God Help Me!
By Andrew McChesney
As a small girl, Alla didn’t understand what Grandmother was doing when she knelt before icons in their home in the Soviet republic of Uzbekistan.
“I’m praying,” Grandmother said.
“Why are you praying?” Alla asked. “Who are you praying to?”
“I’m praying to the God who lives in heaven,” Grandmother said. “We need to love Him because He loves us. We need to fear Him.”
Grandmother had a crucifix of Jesus on the wall, and Alla asked who was hanging on it.
“That is Jesus, our God,” Grandmother said. “He came to Earth, and people killed Him.”
That was all that young Alla knew about God. She didn’t have much faith, but she understood that she could pray to God. So, whenever she was scared, she prayed. “God, help me,” she prayed.
The Soviet Union collapsed, and Uzbekistan became an independent country. The once-quiet streets of her town became more dangerous as drunkards and drug users came out at night. When Alla walked home at night, she prayed, “God, help me.”
Alla got married, and she had a boy and a girl. A church opened in her town, and she took her children there every Sunday. She lit candles and prayed there. But every time she left the church, she felt empty inside. Something seemed to be missing.
One day, a friend gave her a book as a gift. It was Patriarchs and Prophets. Alla had never heard of the author, Ellen White. But she was amazed at her vivid recounting of Old Testament stories. She read for the first time that the seventh day, Saturday, was God’s Sabbath. A desire grew in her to go to a church where people worshipped on the seventh-day Sabbath. But where?
Several years passed. Then an old friend, a former classmate, came to visit from another town. She told Alla that she was worshipping on Sabbath at a Seventh-day Adventist church. Alla was surprised and delighted. She wondered, “Are there really people in Uzbekistan who keep the seventh-day Sabbath?”
Her friend, who used to be an atheist, enthusiastically spoke about how she had learned about God and how she now loved Him with all her heart.
To Alla, her friend was a new person. She was nothing like she had been before. A short time later, Alla went to visit her friend, who lived four hours away by bus. She visited the Adventist church on Sabbath. She liked everything about it. But the church was too far away for her to visit every Sabbath. “God, help me,” she prayed.
Then Alla’s daughter, Violeta, got married and moved to Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent. After that, Alla’s husband died, and she moved to Tashkent to be with Violeta. She learned from her Adventist friend that there were three Adventist churches in Tashkent.
Alla and Violeta began to worship in church every Sabbath. A church member offered Bible studies, and the mother and daughter completed all 28 lessons. Alla began to think about giving her heart to Jesus in baptism. “God, help me,” she prayed.
Then the president of Zaoksky Adventist University, the church’s seminary in Russia, arrived in town for evangelistic meetings. When he made an altar call, she was the first to go forward. She and her daughter got baptized with eight other people. Today, Alla and Violeta are faithful church deaconesses. “We are glad to serve God,” Alla said. God had heard her prayers. He had helped her, and her heart was full.
Andrew McChesney is editor of Adventist Mission.
World Church Prayer Requests
September 22 - 28, 2023
- Pray for those in Libya dealing with massive flooding taking place. Pray for those currently working to find the missing and assist those who are in desperate need.
- Pray for the follow up of those who were baptized in the “Hope For Africa” evangelistic outreach with Mark Finley. Pray for those who are still making decisions for Jesus.
- Pray for Adventist church leaders who will be meeting the next couple weeks to make strategic plans for the future. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the meetings and agenda.
- Pray for those in Sudan struggling under the conflicts taking place. Pray for God to bring an end to the conflict.
- The 10/40 window is home to 236 cities of a million or more residents. Please pray for committed missionaries willing to minister to the unreached people of these cities. Pray for how you can be part of the answer to this prayer, so the work can be finished and Jesus can come.