Alliance News Feed – Releasing the Prisoners from Darkness

by an Alliance international worker serving in the Balkans

In our first term as international workers, my husband and I moved to a new city to help with a church plant. Dasha* lived in an apartment a couple floors upstairs from the storefront space we had acquired for our services. Her kids attended our English classes, and that summer Dasha came to our first camp with them.

“Just being in a worship service for the first time made me feel like this is where I belonged,” she said.

Dasha attended our church for about a year but was afraid to commit to Jesus because she didn’t know how her husband, Abe, would react. Finally, she reached a point where she couldn’t wait any longer, so she surrendered her life to Christ and was baptized.

A Cry for Justice

Unfortunately, Abe, though somewhat accepting of her new faith, began holding tighter to his family’s tradition—the majority religion of the Middle East.

More than 20 years ago, Abe experienced unimaginable horrors at the hands of people who identified themselves as Christians. His hometown was ravaged during wartime by soldiers who claimed to follow Christ. It’s a place where you can sense the blood-soaked ground crying for justice.

Abe was taken captive twice during the war. At one point, his father was beaten so badly he couldn’t walk. Abe decided that it was time to escape. While the guards were terrorizing women in another part of the building that night, he lifted his father onto his back and started to run.

As Abe was making his way through a dense forest secured with landmines in the dark, a blinking light appeared, suspended in mid-air. It led Abe safely through the trees and disappeared as soon as he and his father reached the other side.

Soon they came to a river filled with dead bodies. As Abe waded through it with his father still on his back, he turned over every body. He thought one might be his first wife or one of his young children.

When he arrived on the other side of the river, he was back in his own country and easily made it to safety with his father. Abe was soon reunited with his wife and children, who were unharmed.

Worth Saving?

Abe is just one of many in his hometown who were traumatized by the atrocities committed by people who wrongly assumed the name of Christ. When our church started pursuing ministry outreaches to this town three hours away, Dasha was not optimistic, saying, “I don’t have any hope or vision for that area.”

However, the Lord recently started opening doors to ministry in this town with no known believers. An outreach weekend last August reached 35 women in this village. Dasha was encouraged by the participants’ comments and the way they connected.

This opened the door to more ministry among these people. This past Christmas, my team brought presents to 200 children in this town in partnership with a family of four from Alliance Bible Church in Mequon, Wisconsin.

One of the women from the city, Amara, said she found it hard to understand why we would give so much and expect nothing in return, giving me a wonderful opportunity to explain more about faith in Christ and how we show His love through our actions.

Our team is already looking into more possibilities for outreaches to this area, including a connection with teachers working with children who have special needs. We don’t know what the Lord has planned, but we are open and listening for his voice.

*Names changed

Source: Alliance News Feed – Releasing the Prisoners from Darkness

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