A Warm Hearth
The evening after our visit to the senior center, we drove to the village of Noginsk, where we met Pastor Alexy who serves at the first Prayer House that Bible Mission built in western Russia. Through a ministry called the “Warm Hearth”, they began caring for the children at risk living in severe poverty in the town. It was a place where they could come to receive a meal, stay warm, and experience God’s love through the volunteers at the church.
The ministry grew and continues to serve and disciple youth today many of which have grown up through the Bible Mission Sponsorship program.
Pastor Alexey invited us to make two home visits with him that evening to deliver some supplies for a couple of the families the Prayer House and Bible Mission are helping care for.
We drove a little way to another concrete apartment building and climbed the five narrow flights up to the top floor where Marina, a single mom, is raising four children by herself. Three of them are part of the sponsorship program. Victoria, Kirill, and Kira greeted us with joy and were eager to show us the Christmas box they had finished assembling. Marina asked us to please pray for continued health this season.
The very last home visit we made took us to the tiny one-room apartment of Svetlana and her son Maxim. Svetlana’s story is heartbreaking but all too common in Russia.
Her husband died leaving at the mercy of her in-laws who claimed ownership of her house and evicted her and her two sons. With nowhere to turn she struggled to care for them and eventually found work in a factory, but it wasn’t enough. Her eldest son made some ill choices and was sent to prison. When things seemed at their lowest, the church of Noginsk and Pastor Alexey came alongside her, and with Bible Mission helped move her and Maxim from the hostel where they had been staying, into the little apartment. They then gifted her a new washing machine to help her generate some income.
She is not in the best of health and still struggles to make ends meet and raise her son on the little income she has, but her faith is rich and, despite her destitute situation, her hope has remained strong. She reads the Bible daily and praises God through poetry.
These are just a few of the millions of amazing stories, showing how the gospel brings hope to what can seem like the bleakest of situations. Hope, that there will come a day when every tear will be wiped away.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:41
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4