I returned last night from a two-week trip to Eastern Europe. What a wonderful opportunity to see God at work in so many places!
During my travels, I spent two days at a care home for abandoned/abused women with children. I also spent time at a ministry that serves children/youth struggling with life-threatening diseases. Both of these ministries bring hope to “the least of these”—people who would be without hope apart from the love of Christ shown to them through His servants both through word and deed.
I’ve been personally involved with these ministries for nearly nine years. For the career staff there, the work is difficult and often discouraging, but seeing God transform lives over time is worth every minute and every ounce of energy invested
I testify to the fact that lives are indeed being changed! The difference from nine years ago, when I first met some of these folks, to now is clearly evident in their countenances, in their attitudes about themselves and others, and in the way they approach life in general. Women who were heavily burdened with shame and pain and who couldn’t look me in the eye back then are now women of the Word, able to hold down a job and care for their kids. They’re open to giving and receiving hugs. Their eyes sparkle now. What—or rather, who—has made the difference?
One morning I had the privilege of visiting with a Roma pastor. We sat in the building that’s being renovated to house a congregation of 300 men and women. If children were included in the count, this number would double. He told story after story about how God is changing the lives of Roma (gypsies) once steeped in alcoholism, gambling, and incest. Theirs is a difficult road indeed, but Jesus is breaking the chains of sin and bondage and setting them free. And the Church is growing. This is the seventh church this pastor has planted among this people group.
On Wednesday evening, a church in Slovakia asked me to speak to their women. Afterwards, two Roma women approached me and asked me to pray for one of them. “I’m pregnant with my tenth child,” said the woman—who looked no older than thirty. “My husband is an alcoholic. Would you please pray for our marriage?” She cried as I prayed through a translator, wiping her tears on her shirt sleeve.
If it weren’t for Jesus Christ and His promise to make us new creations in Him, there would be no hope for this husband to break free from alcoholism and no hope for this marriage. But Jesus Christ came to set the prisoner free and to make all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore—we pray with boldness and trust God for a miracle.
Jesus Christ is very much alive. And He’s very much at work in the lives of those who cry out to Him for help. I’ve seen proof.
I’ll return to work at a couple of these ministries in November and am hoping to take four women with me. Will you come? I’d love to introduce you to some of these people so you can see firsthand what I’m talking about.
Have a great weekend!