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A Family Transformed by Gift of Hope

“My decision to serve Marina, her husband Sergey, and their five children rose out of my desire to be a doer and not just a listener,” shared Maria, one of our School Without Walls (SWW) students in Russia. “After realizing that there is a great need for evangelism in my community, I started praying that God would provide opportunities for me to share the gospel. And one evening, He moved me to start serving a family in my area.

“The next day, I shared this revelation with my fiancé, Rustam, and together we visited the village of Sosnovo, where I had met Marina and her family while distributing Gifts of Hope during the Christmas season. Marina told us that her family was facing very difficult conditions, as they had been living without electricity for two weeks. They had fallen behind on their payments, so their electricity was shut off, and even after they paid their bill, they couldn’t afford to have someone from the electrical company come out to reestablish their connection. Sergey works as a security guard at a café, but he doesn’t make much. Marina isn’t working so she can take care of the children, and even though she receives government assistance, it still isn’t enough to pay for everything her family needs. Right now, they live in a small wooden house with no running water.

“The first time we visited their home, Marina and the children were so excited to see us! We brought them food and spent time praying that God would provide for their needs. At first, it was hard for them to accept our prayers, but over time, we could see God working in their hearts. Rustam and I try to visit Marina’s family every weekend, and now we are reading the New Testament with them. During the past few months, we have seen God’s hand at work, and Marina even invited her friend, Tatyana, to participate in our meetings! Tatyana hasn’t been to church in two years, but she has really enjoyed talking with us about God. Right now, there aren’t any churches or home groups in Sosnovo, so we are praying that God would provide even more opportunities for us to spread the gospel.

“The most important thing I have learned during this process is that we must rely on God and obey His teachings. By ourselves, we can’t give people what they need, but the Lord is able to transform them from within. For me, not only has this experience inspired me to continue pursuing evangelism, but it has also helped me grow much closer to Rustam. It is such a blessing that we can work together to serve the Lord!”