*From White Russia with Love
*Belarus is “White Russia” and is an Independent country belonging to former USSR. Russian is the official language of this country.

You may find it odd that I ended up in a former Soviet republic from South India. But the story of how I got here is a testament to God’s bountiful grace and His communication of purpose for me.

When I completed my school finals in 2002, I wanted to attend a medical college in India so that I could fulfill my dream since childhood of becoming a “medical missionary.”  I applied for admission to several medical colleges in India but the intense competition for seats rendered all my attempts unsuccessful.

My parents, who were missionaries themselves imbibed in me the vision of serving our Lord.  They were naturally disappointed as I did not know what to do.  They suggested that I pursue psychology instead of medicine, but I was determined to stick to medicine.  As I prayed, I got the distinct sense that the Lord wanted me to go to medical school as well.  So, I proceeded to research what other doors God could open for me to go into medicine.  It turned out that there were hundreds of options around the world. 

My dad’s friend suggested Russia.  As a mission leader, my father always encouraged young people to pursue God’s agenda and be willing to go to new places and bring others to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The will to go was certainly there, both in my parents and I. But the resources were not.  Both my parents had left their jobs in the government to serve the Lord and had adopted a simple lifestyle since 1985.  As a result, there was little money to draw from. 

My dad had the answer: “You can go,” he said.  “But, your only resource will be faith in our living Saviour.  And he will provide.”  But the question of where the money would come from remained.  We prayed to the Lord for direction. 

Shortly thereafter, one of my father’s friends said, “Brother you have followed our Lord for the past 15 years.  He will not forsake you.  There are hundreds of people who have been blessed by your ministry.  They would be willing to help if you approach them.”  It was very difficult for my dad ask for money.  Nevertheless, he managed to muster up the courage to send e-mails to about 200 friends seeking prayers and help. 

Amazing are God’s ways.  One friend sent a check (one time gift) that covered one–third of the cost for my Russian language study in Moscow.  A few more friends chipped in as well.  New Calvary Church in Chennai commissioned me as “Student Missionary,” promising me 10% of my yearly need. 

Thus, in October 2002 I boarded an aircraft for the first time in my life for Moscow.  My purpose was to become a “medical missionary” but God’s higher purpose was to make me a  “student missionary” first.

Life in a strange country was initially very difficult
.  In spite of the sub-zero temperatures, which I had to endure without proper warm clothes, God enabled me to survive and learn the difficult Russian language.

I then went to St. Petersburg for medical school.  However, shortly after I joined things went sour: the faculty went on strike over low salaries. Mismanagement of the school was widely reported in several newspapers, on the radio and on television.  Many students began to leave the institution and join other ones. I also sought the Lord to lead me to a better place. 

God then lead me to a medical school in Vitebsk, Belarus. Here God was at work even before I had arrived.  There were a few Christian believers in the medical school who were wondering how they could gather and worship the Lord together.  Though they met frequently, they lacked organization and leadership.  I shared some ideas on how we could worship together.

A vibrant community of fellowship began to form. One student volunteered to provide his room for our regular gatherings.  Every Sunday a group of twenty men and women gather for worship. Students speak several languages like: English, Tamil, Russian, Ghanaian, Marathi,  and Hindi.  A seven member choir team with two guitarists leads the worship. Songs and choruses are translated from one language to the other.  Five students take turns to share the Word of God.  We have choir practice, women’s fellowship, and men’s fellowship during weekdays.  Once a month we do a room-to-room ministry.  Christmas and Easter are special occasions during which we engage in further outreach.  During Christmas we blessed over 250 students with small gifts.  Even students who aren’t Christian have expressed interest in joining the fellowship group. We have also started a small library with over 50 books that students can borrow to learn more and grow spiritually. 

Balancing my studies and leading a ministry is a tough task.  But God has provided me His abundant grace to cope. My finances are also a struggle.  Though I need US $6,000 a year only $2,000 comes regularly.  I have to trust the Lord for the rest.  Sometimes it is an anxious and long wait.  But God has faithfully provided for me for all these years and would provide for the remaining three year before I complete medical school. So far, my time in Belarus has reminded me how God’s will for our lives is always better than even the best we can hope or imagine for ourselves.