Resurrection hope for the forgotten few

In a desolate corner of Central Asia, many people succumb to disease. Innovista's leadership training helped Pastor Erlan and his team bring God's resurrection hope to the forgotten few in a remote hospital.
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‘No one, even from my own family, is visiting me. I did not have anyone supporting me, but these Christians are the only ones doing it – bringing food, clothes and blankets.’ (Jasur*, hospital patient)

In a remote corner of Central Asia lies a forgotten hospital. Situated in a once thriving desert town, the area is now a picture of desolation and decline. Dust storms and extremes of weather ravage both the landscape and the poverty-stricken population. Chronic illnesses are rife, but this hospital is serving the last few survivors of tuberculosis.

Many of those who contract the deadly disease do not have families to care for them, and are destined to spend their final days alone. Things changed when Pastor Erlan* received training from Innovista. It inspired him to bring resurrection hope to these forgotten few who live under the shadow of death.

Leadership planning

The relationship with the hospital was the practical outworking of over two years of investment in Erlan and his church. They serve in a hugely challenging context. It is one of the most closed off regions to Christianity, in an area where there are very few Christians. Innovista’s Tempo leadership course helped their team develop and implement a new mission strategy. This included sending missionaries out to a neighbouring country. Erlan said that the training ‘helped us to shape a vision to serve all 12 villages in the region’, as well as inspiring him to visit the hospital.

Hope for the hurting

The church team regularly served the patients inside as a way of sharing God’s love. Taking a leaf out of Matthew 25: 36-40, they saw themselves as serving Christ by caring for the least in society. After assessing the needs of each person, they would bring food, clothes and blankets, while also sharing the good news of Jesus. One patient who was particularly touched by their visits was Jasur, a 60-year-old farmer. He was feeling isolated and alone, as even his own family were not coming to see him. After a number of visits from Erlan's team, he decided to commit his life to Christ.

Dual danger

Sharing your faith, even when it involves caring for the most vulnerable, remains highly dangerous in this part of the world. Not only is it illegal, but Christians were severely persecuted in the region only a few years ago. Jasur, like many converts, was threatened by his own family. He had to remain in hospital for his own safety, where he had the support and friendship of the church. This and his hope for new life helped to sustain him in his final days, before he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Mixed responses

Although the doctors and nurses have a good relationship with the church and were happy to open their doors to them, someone reported the team to the authorities. When the police came to investigate, another patient, who was not a Christian, told them it was none of their business. He was hugely thankful for the way the church had served and loved him, despite his difficult past. He even refused to hand over the New Testament he had been given.

Life-giving water

Erlan’s ministry shows that by equipping a leader, you can see individual lives, as well as whole communities, changed by the hope of Jesus. The church has been encouraged by the fruits of the leadership training they received. Their team has grown, and many more people have heard about God’s resurrection hope. They continue to look for new opportunities to serve the forgotten, as they bring life-giving water to a bleak and barren desert.

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* Names have been changed for security reasons.

[Image: Wikipedia page on 'crocus' with photo by Safa Daneshvar]

About Innovista

Supporting leaders where they're needed most.

Innovista identifies, equips and develops Christian leaders working in challenging locations. Every year, we train and mentor around 1,500 leaders in Britain, Ireland, Moldova, Ukraine, Central Asia and beyond. We help leaders transform people and communities through churches, ministries and enterprises. Inspired by Jesus, we equip leaders to build a better world.