It was another trip to Belarus to visit the elderly Jewish people for the holiday of Hanukkah and share God’s Word with them. After an all-night trip we arrived in Grodno, where we met with our Christian friends from the local church and divided into small groups that would visit individual Jewish homes.
I received five addresses of the people I was supposed to visit that day. On one of them I noticed a Polish name “Danuta,” which sounded weird because it’s a typical Polish name, not Belarusian or Jewish. Nevertheless, we started our visit and we left the address of Danuta for our last visit. When we arrived, a couple in their 60’s opened the door and pointed us to Danuta, but quickly mentioned that she does not speak. Danuta is 94 years old, had her leg amputated, and was sitting on her bed. As always, we greeted her in Russian, wished her a good Hanukkah, and tried to communicate with her. I noticed that she was surprised to see young people visiting her, but still she was not showing much emotion.
“In the busy world we live, it is easy to forget the true purpose that God has for every believer; to go ‘and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 28:19).
So I opened the Bible and started reading to her Psalm 121. Danuta did not seem to mind because she was smiling at times. After spending some time with her, it was time to leave. I asked my friend in Polish for the time and immediately Danuta responded in Polish, “You are from Poland?” We all were shocked, including the couple that opened the door for us (her daughter and son-in-law). Danuta, who did not speak for five years started to cry and said in Polish, “Thank you God, that You have answered my prayer before I died.” It turned out that Danuta was praying that she would meet someone from Poland before she would die. Danuta was born in Poland and during the Second World War she escaped to Eastern Europe to survive the Nazi extermination of Jewish people. That evening, we talked with Danuta for a long time. I shared the gospel with her and she prayed with us for eternal life. Praise GOD!
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One of the greatest privileges of being an international worker for The Friends of Israel is to travel to other countries and to share the gospel with unbelievers. Each time before my next trip I wonder: What did God prepare for me this time? Who will I meet? What will I learn? And most important, the joy it is to see someone trust Christ as their Savior. It’s a privilege for me, because many years ago I realized that sharing the gospel with other people is the most important thing we can do in our lives. In the busy world we live, it is easy to forget the true purpose that God has for every believer; to go “and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
The Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples more than 2,000 years ago hasn’t changed and today it remains the most important task that every believer has the privilege to fulfill. The love that’s expressed through the message of the gospel should be a guide for our focus in life. This is illustrated best in the two commands that Jesus selects from the entire Old Testament: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” But Jesus does not end here and quotes a second commandment that says: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself’’ (Matthew 22:37–39).
The first commandment should be quite natural. We should love God, our Creator and the provider of our salvation. But the internal manifestation of love is not enough. Therefore, if we truly love God, we will also follow his commands. The love we have for God needs to be shown through our actions. By loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind we will want to obey His commandments. And so, if we love God and love our neighbors it will be natural for us to obey the Great Commission. This is also the best way to experience God’s power and be a witness of amazing things.
I do not know if I will see Danuta again here on Earth, but I am thankful that through following God’s command we were able to meet and pray together. Let us therefore, preach the Good News until our Master, Jesus Christ returns again, “even to the end of the age” (Matthew. 28:20).