Darkness hung heavy in the hallways. Rooms were occupied by society’s rejected and discarded. A place that should bring hope and healing instead held the weight of oppression and shame.
As they made their way through the halls of the psychiatric hospital, Peter Yaruchyk found it difficult to focus on the words of the young pastor walking beside him. The images of mentally and physically disabled children confined to beds behind locked doors swirled around in his mind as the pastor, Sergei*, spoke.
This hospital in Central Asia housed hundreds of children and youth whose families could no longer handle their disabilities — disabilities considered by society to be a disgrace to the family.
Sergei had been coming to the hospital once a week to help the staff and feed the patients, so Peter was shocked to hear that the facility was a state institution with a strong Muslim presence. How could they open their doors to this Christian pastor?
Light’s Gentle Power
The Islamic faith places high value on acts of compassion toward others, so when Sergei began showing up at the hospital, the staff saw something different in him.
Every week, Sergei came with arms filled with items like bread, milk and soap for the patients. And every week the doors were opened to him.
The hospital workers watched him feed and care for the broken and hurting children who had long been forgotten by the outside world. And as he spoke of Christ’s love for the widows and orphans, the primarily Muslim staff found themselves stopping to listen to this message of hope and compassion. A message so contrary to that of the traditional churches of the area, who believed people needed to come to the church to receive God.
The gospel of Christ was slowly making its way through the halls of this psychiatric hospital in the middle of a Muslim nation — all because one pastor chose to step outside the walls of the church and serve the way Jesus served.
Into a dark and seemingly hopeless space, light was invited to make its home among those who needed it most.
Supporting Our Central Asia Ministry
As a Christian pastor in a closed country, Sergei brings in very little income. He and fellow pastors must rely on other means of earning to support their families and fund their continued ministry to the people of Central Asia. Some pastors raise dairy goats for their milk, a prized commodity in the region.
During his visit, Peter was able to purchase additional goats for another one of the local pastors. A seemingly simple gift was a lifeline for a him and his family.
Missions Door now has the privilege of being able to fund economic development projects through the Central Asia Outreach Fund that supports pastors and leaders, like Sergei and others, who are bringing the hope and love of Christ to the people of Central Asia.
*Name has been changed for security reasons.