Getting to Know The Persecuted Church Part 3

Once again, the blog community has surprised me. Blessed me. Left me feeling overwhelmed, but not alone.

Never alone.

I didn’t know I would meet a family of refugees (Part I) from The Persecuted Church at the local swimming pool. I never planned to eat dinner with them and listen to their amazing story of survival (Part 2). Part 4 is here.

Thank you. Thank you for your comments, your emails, your suggestions, your invitations to have this family come speak at your church and mostly, your prayers for them. They are not in vain.

A few days ago, Igor and Katerina called and invited us to their home. They wanted to serve us Russian food and fellowship more.

You cannot imagine my excitement as I put away the spaghetti noodles.

I told my kids what we were going to do and explained that they had to like the food, or at least pretend to like it. I knew this couple would give us their best and I wanted our response to be great.

Only one word describes the look on their faces as they greeted us at the door of their modest, rented home: pride.

“Look what God has given us. He has blessed us with this and this…” Igor said as he pointed out the sofa, dining table in their simple, beautiful home.

We arranged ourselves around the table and joined hands to pray. The food on the table was colorful and it smelled wonderful. Igor explained that the main dish, called Plov, was a meal only served for celebrations. Tradition states that only the men of Uzbekistan are allowed to prepare the delicious meal of rice and meat. (I knew Katerina had been cooking all day, but so had Igor. They were giving us their best and I felt very unworthy).
It was delicious and my kids ate every bite! There was also a cucumber-tomato salad that was incredible and it was accompanied by an eggplant appetizer. Just between us, I could have seriously devoured the whole eggplant dish, because yummy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Katerina was kind enough to translate and share these recipes:

Appetizer:
1 eggplant
2-3 tomato
1-2 pieces of garlic
>2-3 tbl. spoon of mayonnaise
some green onion
loaf of french bread

Slice eggplant like a wheel. Sprinkle salt and fry in oil in frying pan. Lay eggplant out on paper towel.
Sauce:
In small bowl put mayonnaise, add pressed garlic, add some black pepper. Mix everything.
Put sauce on eggplant, then put tomatoes on top of eggplants. Sprinkle salt and green onion. And place on piece of bread.

Salad:

3 tomatoes
1 cucumber
green onion
green cilantro
<
span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(102, 51, 0);">olive oil
black pepper,salt
lotus flower (asian section of grocery store) I think this is the secret that makes it taste so good!

Cut tomatoes and cucumber in salad bowl. Then small chop green onion and cilantr o. Add olive oil, black pepper, salt and lotus flower. Mix all ingredients.

The Strawberry Shortcake I brought paled in comparison to the ‘Nest of Birds’ cookies Katerina brought to the table, served with Russian hot tea. And my kids, yeah, it was embarrassing how many cookies they ate. In her broken English, she explained how to make these incredible cookies, but she lost me after the 14th step which involved thinly rolling the dough. Ya’ll know cooking is not my gift. an>

After dinner, we sat around and talked. We learned more of their story and about their current ministry to the former Soviet Union and how they use the avenue of sports to reach people for Christ. If you can read Russian, you will enjoy their website, if not, you will think that it is pretty, like me.

I’m still very deep.

Before we left, my hubby asked if they had any immediate needs. I know this was hard for them to answer. They feel so blessed by what God has done for them. “We have everything we need,” they replied.

My hubby pressed further.
“Well. We could use another pair of shoes. We have only sports shoes,” Igor said as he pointed to his tennis shoes.

And Katerina, hesitated and said something to her husband in Russian, “Katerina, would love to have curtains some day, but it is not a priority,” he said has he pointed to the uncovered window.

I looked around at their modest dwelling. I couldn’t help but notice a 5 gallon bucket serving as their trash can and that they shared one English Bible between them. Their 4 and 2 year olds were happy with their small collection of toys and they considered one pair of shoes, enough.

And they felt rich, like kings.

And thinking of the hours I had spent decorating my own home and my closet full of shoes, I felt like a pauper.
n>


So, yes they have needs, but I don’t think they are huge priorities for them. They have raised 17% of their budget for next year. And while I would be freaking out with worry, Igor shook his head and said, “We don’t worry about that. We just do exactly what God wants us to do. Look at the miracles He has provided all ready.”

I asked Igor to prepare a list of needs that we as a blogging community could meet and I hope to share them with you soon.


In the meantime, I opened a Paypal account for them. If you would like to donate $1 or $100, please let God lead you. If you or your church would like to support this beautiful family every month, please email me directly and I will give you more information.

100% of the donations will go directly to this family!

I found out that today is Katerina’s birthday. I can’t wait to take her shopping for new curtains!
*Update* Thank you for the donations today: $117.00!  The amount you donated will appear to be ‘unclaimed’ until the account is verified which I’m told takes about a week.


Comments

  1. 2

    Mrs. Querido says

    What a lesson in being content in any and every situation! We get so caught up on keeping up with the Jones’s that we forget about what truly matters..

  2. 6

    says

    Wow, that is some story. Thanks so much for sharing it. Their beliefs and how they live sure do make me stop and think about my priorities. Perhaps its time to recheck a few.

  3. 9

    says

    I have a friends who are missionaries in russia. They are Americans with the PCA church. MAybe we could link them up. That was such a tender story. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 10

    says

    It is so hard for us to even comprehend how very rich we are and how much we take it all for granted. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for all that God has blessed us with. This couple is so beautiful!

