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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Before, I Had No Life"

Sunday was another great day here in Nizhny Novgorod.

We went to church in the morning of course. Pastor Dima preached a really good and challenging message. The theme was "Social Responsibility". He asked the question, "What good is a church, and what good are we, if we ignore the needs of those around us?"

Wow, that's a good question! Cornerstone church has the right to ask, because they operate two drug rehab centers and a homeless shelter. The goal of each is to see people come to faith in Christ and then have that faith radically change their lives and reform them. We see it happen here every week.

Later in the day I took four people to the Rustai drug rehab center. While there I went to the banya with two of the brothers. As usual it is always interesting to be sitting in a log cabin steam house speaking with guys in my limited Russian. Uri, is only 3 weeks old in the Lord. He said "Ah, life is so beautiful now, everything smells better, the sky is blue, the air is clean. I love my new life". Ivan, the other brother, who is only 4 weeks old in Christ said "Before, I had no life, I was like a dead person".

It is a real joy to see these guys come to Christ and begin the path of discipleship. Karen and I brought them both to the rehab center last month. Uri was so high and sick he could hardly function. He had been an addict for over ten years. He is married and has one child. Ivan was also high and had an "I don't really need rehab" attitude. Today he will tell you how lost he really was and what being a new babe in Christ means to him.

Later that night, I brought another brother back into the city. On the ride we were talking and he told me that he remembers the day Karen and I drove him to the rehab. He said he was sick and high and really didn't want to go. As he got into our jeep another guy told him that we were Americans. He though the guy must be crazy. Now, 3 months later he is serving Christ, his life is restored. His mom is going to church and he has a new future before him.

We love being a part of the work here. Every day Karen and I tell the Lord how grateful we are to be here and to work with these young men and women. We would not trade our lives for anything. Thanks to everyone who helps us financially and who prays for us.

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