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Jesus Save Us
In the republics of the former Soviet Union, newly-found religious freedom, and the Savior's love, wait to save.
Janice Porter Hayes
I have been a freelance writer for seventeen years. I live in Utah with my husband and our four children.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
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Jesus Save Us
Janice Porter Hayes
The church was crowded and in the July heat, stifling. In front of my husband and me and our interpreter, a group of worshippers crossed themselves and bowed. From the balcony a church choir sang a hymn in Russian while the light of so many candles flickered from the front of the chapel. After years of religious repression, the people in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan seemed eager to find the Lord again.
Our visit to the Russian Orthodox church in Karagonda, Kazakhstan was but one poignant moment for my husband and me since arriving here a few days before. Another was seeing for the first time our three-year-old daughter whom we would soon adopt from one fo the city's orphanages situated not far from the church in which we now stood.
I thought of her as I studied the faces crowded around us. We'd been told that during the Soviet years, whole populations of people had been exiled to Kazakhstan. Now a virtual kaleidoscope of people called the independent republic home, among them Russians and Ukrainians, Greeks, Tatars and Germans.
Our own daughter had the beautiful olive skin and almond-shaped eyes of her Kazakh ancestors. Already I felt in her the warmth and strength of generations of her people. In my own mind I imagined her at home with us in the United States, blending with our three other children to form a kaleidoscope of our own.
As the church service continued, we moved toward a small glass counter where church souveneirs were being sold. Among the various items for sell was a simple, silver band engraven around with words written in Russian. As the service ended I showed the ring to our interpreter, asking her what the words said.
"It is a short and simple prayer," she said softly. "The ring read, 'Jesus Save Us'".
Jesus Save us. I bought the ring and slipped it on a finger. The church emptied as people shuffled out and I wondered what life held for them for the remainder of the day. I knew many went home to humble apartments to fix simple dinners over leaky gas stoves. Others would return to work, earning meager wages by sweeping the sidewalks or selling produce on noisy street corners.
I turned my new ring around on my finger, studying the words and symbols I could not read. I thought of the people of Karagonda and the millions like them whom for whatever reason, had been prevented from knowing the Savior and understanding what his life truly meant for them.
But at that moment, I felt hopeful. Here in Kazakhstan, I had found my new daughter and discovered a people who since the collapse of the Soviet Union, were once again allowed to find the Lord. And given that chance, I knew they would find him; and the Savior would save them, just as the prayer on my ring implored.
|READER'S REVIEWS (6)
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"I'm not religious so therefore didn't fancy this one, but it was short and I'd like to review as many pieces as I can get through in an hour or so. But it's beautiful. Your description is aptmospheric and even for a non worshipper it was filled with I don't know the 'holy light' or something of one who has faith. I always envy people who truly believe and believe without proof. I thought the side story of you finding your daughter was facinating and I really enjoyed reading this. It readas more of a journal entry than anything else. When I read something very often a single word come to me which best describes the piece and this time the word is 'Hope' 8/10" -- Sooz, Dalton-in-Furness, England, Cumbria.
"I found this story very touching. The descriptions of the people and places is very well done. I found myself wanting to see you "kalaidescope" for myself! Well done." -- Nancy Wreetman.
"A very well written piece documenting your fascinating journey and focusing on the message that through faith there is hope! A delightful read and my thanks to you for posting it! " -- Robert "Monte" Montesino, USA.
"I enjoyed this story as I have recently returned from Kazakhstan where I was doing work for the Peace Corp. The feeling of spiritual revival you mention is really true. People seem to be waking from a long sleep and are finding themselves again, in all ways. Bless you for writing this and for adopting your child. A great read from a great write." -- Mark DeLaHay.
"This was a beautiful story. I have been involved with a group that sends packages to orphanages in Kazakhstan for a couple of years now. A friend adopted her daughter from there too, a lot of people think she was adopted from China. Thank you for a wonderful read... " -- ruaidh, Scotland.
"A beautiful story about the blessing of hope in a world that often feels dark. I have a sister who adopted a child from Russia. She mentions many of the same things you do in this story. Thanks for writing it " -- Penny , Midway, Utah, usa.
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© 2002 Janice Porter Hayes
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