  5. 11

    says

    years ago when I was a single mom putting myself through college, a family from russia moved in next door. These were not nice duplexes..but affordable living for struggling families. A church sponsered them and brought them to the states. I remember them inviting us to dinner and the beautiful elaborate cakelike dessert. the parents didnt’ speak english..and tried desperately to get me to speak a few words in russian.
    I am so glad that you have this opportunity to be part of their life. God will bless both of your families.

  6. 12

    Anonymous says

    Thank You so much for sharing this with us! I can’t even imagine having the “need” for so much and wanting so little. Enjoy shopping for curtains!
    This family will be in my prayers!

  7. 13

    says

    Wow…speechless! God has put you together for a reason. It’s so much fun to be able to bless other. I pray that God will allow you and your family to meet their family needs and that God will use both families to reach more families for Christ.

  8. 16

    says

    Thank you for the two-fold reminder–to be immensely thankful for our many blessings, and to pray for the persecuted church. All good, thanks so much for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Cindy

  9. 18

    laytonfamily says

    I look around my beautiful 2,000sqft home and all I can see are the things I want next – new sofa, hardwood floors. WOW – I am humbled by their gratefulness and thank you for reaching out to them! I wish I lived in TX today and could go curtain shopping too! Thanks for sharing!

  10. 20

    says

    I’ve been sharing this story with my children to reinforce how blessed we are in this country…free to worship, speak (pretty much) as we please, and share our faith with others. Thank you for sharing this amazing family with us.

  11. 21

    says

    Oh this just brings tears to my eyes. How simple they live, how large their hearts are and how little they want or need. And then you touched my heart by taking her shopping for curtains for her birthday. I assure you she has never had a birthday like that. Isn’t it just so neat how God brought the two of you together. She needed you and you needed her, the beginning of a new relationship that I see having so much impact on this world.

  12. 22

    says

    Oh.My.Goodness. Typing thru tears … praise the Lord you SAW an opportunity to minister and ACTED!! Even though it took you out of your comfort zone. Even though it took YOUR FAMILY out of their comfort zone.

    You are a huge inspiration … and very convicting …

    Praying here in MI … I’ll be linking to you in a blog post soon (is that okay?)

  13. 23

    says

    You have been so blessed to meet Katerina and her family. They sound like wonderful people. I, too, feel ashamed of myself for my wants. Thank you for letting us see we are more than blessed. I hope I can help this family a little.

  14. 24

    says

    Hi Kristen,

    Can you please contact me about a fundraising opportunity for this family? I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow, so if you can email me today, that would be super!! :)

    Blessings,
    Cindy

    info (at) valuesdrivenfamily (dot) com

  15. 28

    Lisa Russell says

    http://tinyurl.com/56gaav is a translation of their website. What a fantastic lesson for your children, and what an experience for you. I wonder if they even know how many people they’re influencing right now. Wow- just wow. For you to share all of this, you’re making a difference, too. Know that you are just as much of a blessing, imagine that.

  16. 30

    says

    That is SO amazing. I, too, will pray for Katerina and Igor, as well as their two little ones. My husband and I had the opportunity (pre-children) to spend two weeks in L’viv, Ukraine, teaching ESL classes as a tool for evangelism in a local church. The difference in attitude toward learning, teachers, and life in general was SO far removed from what we encounter here in the US. We would do well to follow their example in gratitude. The food…that’s another story!

  17. 32

    says

    I am part Russian and yes, some of the food is so incredible. Thank you for listening to God and opening up to this family! What amazing contentment! Such a true lesson to us.

  18. 33

    says

    For me reading about them makes me a part of this. You have no idea how much that means to me. Just reading about their struggles and their attitudes about their struggles shows me how much I truly am lacking. To trust God the way they do, depending on Him for absolutely every need. We American’s are pretty spoiled. I look forward to praying for them and helping if I can. I am anxious to hear more about them. This is one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of in a long time. Thank-you.

  19. 34

    says

    Wow! Incredible!!! We have missionaries from Bolivia and it’s amazing what little blesses them. It definitely inspires me to be less worried about material things.

    I can’t get the button to work?! HELP!!!

  20. 36

    says

    Thanks for the update on this family! Keep posting and we’ll keep reading and praying. God bless your family as you serve, learn, and grow with this family.

  21. 37

    says

    I am going to be donating soon. My grandparents were from Russia, so I feel somewhat connected to these people. Bless you for taking the time to get to know them.

  22. 39

    says

    Hi Kristen. I just wanted to let you know that I wrote up a little post and featured you, Igor, Katerina, and their family for this week’s Ministry Monday on my blog. I really hope that it helps to get the word out. Let me know if you’d like me to change anything. Thanks for such a terrific blog and for writing about something so worthwhile! Take care.

  23. 40

    says

    I’m a little behind from being on vacation but I’m back now and will link up to this post on my blog also. I’d love to add your button and have it link back to your site… do you have the text for it? I’d love to get my readers the chance to help out also.

    Thanks!

  24. 41

    says

    I know this is an old post, but I’ve been hopping around on your blog this evening and found this series. Covered me in goosebumps. So amazing, Kristen.

    Question- do you know if their website has changed? I can’t get the link to work. I have a friend who is heavily involved in Russian missions and is learning Russian. I’m planning on sending her the link to this series and wanted to send the website as well. Thank ya! ;)

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