Deaf And Sick People
"To the poor the Gospel is preached", not only the materially poor, but those poor in spirit who perceive their urgent need for the Good News of the Kingdom and of the Lord Jesus who was our representative. For over 15 years we have occasionally reported on our work with a deaf family in Latvia, who are now all baptized. Sister Cindy is one of the few non- Latvians to have a certificate in Latvian deaf sign language, which she got to facilitate our work with them. We're now so pleased to tell you of the baptisms of another deaf married couple, ANDIS and RIMMA, he is Latvian and she is Russian, neither of them understand each others' language and so they have developed their own sign language in which they communicate with each other. They live with his parents, who are also deaf. Entering their home and to some extent their lives was rather like entering a secret garden and we felt honoured to have as it were been allowed just a little bit into their world. All prayers had to be written out in both Russian and Latvian. We have now had over 2000 views of our sign language movie outlining the basic doctrines of the Gospel. The internet has been a huge blessing for such folk.
Photo: Our new deaf brother and sister; their Bible Basics in both Latvian and Russian.
We have made a number of visits recently to a `Pansionat', a kind of care home in the deep countryside, where folk are sent, often to die. Some have terminal cancer, others have had strokes, others have cerebral palsy etc. The break up of the family under the Soviet system means that most of them have nobody who visits them. We previously distributed Bible Basics and Bibles there. Over several visits we are now pleased to report the baptisms of brothers SERGEJ, VLADIMIR, EDUARDS, ILYA, RIKHARD and OLEG; and sisters ZOYA, ILZE, OLGA, INTA,
NATASHA, TANJA, ILZE, DZILMA, NATALY, ANTONINA, IRA, VIJA, INGA and NATALIJA. Some will not live long, humanly speaking, and others live a very low quality of life. This particular facility is in a grand old building, and the brothers and sisters assemble in the library- you can see a Bible Basics on the table:
There is no spiritual care provided for them, as most churches are only interested in having members who will pay a tithe, and the place is quite remote. The staff were extremely helpful- without them we couldn't have done this. They are very touched that we bother with such people. There will be many challenges ahead of us in caring for these dear brothers and sisters. The backbone of much of our work is the distribution of literature and Bibles, and we are so grateful for those whose donations over the years have enabled us to print and distribute so much literature.
Brother Aivars came all the way from Liepaja to the Riga Bible Center to be baptized about a year ago. He also spends a lot of time in a care home out in the countryside in Western Latvia, and he too has spread the good news. He says he really feels Jesus present with him after his baptism, and he so wishes to spread the message of Hope to others there. It really is "that blessed hope". We recently visited the care home, and were deeply impressed by how our brother spreads the Gospel there. He has given a Bible with commentary to many of the patients there and has got them studying Bible Basics. We were pleased to baptize
VLADIMIR. Again, being brought low has brought him to Christ. Here is his testimony:
"My parents were Communist Party officials and my father especially very much believed in Communism. I grew up without God, and progressed through the Communist Youth League to Party status. Of course one had to avow atheism in order to be a Communist. With the collapse of the USSR and the end of Communism in Latvia, my father had a breakdown. He had totally given his life to the Party and to Marxist-Leninist doctrine. He went out one night in his overcoat pushing a wheelbarrow with heavy rocks in it, went to the Liepaja Canal, tied the stones to his arms and legs, and drowned himself in the Canal- the same Canal where many Jews were shot and pushed into in the 1940s. My mother was badly affected too by the collapse of Communism, collapsing with cancer and then dying. My wife left me, and so far as I know is now an alcoholic walking the streets looking for scrap metal to sell. I held on- somehow. But I have no family now, no relatives. I was very, very interested in God. Potentially, I would say, I was even very religious. Although I admit that to accept we had been wrong for so long, was very very hard. But the churches did not attract me. Like Lev Tolstoy I wanted Christ but not "the church". I was told by several that suicide was the unforgivable sin and my father would burn in hell for ever. Dad was not a believer at all, so it all seemed unfair to me, if he was not responsible to God. Then here in the care home, where fate and destiny and the hand of God put me, I met Aivar. He told me he had left the Pentecostal church and had been baptized by your people in Riga. I remember he went all the way to Riga to be baptized. He told me so much which made sense and which was what I wanted and needed to hear. That hell is the grave, no eternal punishment, knowledge of God makes us responsible, and most of all about Jesus. Now I read the Bible and not novels, thrillers etc. , of which there is an entire library here in the care home. I feel that really I now have Jesus in my heart. I do admit that I prefer the New Testament. In my baptismal photograph I asked to be photographed with me holding the New Testament closely to my heart because really my heart is with Jesus. I shall eagerly look forward to any and every visit that can be made to me here to explain the Bible more".
In the photos you can see our brothers with more Bibles for distribution:
Truly the Good News is going in truth to the poor in spirit, and a people being prepared for the Lord. But so many of them need a lot of support... and as we have been mentioning lately, there are some major expenses to face up to at the moment.