If One Part Suffers...

Our sister Nuria from Central Asia, through which God has caused an awakening in rejected by society gypsy camp, has a great need in our help and prayers. We changed the name for her safety, since those converted to Christ from her people group are subjected to particularly severe persecutions today.

Nuria was born in 1970, in Central Asia. Her father was an attorney, so she graduated from the university, and worked as a teacher for a while, and then landed her first job in the state security agency.

Working in this area, she even got to interrogate Christians, forcing them to renounce their beliefs. One of the powerful impressions she experienced back then, was the relentless faith of one Uzbek man. She narrates that he was praying all the time, and later said to her that he would also be praying for her. Using various forceful methods, she was coercing him to renounce his faith, but he remained unflagging. Hence, since she failed to accomplish this task, she was told by the officials to step down from the office. In turn, Nuria took issue with this decision, and went to the capital to defend her civil rights. All lawyers refused to defend her interests. But one woman, a lawyer, has invited Nuria to visit her and afterwards said to her that she knows the Advocate, who will definitely help her to deal with this issue. When Nuria came to the appointed place and time, she was very surprised! That's actually how she ended up at the worship service of the Christian church. During the preaching at the service, she anxiously expected when the lawyer would arrive. At this very church, Nuria received her first Bible as a gift. So, she stayed in the capital for almost a month, waiting for the government to thoroughly examine her papers and tackle the problem. In fact, at that time, she was reading the Word of God and listening to the sermons. Thus, through His Word, God drew her to Himself and she ended up putting her faith in Jesus Christ.

Later on, she went back home to her family. Seeing her joy, parents asked if the lawyer helped her, and she replied: “I found the Advocate who will always protect me. I believed in Jesus Christ...” Hearing this, her father flew into a rage so bad that he threw some hot tea on her, and then told her to get out of the house. Nuria’s family and relatives regarded her conversion – a huge shame.

Because of the persecutions by authorities and non-Christian religious bigots, in her country, many Christians must keep a low profile and remain clandestine. Considering this fact, she did not know how to find Christians in her hometown. Of course, she felt herself as a black sheep, since her family and friends turned away from her. For some time, the young woman had to live on the street. Eventually, she overcame the distance of couple hundred kilometers and made it to the capital. There, she found support from brothers and sisters in Christ, and began to communicate with them, learn and grow in faith.

Nuria came to know the Lord in May 2004, and in August she got baptized. Since 2005, she started her training in attempt to get a spiritual education at the Institute of Inductive Bible Studies. While studying, the sister was constantly relying on God that He would provide her with necessary funds for a trip and further training. Reading the Scriptures, Nuria came to realize that God calls her to preach the Gospel not just to her relatives, but to those who would listen to her.

She went to the Lyuli gypsies who live in a nearby village. Lyuli is one of the eastern branches of the Roma, living in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Also, they can be found in Russia and Afghanistan. The language of the Lyuli is an ethnolect of the Tajik language. They are Muslims and practice Islam, but they are not really fervent in practicing their beliefs: Many do not perform prayer, and are not very well familiar with the Koran either. Rather, they know and practice just a few prayers. In Central Asia, there are approximately 50,000 Roma, who are considered one of the lowest strata of the population.

Feeling the burden for this people group, sister Nuria turned to the elders of her church for permission to serve, and then started visiting the houses of gypsies, getting acquainted with women in that village. She helped them to manage their housekeeping, and was always taking scones or pita bread to them. Roma people are very poor as well as illiterate, and comparing to the titular nation, they hold an inferior position. As soon as she befriended with gypsies and their children, she started sharing the Gospel with them. Although, Lyuli cannot read, they are very good listeners, and can accurately convey the information to their loved ones.

The husbands of these women spend most of their time working in Russia. After returning home, Rome men noticed that their wives are different. Sister Nuria taught the women how they can get rid of the parasites, so they started bathing and wearing clean clothes, as well as their houses turned into a nice and clean places. The men were really excited to see this innovation. In addition, sister Nuria began working with the children.

