STORIES FROM PAUL H'S DESK

 

When being baptized means life and death...

This recent trip to Central Asia is still on my mind. On every single day of the journey, God was showing me things He is doing among the nations of Central Asia. In countries like Tajikistan, where per one (1) Christian believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Son of God, there are three thousand (3.000) people confessing Islam. 1 to 3.000! But God is doing great things! 

One Sunday morning, I became witness of 12 Tajiks being baptised. In this country, taking this step of faith means not only life, but death too. As I was watching the baptism and listening to testimonies of those to be baptised, I came to understand and was overwhelmed even more by all God is doing these days… 

There was this man standing and sharing about the difficulties and all the pain he had brought to his own wife - just because she had accepted Christ. Under tears, he shared how he had forced her to cut her veins or drink a cup with a poisonous drink, and how she had endured it patiently and with love. He shared how God then, through His Word and through the living testimony of his wife and other believers, had revealed Christ to him as the Son of God and his Saviour. And now the two of them - husband and wife - were just about to be baptised. What a moment to witness! 

Or, there was a father and his sons who stood up praising and thanking God not only for being baptised together, but for the father's wife and their mother who had come to watch the baptism. She works with the police and has not accepted Christ yet. 

BUT THERE WAS THIS ONE STORY WHICH STRUCK ME MOST...

Tajiks are longing for the Word of God.
Baptism at the Church in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

On the day before baptism, we had visited a small home church whose believers had just started building a Hope Center for the ministry to children from families at risk. The Hope Center is located at the very border to Afghanistan. Two sisters from this group of believers were ready to be baptised. One of them was Sofia. 20 years ago, a young Russian man had proposed to her. Her father had agreed on the condition of the young man accepting Islam, which he did. They got married and had four children. These kids started attending several programs organised by the small group of believers at the Hope Center. Through their children, Sofia heard the Gospel, and the Lord opened her heart to understand, and by faith she accepted the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as her Lord and Saviour! But when she decided to be baptised, her husband stood up to her. He said she could only be baptised if he was baptised too. The brothers of the Hope Center asked him about his relationship to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Soon they found out that he did not have a living faith in Jesus Christ and they told him he could not be baptised. To which he replied that, in this case, he would not give permission for the baptism of his wife. I heard Volodya, the responsible leader of this group of believers talk to the husband: God is stronger than you. I will pray this night. And tomorrow morning I will come and pick up your wife to take her to baptism. The husband replied: Don't even come. I won't let her go. Witnessing their conversation, I remember me thinking: it will be interesting to see what happens…
Next morning, on the day of baptism, I saw Volodya standing and sharing this testimony: he said he had not slept in the night but prayed on his knees until 4 am. Around that time, Sofia's husband had called him and said, I can't oppose it any more. Just come and take her and baptise her!

I almost cried when I witnessed Sofia being baptised. And 11 more people! Great is our God! He is acting and changing lives - even in countries where per each of these baptised people, there will be 3.000 people confessing Islam! The victory is with Him.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)

Thank you for praying for the nations of Central Asia as they are seeking to know the truth.


Please pray for those who accepted the Gospel and came to love Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Please pray that God would strengthen their faith and protect them in an Islamic world.


The victory is with God!
Thank you for your part in His work!

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