When God Steps In-Part I of The Persecuted Church

As I shivered at the edge of the pool, I glanced at the clock.

Again.
Only 5 more minutes of Mommy & Me swim lessons.  In freezing water. 
I noticed a woman and her children sit near our things, as I bemoaned my decision to struggle with my toddler in the water for two weeks of lessons.
I live a tough life.
We toweled off and my toddler kept saying, “Hi” to the lady I had noticed.
She spoke softly and sweetly to my daughter in a language that sounded like Russian.  
“Where are you from?” I asked making conversation.
“Uzbekistan,” she answered in clipped English.
I nodded my head, as if I knew the exact location. “How long have you been in the US?”
“Eleven months,” she replied.
“Your English is very good. Did you move here for a job?
“No, how do you say, we are Christians and we faced persecution,” she answered as she patted her little boy’s head.
It was a surreal moment. Standing in the heat, watching my kids splash in the kiddie pool while talking to an escapee from the former Soviet Union. A persecuted Christian.
5 minutes from my house.
She shared some about her life. Her husband was a Pastor and arrested and later deported for his crime:  preaching the Gospel.
“Did you face violence?” I asked.
I will never forget the look that crossed her face, she nodded, and tracked her children with her eyes.
She said a hundred things in that moment without uttering a word.
We exchanged phone numbers.
On the way home from the pool, I told my older kids about the conversation.  My voice quivered as I shared her story.  
“Mom, do you remember the Sunday School lesson we had a few weeks ago on the Persecuted Church?”
Yes. 

“That was the country I prayed for,” she said excitedly.
Yes. 
I don’t know why I met her.  I don’t know if we will develop a relationship or what the future holds.
I do know that I don’t regret those swimming lessons and I am convinced that God stepped in.
Our families are meeting for dinner tonight (Friday) and I hope to share more . . . 
You can read Part Two of this story here.
Part Three to this story is here.
Part Four is here.
And, you can donate to them here:

Food for the Soul:
Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Super amazing and wonderful!!
    We love reading The Voice of the Martyrs (as much as you can love reading about persecution, but you know what I mean). It’s amazing.

    And you are not going to believe this, but a bit over a year ago I started praying about adoption for our family and Uzbekistan was where my heart kept going. But it was closed to families like ours. Anyway, don’t know why I told you that.

    I hope things go great Fri night!

  2. 7

    says

    Divine appointment is what I call that!!! Every time we start to wonder what we’re doing or why we’re in a situation, we have to quiet down and just LISTEN. God is speaking to our hearts and guiding us, even when we think we’re just going about our lives.

    He sees and hears us. Oh yes He does!!!

  3. 8

    says

    wow!! I love it! this is such a God Moment!! See who would have “thunk it” those mommy and me classes were actually a vehicle towards a God moment….a divine appointment! Very cool!

  4. 13

    says

    Beautiful story. We’ve been thinking alot about China (olympics and all) and about the persecution and lack of freedom there too. WE have so much to be thankful for, and to always remember that it may not always last.

  5. 17

    says

    I have always believed that we are put where we need to be at any given time. Sometimes we need to meet someone for just a passing moment, sometimes for an hour or two, a day, or a lifetime. You may turn out to be that woman’s angel, or, she may be yours. You just never know.

  6. 18

    says

    I can’t wait to hear about Friday night! I so needed to hear something like this right now, with all the stress that is going on in my little church right now. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. 19

    says

    That is so wonderful! We have some Christian families like that in my son’s Christian school. It’s so amazing to realize what they have been through and how very blessed we are to live here.

    It also makes you realize how precious our freedom to be Christians is and how important it is to keep it that way!

  8. 24

    Loula says

    That is amazing. The things God can do and the ways he does them aren’t always apparent till they stare you in the face. Then you see his many blessings.

    Simply,
    Loula

  9. 25

    says

    I love incidents like those that remind you how big our God is and how little the world is in comparison. What an exciting encounter! I hope you have a wonderful evening tonight and that your family can be an encouragement to them as you build this friendship! We take for granted our religious freedoms, I know I do.

