Hope for the Hopeless » International Commission

Story and photos from David Gabrielyan (Russia)

Before our evening open-air outreach program in Jekabpils, Anatoly Kravchuk, pastor of a Russian-speaking Baptist church, went downtown to invite people to the service. After speaking with many people, he decided to step doAivouriswn to the riverbank, where he met a man whose appearance evidenced a rough life. Despite the chilly and windy weather, Aivouris was only wearing worn-out sports pants with a sleeveless shirt and his face showed his sorrow and hopelessness. He rejected the pastor’s invitation to the service, but later said he wanted to talk to a priest. Anatoly affirmed that he could open his heart to him and learned that his new friend was close to committing suicide. After spending several years in prison, Aivouris tried to start a new life with a clean slate. He got married, had two children and a job, but then lost everything due to an alcohol
addiction and other problems. His wife kicked him out of the house with no money and nowhere to go. Aivouris lost his will to live; he didn’t see any sense in remaining on this earth. But he accepted Anatoly’s invitation after all and attended the outreach. Shy at first, Aivouris warmed up during the program and began to smile. When the meeting was over, he prayed to accept Christ with the pastor and a member outreachof the mission team. He received his own Bible and agreed to come to the next worship service. He was also connected with a local Christian rehab center where he can find free lodging, meals, and Bible teaching. This story teaches us that our work for the Lord is always purposeful, even when we don’t see hundreds of people coming to Christ in the same place at the same time. If we are faithful to His Great Commission, our Lord Jesus Christ can save one life after another, day by day, month by month, even in a place like Latvia which has been nicknamed a “missions cemetery.”

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