Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A Compassion Too Rarely Seen In America

Our trip to Pavlovo on Sunday was most edifying to me because I saw in the three women there -- Ghalina, Nadia and Valentina (still not sure of all the spellings, but I hope to get that straight by the time I get home) -- an abiding compassion for each other I have rarely seen in America, even among Christians. I have seen the same close bond in Christ among others here. Whatever faults the Christians in Russia may have, a lack a love for the brotherhood certainly does not appear to be among them.

I already had a high opinion of the three sisters in Pavlovo based on the reports we have received in recent months from Masha. She speaks often of their dedication to God's Word, and now I have seen it firsthand.

I was particularly touched Sunday by the scene of Nadia gently rubbing Valentina's back during Tom's sermon. I noticed during the service that Valentina was emotional, and I asked Tom about her circumstances on the bus ride home. In conversation just before the service, Valentina had mentioned that too many Russians fill themselves with wine, and seeing the effects of that lifestyle makes the few Christians in Pavlovo all the more determined to focus on filling their lives by focusing on God. I told Valentina that God spoke of just such a contrast in Ephesians, where he encouraged the brethren not to be filled with wine but with the Spirit.

I did not realize until later, when I spoke to Tom, that Valentina was not speaking so much in the abstract as she was about her own life. Tom said Valentina's husband is a heavy drinker. He also deprives his wife of access to much of the money in the household, and he is unkind and uncaring to his wife in many other ways. She also has a 25-year-old son who is not a Christian. Valentina has a hard life, and her soul is tortured much of the time. That is why she cried during the services, which apparently is a fairly common occurrence.

Valentina, Nadia and Ghalina have been friends for many years, even before they became Christians, so she has a good network of support. But based on what Tom told me on the way home, she also appears to be spiritually weak at times. She talks often of leaving her husband. She does not understand why God would want a good woman to stay with such a bad man. I don't think I or anyone else really understands that, either, but it sounds like the brethren in Nizhny who travel to Pavlovo have done a good job of talking to Valentina about what the Bible teaches on the lifelong commitment of the marital bond, through good and bad.

Please pray for her and for those who seek to encourage her.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoying your posts so much... even if the grammar is hit and miss! Perhaps if Jeff would take close-up/individual pictures of the people you write about, we could put names and faces together. I feel like I know a few of these people now!

9:36 PM  
Blogger Libby said...

Oops... sorry, I am "anonymous".

9:37 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hi Danny and Jeff, sure enjoying your comments and observations. David said at bible study this evening that you all posted some pictures--what is the link address?


5:49 AM  
Blogger Rick & Peg said...

Danny and Jeff:

I was reminded of these two passages as encouragement to Valentina. I included Romans 8:31-39 but also 2 Tim 3:10-17.

Romans 8:31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; 34 who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Just some thoughts...being able to communicate about these things is a blessing.

Take care...I will be thinking of all of you and you are heavy in my prayers.

In Him,


6:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home