Trusting in God's Grace

Encouragement from our brothers in Christ

A few months ago, Slavik Radchuk (our field director for the former USSR), a Christian Aid board member and I were in Uzbekistan visiting some of the ministries that Christian Aid supports. After Uzbekistan became independent of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Muslim countries funded Islamic workers who built mosques and distributed Qurans in an attempt to gain political influence. Today, even though the country is officially secular, it is also considered the center of Islamic influence for the rest of Central Asia.

We met Sergei, the leader of one of the largest and most effective indigenous ministries in Central Asia, in the capital city of Tashkent during a graduation ceremony for Bible school students. He planned to take us to Samarkand – the capital city of the Mongo/Turkic Empire during the 14th century – where his fellow coworkers were suffering tremendous persecution. He did not have a vehicle to do this, so we helped him rent a minivan.

During the ceremony, Sergei received a call on his cell phone. It was the police. The look on his face told me that he had received distressing news. He told us that 50 people who work with his ministry in a distant location were arrested for "conducting an illegal meeting." It was a youth camp.

Sergei, determined to help his persecuted coworkers in Samarkand, told the police that he would be away for four days, and only requested that his church members be fed during that time. We prayed together.

Before we reached our destination, Sergei received a second call. It was the police again. A huge smile crossed his face. He ended the call and shouted "Alleluia, Alleluia!!" He excitedly told us that the police were keeping the leaders in custody, but were letting everyone else go free. He thanked God for His grace upon them.

Even though his leaders were going to spend four days in a squalid jail cell, Sergei rejoiced in the Lord. He found victory in a situation that, in my opinion, was still far from good.

We finally made it to Samarkand. After a church meeting where lives were saved by our Lord Jesus, we had a simple dinner with all of the workers. Sitting next to me was one of Sergei´s missionaries who I learned was fined 17 times what he earns in one year for operating an underground church of about 100 people.

Christian Aid helps scores of indigenous ministries in similar circumstances throughout the world. These missionaries trust Christ, ever willing to accept both provision and trials from the Lord´s hand.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8