BARNAUL (RUSSIA) – We met grandmother Tanya, as she introduced herself, in the village of Sokharevo in Kosikhinski district of Altai region. The village looked weird: it seemed there’re no streets and the houses were grouped in small groups in some distance from each another. They didn’t even have a food store, not to mention a hospital or a school – there’re no kids in the village anyway. Half of the houses were abandoned, and in the rest of them elderly lonely people lived.
Grandma Tanya is 85. She lives with her husband Alexei. He had a blood-stroke and hardly walks and talks. Grandma Tanya has to take care of the household, garden and also takes care for her husband. Sometimes a nurse from a nearby town comes to see them. Grandma Tanya has children, but unfortunately they do not help in any way. Grandma Tanya shared her hard life story for a long time. When she finished, she let us pray for her husband. Though at first she said no, she felt uncomfortable, but we insisted, and she agreed. Of course we were ready to see tough conditions of people sufferings from disease, but the reality was far worse than we expected. It was hard to imagine, how it was even possible to live in such conditions. What makes someone live like this – helplessness, hopelessness, despair, alcoholism?
Alexei could hardly talk, but he agreed with us in sinners’ prayer, and then grandmother Tanya invited Jesus into her heart as well. With tears in their eyes they listened to a story how Jesus died for their sins, and through their faith they received His gift of salvation.
We were leaving Sokharevo with mixed emotions: we didn’t feel the joy we usually have after the outreach. The village left an uneasy impression. But at the same time we felt that we were exactly where we were supposed to be – where people needed our words of support, comfort and encouragement. We plan to visit this family again, to find out how grandma Tanya and her husband are doing.
New Life Church team, Barnaul