Regardless of the weather conditions, either it was a fifty-degree Celsius sweltering heat, or anything else…, Nuria was always faithful to her duty coming to the village to disciple her Roma women. The very first fruits of her relentless ministry were the repentance. And, there was held first baptism of gypsy women. In regard with this monumental event, she invited the brothers from the capital. So, this is how, little by little, the church was planted. During the first four years of the gospel outreach, 12 women were baptized. Nuria, constantly cares of their souls. Likewise, she has been praying for a long time for men to come to saving faith. The time has gone by, and now children are growing up, who got to hear the Good News in the gypsy camp. Please pray for men in this small community will become our brothers.

In this country, there are about 2 million gypsies, who are considered as one of the most marginalized people group or grass-roots population. For so many times, because of the activity, Nuria was compelled to hide from the police. Oftentimes, the sister can sleep over the night at different people's places, moving from house to house, making it harder for them to discover her.

Sister Nuria mastered the language of the deaf and mute people, so that she could use an every opportunity to share Christ by means of the sign language. Sometimes, she gets to study the Bible with the deaf and mute people at six in the morning, so as not to draw too much attention from the authorities. For that same reason, the meetings with Roma women are held at nights.

Nuria is unmarried. She completely dedicated herself to the ministry. Gradually, God reconciled Nuria with her family: her father has relented and repented just before he died, her mother, brother and sister became believers, too. Because of this, her family was subjected to suffering. Their house was being watched, and there were a number of searches, she herself was summoned to the police station, where they tried to intimidate her. Her elderly mother got very devastated and upset because of these predicaments.

For a while, sister Nuria tried to work as a teacher, but since she could not remain silent and always shared with the students about Christ (in fact, they were captured by her sharing), she was laid off from work. Sister Nuria speaks Russian language well, so she tries to use all the opportunities to study the Scripture. She was pleased to come to Ukraine to be at the missionary conference. And she was always excited, when brothers from other countries, were able to visit her gypsies and share about God with them. It should be noted that for an unmarried woman, in Eastern culture, a great cultural breakthrough is, the cooperation with “Russian” brothers from the capital, and especially from another country.

The economic situation in the country now, is really complicated for many ordinary people. It is very difficult to get a job, especially for women. Some families literally induce their daughters to engage in prostitution so that they could eke out a basic living. There is still the human trafficking, as well as practice of arranged marriages and polygamy.

Nuria still requires means for living, transportation, and for the Bible classes that she conducts with the Roma children. Therefore, last year, she has planned to launch a small hairdresser shop in her city, where Christian girls would work and earn their living so that their parents would not marry them off against their will.

But God had a different plan for her, and has directed her life otherwise – in the organism of sister was discovered a serious disease. After having 2 courses of chemotherapy, Nuria’s health condition has gotten more complicated, so that now she cannot leave anywhere. She is completely impotent and feeble and has no appetite, she can only eat certain types food... the chemistry has strongly affected the kidneys and liver.

Doctors say that it is necessary to do the 3rd chemistry, and then follow-up irradiation or surgery to remove a number of organs. But, all this can be done only when Nuria is physically ready for it.

Many people are praying for sister's healing now. The same was happening during the conference. No one could remain indifferent to this need, that's why our missionary brothers from Europe have already prepared an invitation to Poland for her, so that later she could be transported to Italy for her follow-up treatment. This is the only country that provides visitors from post-Soviet countries with free treatment and the expensive drugs. One Ukrainian missionary in Naples found out from the doctors that she still has the chances for the treatment considering her diagnosis. The sister is determined to go to the treatment, and in fact, one of the local brothers took on the responsibility to help her with the documents for leaving the country. The spiritual state of Nuria is stable, she trust to God and is ready to accept any result of her earthly life.

The situation is very challenging, BUT that is impossible for doctors, is possible for God.

Please pray that we all have a clear understanding of God's will in this situation. Pray for the wisdom from Him in our attempts to help Nuria, since the sister is still very weak for a long flight.

Pray that God will meet all needs of our sister.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen the believing gypsies and the ministry that has been started will continue to grow.

Support Nuria!!!

Team of IPO Hope to People