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Lessons Learned from COVID

As many of you know, Zhanara and I got Covid and pneumonia. It was so bad that me and then Zhanara had to be taken to the hospital. Should we even mention that we didn’t expect that coming. I guess, nobody expects to be put in hospital for an extended period of time. I would like to share some of the lessons that we have learned along the way that, I hope would be helpful to you, our friends.

1. Take time to rest When you get sick, take some time to rest. When we first got sick, we didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking that it wasn’t serious. How wrong we were. It developed rather quickly to the point when high fever wouldn’t go down no matter what. That’s when I, Denis, had to be taken to the hospital.

2. Encouragement is huge On the way to the hospital, while I was in an ambulance, I hit a point when I could hardly breathe. My body was burning and I had hard time taking a breath. Let me tell you, that at that point, I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it. It was scary. When we finally made it to the hospital, my first question was, “Will I make it?” The doctor laughed at me and said, “It is too early for you to go.” I cannot tell you how relieved I was. It is amazing how soothing are the words of a doctor in time of crises. Later in the hospital, I was frequently comforted by kind words from my fellow-patients, nurses, brothers and sisters from church. Please never underestimate the power of encouragement, especially when it comes from the Word of God to the child of God in times of crises.

3. Be real with God On my second day at the hospital, I was taken to do a heart check. On the way there I felt extremely bad and almost lost consciousness. I had to wait in line for almost an hour, still don’t understand why it was so. But the story is about what God did with me during that time. I was nauseous, dizzy and almost fainted. My condition was getting worse and worse and at some point, I cried out to God, “Lord, if you want to kill me – do it now”. I was afraid of these words but these were real words addressed to the real God. No pretense, no superficial attitude. I knew that the true God is not offended by true pain and frustration. So, there it was, as Luther called it real “anfechtungen”. I believe that I acted as a real theologian then, the one who does not only describe but experiences the dealings of God on his own body and soul. Next thing that happened to me after my words were uttered was supernatural relief. Not yet in body but already in soul. It is hard to describe that experience but I knew that anything could happen to me now, I was at peace. Minutes later when I was put on bed to do my heart check, I literally fell asleep and woke up a new man. So, don’t be afraid to talk to God about your fears and frustration, He is God. Remember Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:1-33), Job (Job 10), Habakkuk (the whole book), Jesus (Mark 14:33-36). God wants us to face death with Him so that we find relief beyond death with the Author of life.

4. Church is God’s The church got united during these hard circumstances. There are two more families in church that got Covid. Brothers took over the responsibilities to preach, teach and arrange the gatherings. We are still not allowed to gather inside or outside the church building, so they arranged it once in an apartment and then in a church building, even though it’s illegal. I am so thankful for the church and their tenacity in the face of troubles and difficulties. There are even new people who come to visit our church during these tumultuous times. Please pray that God would strengthen and even enlarge the church.

Prayer requests: Please pray that: • We would be bold in sharing the Gospel with the unbelievers (here are the names of some: Timur, Bolat, Maxim, Farhad, Gleb) • God’s name would be made known through our book publishing and audio books • God would keep the unity of the church for His glory • God would raise new leaders in our church • God would bless our internship program initiative

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