Simeon and his wife Sara live in a small village in Central Asia. Along with their daughter Ruth and some of the other children, they are the only believers in their village. Life is hard and during the winter electricity is available only sporadically. They have 10 children altogether, with ages ranging from 33 to 5. The eldest three are married and live with their own families. The other seven all live at home. Their 20-year-old son is unemployed, whilst 18-year-old Ruth works with her mother on a local chicken farm. The other children, except the youngest, are at school.
Simeon is a welder. In order to weld he needs electricity, but given the situation in his village electricity is available only at 5 o’clock in the morning (for three hours) and 6 o’clock in the evening (for two hours). Because of this it is difficult to provide an income for his family. Simeon has permission from a local government department to use a 30 kilowatt generator for his work, and praises God for this miracle. A generator would mean that Simeon would not be dependent on the availability of electricity. But – and this is a big but – Simeon doesn’t actually have a generator. Unfortunately he simply cannot afford to buy one.
Simeon and Sara are strong in faith, reading the Scriptures and praying daily, often before Simeon begins work at 5am. In addition, Simeon is not afraid to tell his fellow-villagers about Christ, including the local mullah. The only fellowship they have is with members of the Baptist church in the capital city about 60km (40 miles) away, where Ruth was baptized last year. If Simeon has made enough money during the week he and some of his family take a taxi to the capital for the Sunday morning service. However, the service is in Russian, not their mother tongue, and they are seldom able to attend the midweek meeting which is conducted in their own language. Leaders from the church visit them a couple of times a month, and phoning other believers is encouraging. They often feel lonely, and this link with their “local” church is a lifeline.
Is there anything else that keeps them going? Simeon says, “Thank you that you bothered with a translation of the Bible into my language. I read it every day. Even when the electricity is cut off I light a candle or a kerosene lamp and read the word of God. I am glad when my children read it. They don’t sit down to breakfast until they’ve read a little and sung praises to God.”
Simeon, Sara and Ruth are connected to other members of the body of Christ, and they have the Scriptures in their own language. That is what keeps them going.