Throughout my many years of ministry in various regions and to various people groups, one of the most fascinating was working among the Russian Jews. After training for a year in the Slavic Gospel Association's "Institute for Slavic Studies" in Wheaton, IL, I enjoyed participating in a wonderful program by Russian Baptists, to provide a free summer for Russian/Ukrainian children at their wonderful camp retreat in Connecticut, a few hours outside of New York City.
NYC is home to many Russians and Ukrainians and a large Russian/Ukrainian Jewish community as well. Russian parents were always happy to find a way to get their children out of the Big Apple for the summer, to enjoy life in the countryside in a happy summer camp. Our summer program for children was exciting and attracted many Russian/Ukrainian families, including over one hundred Russian Jewish children every summer.
Usually, their parents would instruct their children before coming to camp: "Sasha...Boris...GO to camp! Eat, drink, have ice cream and good time! JUST DON'T LEARN ABOUT JESUS!"
But who can stop the power of the Holy Spirit from revealing God's Son to precious children? The children WOULD learn about Jesus their Messiah while at the camp! Many would choose to spend all their ice cream money on a Bible instead of ice cream. And, as Yana did, many would experience encounters with the Living God and their Messiah Jesus that would change their lives forever.
I will never forget their names: Sasha, Lyuba, Nastya, Sveta, Olga, Vera, and many more. Their smiles and humor filled me with joy every summer, with their distinctly Slavic features that Americans often find intriguing and beautiful. I was in charge of 15 young Slavic children every summer, approximately 5 years old. They were smart, mischievous and filled with laughter. How they loved to play jokes on me!
Being an overnight camp and long term over the summer, I soon became "Big Momma" to these precious children. And when the thunderstorms broke over our camp late at night, I often found myself surrounded with little children crying, wanting to crawl into bed with me in the cabins for fear of the terrible lightening mixed with thunder overhead.
Never mind that these were narrow camp bunk beds! I found myself forced to hang precariously over the edge to accommodate several frightened little angels, crying and wanting "Momma!" But I loved working at this retreat for many summers. The Russian Jewish children and their families were very special indeed.
I will never forget one episode with these children one summer. Yana Strutin was a young Russian Jewish teen in another dormitory at the retreat. She suffered from a painful leg condition that often brought tears to her eyes and much suffering. One night, she woke up her whole dorm with her screams of pain. Her counselors finally came running up to our primary children's cabin.
"Miss Pam...please come down to our cabin and pray for Yana! She is screaming and in pain. We know you believe in God healing people...come and pray for her!" I threw on my clothes and ran down to their dorm, scrambling to not collide with a tree in the dark night.
Dozens of teens were now awake in that dorm and watching the situation unfold as Yana sobbed in pain. I scooped up Yana in my arms, held her in my lap and began to pray. All the girls were silent now as they watched, wondering what would happen. Would God answer our prayers for Yana to be freed from pain?
The prayers continued. Suddenly, something strange happened. Yana began to laugh, through tears! Her words amazed us! Yana was having an "open vision!"
"WHY...? WHY do I see JESUS? WHY do I see Him on a cross dying for ME???" None of us saw anything, only Yana. As Yana continued to watch Jesus in her vision, she then said,
"The PAIN! The pain...it is GONE! GONE! My leg DOES NOT HURT now! Jesus healed me!" The other Christian counselors and I began to realize that we had just witnessed a modern miracle. Jesus Christ has graciously reached down in response to our prayers, and had revealed Himself and His love and power to little Yana personally.
The Bible says in Isaiah, "But He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities, the punishment that brought our peace was laid upon Him, and BY HIS STRIPES (the beating He suffered for our sins) WE ARE HEALED!" As Yana gazed in this vision at the Lamb of God who suffered for us that we might receive salvation and be healed as well, SHE WAS MADE WELL.
We all began to praise and thank God for this miracle, counselors and young teens alike. Yana was laughing by now. God had visited His people once again, by His Holy Spirit and the power of the Messiah and Savior of the world, Yahshua/Jesus the Messiah.
