Right now in Samara, Russia, over 50,000 people are known to be HIV infected. The battle for lives and souls rages, and the CrossRoads ministry is on the front lines. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” but against the forces that keep young people blinded to the truth. Discouragement is a temptation. The results of our 15+ years of teaching, training, praying, serving are often hidden, nebulous, or just plain invisible.
This recent letter on this very issue from Alla (my hostess and ministry partner) put a huge smile across my face. I hope it will yours. Alla says:
“I’ve been a CrossRoads coordinator for many years. It’s wonderful to watch the people who have accepted and taught the curriculum, to see their professional and spiritual growth. The spiritual component is the foundation of our curriculum; Jesus Christ is our model of righteous character.
We know that the world associates glory with power, wealth, prestige, and prominent position in society. People’s desire is to care about themselves; the thought of serving somebody else doesn’t bring delight to anybody. But Jesus associated glory specifically with service, not with social position. And we regard our CrossRoads program as service. To be able to serve, you need to have a different mind and to change your views and attitude towards life. For God, it’s not what we are occupied with that is important, but why we are doing it. Disposition of your heart means more than any achievements. Very often we forget about it and aim at achievements. Let me share a personal example:
Several years ago I invited two young men from a church, who had had CrossRoads training, to conduct lessons at school. For more than a year we taught the teenagers together, but then these guys vanished. I invited another group of young volunteers and the same happened again. There were four attempts to involve church volunteers in work with youth. And each time they disappeared after a while, leaving the work they had started. I must confess that we felt disappointment, dissatisfaction, and helplessness. We had been analyzing the reasons for a long time until God Himself revealed it to us. And it happened in a simple way.
On the 30th of March we had our regular follow-up seminar. Many young people were present, including my former volunteers! When they started speaking about their present ministry, we were at first amazed and then filled with admiration, joy, and pride for these young people. They have established their own foundations, got resources, gone to the oncological clinic as clowns to entertain the sick kids and played with them there. They have opened a small rehab centre for drug addicts. Six rehabilitants are there now. They have started free sport clubs at school for those children whose parents can’t afford to pay for these activities for their children. They also go to classrooms with presentations on different professions to help children chose the right job in future.
Now we understand that during the time we spent with our church volunteers, with Lord’s guidance, they were learning how to start their own ministry. And this ministry is more powerful and more diverse than ours! So God has shown us once again that our plans and His plans are not the same. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”(Isaiah 55:9). It helps us understand again and again a simple truth that if we lose something or something is changed in our plans, in our life –it’s what God wants.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) We thank God for His guidance. We thank you for your help in our ministry. All Glory to God!”