After driving for over two hours, I was happy to be out of the van.
We had finally arrived at the church. You know the one, The Church of St Nikolis.
St. Nikolis, The Wonder Worker.
I was stretching my legs when I heard Ludmilla, my dear friend, and partner in Humanitarian aid, speak to Helen, my interpreter. "She wants you to come around to the back of the van."
I did, she smiled and handed me a very long stick-like something with burlap around the bottom and a few tiny leaves way up at the top. She said, "Please carry this to the front yard of the church."
I've learned never to question when Ludmilla has a plan.
I took it to the appointed spot and found a hole in the ground, a big bucket of water, a bar of soap, and a towel. She had called ahead to make sure everything was perfect because that's just how she is.
Then she squared her shoulders, looked directly at me, and spoke…"You came here to my homeland, and from the moment we met, I knew that God made you understand my heart." "Then, God led your friends to make something happen that was impossible for me to do alone, right here, very near to where my Grandfather's church stood."
"My village has a church because your friends cared about the prayers of a lady so far away." "How can that be?" "It can only be God." "I have been wondering what I should do, but then I had an idea, and I told Oleg, we will go out in the woods and look for trees, and they must have beautiful flowers!"
In Belarus you don't purchase trees from a nursery, you go out to the country, find what you're looking for, and if it's on private property, ask for permission to take it. No one ever says no. They are happy to share, and there are so many trees, and these are so small.
"We will plant these trees here in front of the church…together," she said. "We are sisters, you know. I chose these trees because they are sisters from the same mother. We will always be connected, no matter what happens, and this church will always look to heaven."
I should be in Minsk right now, but my flights were canceled.
My sister is in the hospital, and I'm concerned that the facility isn't great. Her daughter tells me she's a bit better today, but only God knows what the future holds. One way or the other, there is a church in her homeland that she asked God for and that you all helped make possible.
God does some crazy amazing things, doesn't He? Two women, one from Ohio, one from the former Soviet Union, a bunch of loving Christians who felt the pull of God to help when they heard the story, and look what happened.
I'm so grateful for you and for our work in Belarus. Please know that the MSW family is praying for you and your families, especially during this difficult time. Don't hesitate to send me an email with any specific prayer requests you may have.
As you pray for the world in the upcoming days, please pray for our friend Ludmilla. We have much work that is still undone.
Blessings to you and thank you for your friendship, prayers, and support
Blessings to you~