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Martin Luther said, “Affliction is the Christian’s theologian.” Over the past number of years Ruxi Vandici has endured multiple maladies and learned much in the furnace of affliction. And while at times her suffering has been debilitating, the character of Christ has been more and more beautifully formed in her. In her report this month, she provides a window into her student ministry:

Although this past month has been very challenging health wise, the Lord gave me wonderful encouragements with the two young women who have been seeking; reading the Bible and inquiring about salvation in the last few months. The first young woman who used to be in the Charismatic church understands the gospel deeper and deeper and now is realizing the falsehood of many teachings she has been taught. I am so glad that she is discerning one after another the lies she has believed and is replacing them with the truth of God’s Word. What strikes me the most is her complete change of attitude. I had tried to approach her with the gospel for a long time, but she seemed to be quite reluctant. But since late March her attitude started changing, and now she is so eager to know the Word of God and apply it to her life. In our most recent discussions she told me she understood that salvation was only by the sacrifice of Jesus in our place and not our own works. She said that good works spring from the true faith. She also told me that the Lord revealed to her His love for her, which is so wonderful as she had grown up in an orphanage and never felt she had belonged to anybody. She had craved to know that somebody cared for her. I am so grateful the Lord brought her to our small group at church. I pray that she will find here a spiritual family filled with genuine love and care for her.

Another young woman who has been inquiring about salvation in the last months is showing encouraging signs. She has read the four gospels and started the Old Testament, having read Genesis and almost has finish Exodus. We have discussed her questions and some important passages. In our last discussion I was able to explain the gospel to her again from Exodus 12 in the Hebrew Passover. I explained how the blood of the lamb protected the Israelites from the killing of their firstborn and how it symbolized the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, which alone can protect us from the wrath of God if we put all our trust in Him. I was so encouraged when she told me that she understood and felt like crying when I first explained these things to her. She thanked me for explaining these things to her, saying our discussions were helping her. Usually in our Greek Orthodox culture Sola Fide is the hardest doctrine to understand and accept. I have had other people tell me they could not believe the Bible teaches that salvation is not merited by good works. When I showed them passages from the Bible, they would go to the priest to ask about it and then follow what the priest said instead of the clear teaching of the Bible. That is why I am so glad that these two young women seem to understand the gospel deeper. I pray that the Lord would give them the grace to repent of their sins and trust Christ to be saved.

Along with many encouragements, there have also been discouragements in the ministry. Recently, I met again with another young woman who last summer seemed to have been converted, but unfortunately she does not give any signs of genuine conversion presently. I talked to her and, in spite of understanding the gospel, she did not truly repent and follow Christ as Lord. I expressed my sadness over this and I asked her what was hindering her. She told me she did not understand why God allowed her to go through horrific experiences as a teenager. She was raped as a teenager, her mother committed suicide and she almost lost her mind. I am sure the evil one is using these horrific experiences to keep her away from the Lord. Please pray that the Lord would reveal Himself to her as a compassionate, loving and caring God as the only One who can heal her wounds and save her soul. May the Lord give us great wisdom, love, compassion, gentleness and discernment as we share the gospel!