As I held this precious Jewish child in my arms, continuing to pray, I began to think about how many years ago another woman had held her Jewish child in her arms, filled with wonder and awe at the power of the Living God.
For in her arms, she held the Light of the World, Jesus the Messiah and Savior of the WORLD! He was predestined from the foundations of the world to be the LAMB OF GOD, to bear the sins and sufferings and punishment of a world estranged from God because of sin, and to fulfill every prophecy ever given by the Jewish prophets of old regarding THEIR COMING MESSIAH.
Having experienced the Divine love the Holy Spirit filled me with, as I held these Russian Jewish children in my arms, summer after summer, I often wondered about the incredible love that Mary (Miriam) must have felt, quickened by the Holy Spirit, as she held her Jewish child in her arms...the very Son of God and personification of God's Love to the world embodied in Divine flesh.
And this Jewish Child was destined to change this fallen world...forever.
At this time of the year when many are celebrating the coming of the Light of the World unto us, Jesus the Christ and only Messiah the Jews will ever know, won't you also open your heart to this wonderful healing and saving Son of God and receive HIS gift to YOU, that of ETERNAL LIFE and forgiveness of your sins?
The true celebration of the Son of God and Promised Messiah coming into this dark world has nothing to do with what has evolved into "commercialized Christmas." It is not about trees that die, gaudy tinsel, gifts that can break and are soon forgotten to gather dust. It is all about SALVATION and GOD'S GIFT TO MANKIND! God's eternal gift is far greater!
IF YOU need love and compassion, healing for body and mind, answers to prayer and peace in your life today, the promised Prince of Peace is prepared to reach into your life and to bring the miracles you need in your life today. And the gift of God is FREE to all who ask!
With America facing such an uncertain future, and much heartache and tribulations to come that I have faithfully outlined in my reporting for 13 years now, isn't it time to ensure that YOUR future is secure in HIS arms of grace and protection and mercy throughout the times to come?
"You need not fear what the future holds, when you know HIM Who holds your future!"
People often ask me, "Pam, aren't you afraid of what can happen to you with your work...???" I look at them and frankly tell them that God has finally brought me BEYOND the state of fear, into a state of GRACE and FAITH INSTEAD. Once, I was struggling with fear: fear of what I was uncovering to come to this nation, fear of coming persecution of the Christians, fear of threats and attacks on my life, fear of famine, etc.
But I soon realized that FEAR is counterproductive to our lives and the exact opposite of FAITH. We must realize as Christians, that our lives will either be controlled by FEAR, or by FAITH. This is why Jesus said repeatedly, "FEAR NOT...for I Am with you."
I understand all too well the kind of price I may pay for my uncompromising Christian witness and my reporting to warn my fellow Americans. I am neither stupid nor uninformed nor naive. But God calls His people to RISE ABOVE THE FEAR, to OVERCOME and to achieve everything He calls us to accomplish for His glory in today's world! And this is accomplished by FAITH!
I can honestly say that through much prayer, God has taken away ALL fear from my life, and enabled me to walk out every day BY FAITH. Knowing what I face, I yet have peace within, because of His grace. And if I suffer and die for my testimony, so be it. Suffering and martyrdom and overcoming for the sake of the Gospel is the ongoing legacy of two thousand years of Christianity in the world. It is nothing new. I am proud of Jesus Christ and His testimony to the world! If needs be, I will die proclaiming His testimony to mankind. I refuse to compromise the call of God on my life. And my Bible tells me, "HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT to face ALL things.
"And THIS is the VICTORY THAT OVERCOMES THE WORLD, even our FAITH." And that faith MUST be based on the eternal Word of God and in Jesus Christ, our only hope of salvation and overcoming the world.
If you are troubled by fear, by suffering and heartache and loss, REACH UP through faith and prayer for your miracle of God's Divine grace and comfort and help today. You will never be disappointed when you act on God's eternal promises and choose to live in the realms of MIGHTY FAITH instead of FEAR!
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
-With much love and prayer, Pamela Schuffert