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Shane
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Cirrhosis

clip_image002It’s 10:00 Sunday night... Marie has just come in for a night away from the ladies rehab centre. She’s just regaled us with the stories of the last couple of days... nothing out of the ordinary for the reb centre, but definitely still entertaining.

Babushka Maria is such an encouragement to her. She is loving and wise and firm. Her mind has cleared up a lot since her early days and she’s a good influence on the newer ladies.

Yulia, (turned away from the camera), is also someone whose spiritual growth has been remarkable. She called home not long ago and her end of the conversation went something like this: “Mum... Pray, ok. There really is a God, ok, and we don’t see Him, ok, ‘cause He’s a Holy Spirit, but He does exist.” She’s learning so much about life and living for God. After church on Sunday, she was delighted that for the first time in her life she sang to someone… God.

Vika, (at the end), and her 13-year old daughter, Lera, are just about to “graduate”. They will move into a house not far from the ladies center for the winter. Vika is responsible for the home while Marie is here. She’s doing real well.

Valya is 62, (not pictured), an alcoholic, and stretching everyone’s patience. She just arrived this week and is similar to a baby in many ways. Marie keeps on pulling her up as she does one thing after another that a normal person would automatically know not to do. Can God have mercy on an uncouth 62-year old? Yup. But our expectations of her should probably be adjusted a bit from the norm.

And lastly is “new” Vika. She is a hard 34-year old alcoholic and drug addict. She got off drugs before she came to us, but couldn’t stop drinking. Her Christian boss strongly suggested she go to us and she agreed. She’s been amazed at our strict standards (no smoking, no flirting with the men, no complaining, modest dress etc. etc.) as well as our big emphasis on the Word of God. She threatened to leave today. (When someone does that, we relieve them of the misconception that they are doing us a favour by being in our centre and we encourage them to leave.) She stayed. May God soften her heart.

We have had a number of people with HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases come to us during the last couple of years. I remember a time when I knew no-one who was HIV positive. What a change the last two years has made in my life. A number of my closest friends have spent 10+ years in jail! Others have spent time living on the streets. Others have spent phenomenal amounts of money on drugs. And now they enjoy loving God alongside me. Amazing. You likely can’t appreciate what a privilege this is for me.

Just this last week, we had a fascinating thing happen. An old neighbour called and told me he needed to talk. (My heart dropped as I considered what he might need to talk about. He’s a bit of a serious character and was the former judge for our town.) I invited him up and he shared that he wanted someone from our “sect”, (as he nervously called it), to stay in his mothers old house just across the street. God had arranged for his last three renters to be bad renters and now he just wanted some renters who would pay for the gas and electricity and not make a big mess of the place. He wants to sell it, and offered it to us for a real good price, but said that if we can’t buy it, then at least we could live in it and look after it properly. We put the guys in it who have graduated from rehab and will be in “adaptation”. Thank you, Lord!

It’s now Monday and I just got back from the rehab centre. One of the men had a pretty big scare last night, (it’s pretty sure that his liver kind of packed it in – no doubt cirrhosis), and I drove him to the local hospital… where they reluctantly had a look at him. On the way, he shared that he had never met Christians before, read the Bible or thought much about God. With tears in his eyes, he mused that his 46 years would probably have been much different for him if he had come to God sooner. Pasha has now taken him to the bigger hospital about 40 minutes away.

Finances are a tricky thing for me to talk about. I am committed to trusting the Lord without begging His people for money. So when I speak about financial needs, I nervously trek through the subject, hoping that I am faithful to show deep respect to our faithful and praise-worthy God who always provides for what He wants done.

We have the van project - which will partially fund the centres, and from which we have gained about $700 in the last few weeks, (which we turned around and spent on repairs). But during the last six months, less than $1400 has come in for the general running of the two homes. We had several people generously donate to the van project. And we have three couples sponsoring the two main “volunteers”. Funds for the general expenses have been sparse though. There. You now know the situation.

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We just celebrated our church thanksgiving evening. We squeezed about 70 people into our ministry centre and enjoyed an evening of good food and fellowship. I have a friend who closes his letters with “Christ is all”. I can say that all His gifts pale into insignificance when compared to Him. And yet, I’m so grateful for peace, joy, love… and fun food. These evenings together are classic.

May you be blessed!

Daniel and Priscilla

P.S.  Sergei, of “cirrhosis fame”, became a Christian yesterday (Wednesday).  He dreamed that a voice spoke to him and said, “You’re nothing but a worm.”  He woke up and thought about it and prayed, repenting of his sin and putting his faith in Jesus.  He announced it at breakfast to the guys.  I only found out after Bible study and it explained why his whole countenance has somehow become… beautiful.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a dramatic change.