly greeted and talked with them " “ a hug or handshake, letting them know you saw and love and remember them, but not wanting to try and hold some sort of everyday conversation due to the solemn and grieving atmosphere. One of the saddest things to see was the families of two of my believing neighbors in the presence of their six children’s graves. The grandfather, Felix, sat in quietness in front of his six grandchildren’s graves, which are side-by-side; as a sign of mourning, Felix had not shaven. Behind him stood his two sons (both Baptist pastors), Taimuraz and Sergei " “ Taimuraz lost four of his five children in the school massacre, and Sergei lost two of his six. Around these two brothers stood their wives, Raiya and Byella, their remaining children, and their relatives. May The Father of Mercies and God of all Comfort strengthen, uphold, support, and grant His peace to these dear families who love Him and continue to serve Him. " “ Because of the intense heat and sun beating down upon us there in the cemetery, I nearly threw up, as well as almost fainted. After leaving, I saw a grandmother that I know as I neared the house where I stay. We talked a little, and she (Zina) mentioned how she wouldn’t have made I thus far had it not been for The Lord. Zina is a believer, and her daughter and grandson were killed in the attack; her daughter had been a Sunday School teacher at the church across the street from Nahzee’s house. " ¦Later in the evening I went to visit Madina (my student who lost her younger brother in the attack. Over dinner, her dad (Alan) told me how some muslims came to the cemetery and how this upsets many of the families there; obviously, since after all, what religion came to Bsln and executed the terrorist attack? His wife, Zalina, added that many don’t like the Russian Orthodox priests there either. Alan said something like, " ˜They don’t do anything " “ but you’re helping, you’re teaching my daughter English.’ This was another encouragement to me, and it was a confirmation of a thought that had earlier occurred to me: we can’t change Bsln’s past, but we can change Bsln’s future.

9/4/07, Tuesday: In the morning, Nahzee and I went to the local Russian F.Bee.i department, since we’d been instructed to do so. We were hoping to make sure everything was fine with them, and it appears everything will be okay, but their response was rather interesting. Nahzee asked to see their main agent; he wasn’t there, but we spoke with an agent who was at least higher up than the two we had previously spoken with. This agent’s basic reaction was a rude, " ˜Why did you come here today?’ sort of attitude. We explained we were told to and so forth, but he was like, " ˜There’s nothing wrong " “ go home.’ I explained that I just wanted to make sure everything was fine, and also told how the other agent had threatened me. This guy asked if that agent had broken my leg or done something physical, to which I answered " ˜no’ " “ and his response was basically, " ˜Then there’s nothing to mention.’ J His biggest concern was that we don’t tell others about this situation. Thank You, O Yah, for Your favor, and for hearing the prayers of Your many people who prayed on my behalf! Thanks to all you who prayed as well! " ¦Later that morning, Nahzee’s friend Yahterra stopped by. She is a believer, and she shared how her mom (Maria) is 100 years old, and is a believer who greatly praises Christ. Yahterra testified as well, that all of her own children are believers too. Please pray for Maria, who’s in the hospital. Ask God to bless and heal her, and to reward her for her faithful devotion to Jesus! " ¦I also saw my friend Batik’s mom, and told her how the F.Bee.i meeting went well. Batik later sent me a text message congratulating me, and very " ˜coincidentally’ wrote that God Is my Shield, just as 2 Samuel 22:31 says, and just as I had written on my cell phone’s display screen. The Lord Is Good indeed!

Please pray for:

  • No further problems with the Russian F.Bee.i;
  • The Lord’s blessing on, and healing for, Maria, the 100 year old sister in the hospital;
  • Vladimir, Nahzee’s son-in-law, to surrender to Jesus;
  • The new CD which I’ve almost finished recording.

As always, a very warm and sincere thank you to the many of you who pray for and support this ministry! On the third year anniversary of the terrorist attack, The Lord used us in this small town to be a light and to help comfort others. We cannot change Bsln’s past, but with the help of God, we can change Bsln’s future. Let’s do it!

All glory be to our Amazing God and Friend!

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YHWH Is a Shield to all those who take refuge in Him! (2 Samuel 22:31)