Nina wandered the streets of Varonstov, Russia, feeling very alone. It was February 15th, the 25th anniversary of the day when Russian troops had finally pulled their troops out of Afghanistan. Nina had lost her son in that war, so for her it was a significant day.
Taking her regular afternoon walk, Nina encountered something unexpected: foreigners walking towards her. Nina received the Hope magazine.
"How did you find me?" Nina asked, "I need hope, I am all alone. Especially today."
"God found you. In fact, God is with you," the Canadians replied. "And He loves you very much."
Nina was lifted from her sorrow, and found new hope in Christ Jesus that day.
On our last day in Russia, we met Sergey trudging down the street, eyes fixed on the ground. Our warm greeting startled him, so it took him a moment to realize we wanted to talk with him.
As we got to know Sergey, we learned that he’d been in prison for over 30 years. Since being released, he'd been abandoned by his whole family, and had made the local subway station his home. People from his past were putting his life in danger, had burned his house down, and were continuing to threaten him. Sergey lamented, "I'm all alone. I sleep in the subway. I've lost everything."
We shared the gospel with Sergey and told him that God had not abandoned him. In fact, God wanted a personal relationship with him—so much so, that he sent His only Son to die for him on a cross, so that he could be forgiven for all his sins.
Sergey began to cry. "I feel something happening inside my heart." Sergey received Jesus that day. He is now our brother in Christ.
The story doesn't end there. We directed Sergey to find our ministry partner in the local subway station. Later that evening, we heard that our partner met Sergey and will be helping him get connected to the local church.
While in Vladikavkaz, Russia, we made a special visit to a retirement home where many seniors retreated as a last resort. They had no other options and no family left. They were alone—or so they thought.
We travelled for an hour down a side road, every bump and pothole reminding us of the cause, to share the Good News with these forgotten seniors who were existing without hope.
The air in the home felt heavy with a sense of defeat. A 92-year old lady named Helena attached herself to my side and would not let go the entire time. A translator told me what I could see in this lady's countenance: she was lonely and sad. She felt forgotten. She just wanted me to hold her hand.
At the sight of her, tears filled my own eyes. I clasped her hand and told her she was not alone, not forgotten. God was with her. God remembered her. God saw her in this place, and sent us to show her His love.