    I had a friend from college who served as a missionary in Uzbekistan for awhile. I remember e-mailing her to get her contact info for Christmas cards and getting a reply that said something to the effect of, “I’m in Uzbekistan right now as a missionary.” I had no idea that country even existed or where to look for it on a map. I felt quite small.

  10. 31

    says

    Cold water vs religious persecution — sometimes we get that little wake up call that puts things into perspective.

    Beautiful post. She is lucky to have found you.

  11. 33

    says

    God always shows up in the most unusual places! We are so incredibly spoiled here in the US. We can choose from a number of churches, Bible studies, Christian schools all without any fear or danger for our lives. Thanks for the great story. Take care, Julie

  12. 34

    says

    I have chills now that is awesome. We take for granted our freedom to worship, and when we do worship sometimes, we are just going through the motions. Makes you think about your relationship with God. Are we putting him first? Would we take the chance of being arrested for our faith?

  13. 35

    Mrs. Querido says

    He orchestrates our lives so perfectly. It’s nice when you get that rare opportunity to hear the song that is being played and He lets you join in!

    Thanks for the encouragement and reminder that He is at work.

  14. 36

    tonya says

    Oh my! I stand amazed in His sweet Presence once again!

    You all will be in my prayers this evening. Have a blessed time savoring your divine appointment!

  15. 37

    says

    That was very heart touching. I hope your friendship does grow. You were both blessed by having your children take swim lessons!!! Isn’t that amazing!!!

  16. 38

    says

    That was very heart touching. I hope your friendship does grow. You were both blessed by having your children take swim lessons!!! Isn’t that amazing!!!

  17. 40

    says

    Wow, I have chills… thanks for sharing that wonderful God moment. We are truly blessed to live in a country where we can worship anytime we choose and outloud! Can’t wait to hear how it goes tonight! Prayers for all of you!
    kris

  18. 47

    says

    When you think of EVERYTHING God had to orchestrate to get the two of you there and talking, it’s simply amazing. He blows my mind all the time and this is no different. He. is. amazing. And that He cared enough to encourage your daughter in such a way that only a parent would think of. He is so sweet. Thank you for the blessing of this blog.

  19. 48

    says

    It’s so hard to believe as we sit in our free homes that all over the world people die for believing in Christ… I am so glad you met her, I am glad you are such a friendly person and that she could see that she could talk to you. I will pray for you right now that God will grow the relationship he wants out of your meeting. Happy Friday!

  20. 49

    says

    I am trying so hard not to cry like a baby right now. My husband’s family was able to leave Uzbekistan in ’90. They were able to leave because his mother’s family is Jewish. Granted they didn’t face religious persecution because his parents do not practice any kind of religion. But they were Russians living in Uzbekistan. The Uzbeks were starting to taste their independence and my husband learned to run fast and punch hard as a boy.

    Thank you for taking the time to talk to her, to invite her over. Any kind of friendship is extremely valuable to immigrants trying to start life over in a strange place with a strange new language.

  21. 51

    says

    oh my goodness..I am definitely shaving tonight..Your story gave me thousands of goosebumps…..and tears in my eyes.
    I hope all goes well tonight!!

  22. 52

    says

    oh my goodness..I am definitely shaving tonight..Your story gave me thousands of goosebumps…..and tears in my eyes.
    I hope all goes well tonight!!

  23. 65

    says

    you simply never know when God is going to use you. Being open to that is a good thing on your part.
    I hope you do become friends, that would be such a blessing!

  24. 67

    says

    Amazing! God is just amazing! I love when He shows up in crazy ways like this that make it so clear that HE is God. Can’t wait to hear more.

  25. 68

    says

    Praise God! As one who works overseas, I am thrilled with what He does “back home” to get people involved and to lift the burdens of the brother or sister that so needs it.

  26. 76

    says

    I have been a Subscriber of Voice of the Martyrs for years now and it makes you sooo humble and hungry for God! We have NO idea what persecution is like here in America. At least not compared to the what’s being done to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ in restricted nations.

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