I have always enjoyed detective stories; I especially like following the plot through twists and turns, and of course trying to guess how the story will end. The following true story about two sisters was as unpredictable to me as any detective story.
It began when I phoned Nadya,* who according to our database was not a believer in Jesus. She agreed to meet with me and I was surprised to discover that while she is Jewish, she watched Christian programs, sometimes attended church, and described herself as having a relationship with the Lord. I thought she would be happy to see me. But when we met, I discovered that Nadya had only agreed to talk to me because her mother attended our Shabbat meetings. After our first visit, it seemed Nadya had neither the time nor the desire to talk, so I decided simply to pray for her.
Meanwhile, Nadya’s mother, Olga* received the Lord! She told me about her second daughter, Irina,* who, unlike her sister, made no claim to a relationship with the Lord. However, Irina didn’t want to talk to me, not even over the phone. What could I do? The Word says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). All I could do was to pray and trust in God – and I also asked everyone to pray for those two sisters. I’m sorry to admit, I had little hope I would be able to reach them with the gospel.
But suddenly, everything began to change, like in a detective story. Olga fell seriously ill, was hospitalized, and of course my husband Valery and I went to visit and pray for her. When her cell phone rang, Olga was too ill to talk, so her daughter Irina had to speak with us instead. After that, Irina began calling us on her own, asking us to pray for her mother.
Olga passed away, and we knew that she was with the Lord. But what about Irina and Nadya? They were naturally feeling a great deal of stress and fear. We reached out to offer them spiritual support, and I began to see our Lord’s hand in everything. Both sisters realized that their mother’s faith could not help them, but they needed their own faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Soon, both Irina and Nadya were attending our Shabbat meetings, learning about God’s Word with great interest and doing their best not to miss a single meeting.
After one of our Bible studies Irina informed me that she wanted to affirm her trust in the Lord through baptism. I was discussing it with her to make sure she knew what she was asking when suddenly Nadya chimed in, “I also want to be baptized.” It turned out that whereas Nadya had believed for years that she had a relationship with God, she had assumed the relationship was on the basis of her Jewish background – but now she realized that reconciliation with God comes only through Jesus.
And so our story came to its finale on the Dnepr River bank, where both sisters were baptized as believers in Jesus as their mother had been. Of course they have already begun a new story, and I hope you’ll join me in praying that Nadya and Irina will be bold witnesses for Yeshua. May God use them as part of many other unexpected stories of faith.
*not their real names