Friday, June 19, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Ivan and Natalia

(experience of Ivan and Natalia, pgs 244 & 245 of the 2008 Yearbook)

"Natalia and I moved from Ukraine to Russia in the early 1990's. In Belgorod Oblast, which had a population of almost a million and a half, there were fewer than ten publishers. There was no doubt about it - this was the place where "the harvest [was] great, but the workers [were] few." (Matthew 9:37) We had just got married and had to find work to support ourselves. However, the economic situation in the country worsened, and many people lost their jobs. In order for people to obtain basic food products, the government issued coupons, or tickets, which were distributed at the workplace. Since we had no work, we had no coupons. Hence, we had to pay a high price for food at the market. We also had housing problems and had to live at a hotel. After we had paid for a room for 20 days, almost nothing was left in our wallets. We prayed to Jehovah every day to help us find work and an inexpensive place to live. All this time, we diligently preached, searching for sincere people. The last day of our hotel stay arrived. With the money we had left, we bought a roll and a container of milk. When we went to bed that evening we again supplicated Jehovah to help us find work and a place to live because the next morning we had to vacate the room.
In the morning we were awakened by a phone call. To our suprise, the hotel administrator said that my cousin was waiting for me in the lobby. My cousin offered me some money, saying that he had recently received a good bonus and wanted to share it with me. But this was not all. A few minutes later, a brother phoned us and said that he had found an inexpensive apartment for us. Furthermore, that same day we were accepted to work as groundskeepers at a kindergarten. So in one day, our problems were solved. We had some money, a place to live, and a job. There was no doubt at all that Jehovah had heard our prayers."

(side note: "In 1991 the Memorial attendance in Belgorod was 55; a year later the number of people attending was 150. The next year 354 attended. As of 2006, the city had six congregations, and there were more than 2,200 publishers in Belgorod Oblast." - which had started out with less than 10 publishers and just them when they first moved there)