Did you know that Eurasia has more women in relation to men than almost anywhere else in the world? According to world atlas.com, seven of the eight nations with the most women in comparison to men are former Soviet Union countries.
Last Sunday, I visited a house church of some wonder-ful women from the "Venetz Slavy" ministry -- "The Crown Of Glory," the lovely name the Eurasian churches have for their special ministry to older people.
All but one of these ladies have been disciples for over twenty years. The oldest, Valentina, has survived two of her three children and her husband: her daughter froze to death at age 40, her son drowned at 31. Marina has had to wear an ostomy bag since young adulthood. In order for her to attend church and be assured of avoiding any embarrassing accidents, she fasts from all food and all liquid for 24 hours before church service. For twenty years she has done this faithfully without complaining, only missing church on the rare occasions when she must be on medication which cannot be taken on an empty stomach. Tanya, who leads the group, lost her husband to alcoholism just two months ago at the age of 61.
The close friendship and affection of this group is immediately apparent.
These ladies have the reputation of great faithfulness -- they travel on buses, commuter trains, trolley cars and subway trains to come to church. They climb the four flights of stairs up to the church's meeting hall, with canes, on crutches and in leg casts, and do not complain. There is no elevator in the St. Petersburg church building -- but there are chairs strategically placed on each landing so that the older members have a place to sit and rest as they catch their breath for the next flight up.
Almost all of these ladies have family members who have wandered away from the fellowship and are not currently worshipping with us -- sisters, nephews, sons, daughters. Please pray that their loved ones will return!