Just before we left our home in Lebanon, Ohio, to make our 5th trip here, I told Jayne that I had a sense that this trip was going to be very different than previous ones and that something would happen that would change things for us—and for many others. Little did I know that that “change” would come in the form of a revolution that would expel the present government and form a new one. That revolution reached to the government office next door to our apartment building, destroyed the grocery store where we shop, and looted the main restaurant where we eat and entertain those with whom we work. These are very small inconveniences for us as many have lost their jobs and livelihood in a country where there are so few jobs to begin with. Conflict, Confusion and Crisis best describe what is going on here and it will be sometime before we know how this will help or hurt the good people of Kyrgyzstan.
This is far from over. We get reports of various things happening even now as I write this short letter. The notes of encouragement and prayer we received—and they were many, are deeply appreciated—more than you could know. Thank you for your concern.
Our work here is on hold for now, but, we will still teach at the International University of Central Asia.I teach 3 courses and Jayne teaches 2. We love the students and they seem to have mutual love and respect for us. Our trip to Ukraine and Poland will still happen beginning a little later this month. We intend to be home the latter part of May.
Just as this was beginning, three men from our LAMB team and I were doing ministry in a men’s prison about 3 hours away from our home in Tokmok. I was once again reminded just how powerful the Gospel is to bring light and life to a dark place. The place was dark, to be sure, but there was light and life in many of the men as they shared their incredible testimonies with us.
Below are a few pictures that I took of some of the men—brothers in the Lord. Because of your gifts to us, we will be able to bless them with some much needed items that they can use to listen to Christian music, watch good videos, and make incredible items in the shop that they can give to those who visit them.
This is our first stop inside. We met and shared testimonies with these Christian brothers who are serving life sentences. They served us tea and cookies. Their testimonies were real and they were able to praise the Lord in these most difficult of circumstances.
Rather than living in cells, they lived in dormitory style rooms. The prison itself was a school when the country was a part of the Soviet Union. Now it is a prison housing about 800 inmates.
In the cafeteria, we were shown what the men eat out of. They drink their meals which is usually some kind of soup. They have no silverware. How I would have loved to bring them a treat of some kind. I saw the food. I cannot explain what it looked like. God bless them.
We met many men who spend their days working in the shops. Some sewed shoes. Some made incredible wood crafts, such as in this picture. He was so proud of his work and rightly so. They desparately need a new router and will try to get that done.
On the Way Home
On our way home, we heard about, and got caught in the confusion of the Revolution—after which so much has changed. We have to take alternate routes around the city. Many have emailed us or contacted us through facebook. Thank you for asking and thank you for caring.