We received this letter from our ministry partner in Latvia.
Dear all in Jesus name,
At this time we are in need of prayer for one of the families that comes to the feeding program.
The Popkov Family came to us two years ago as the result of starvation, which was caused by lack of employment opportunities in our faltering Latvia economy. At the time, this family of five was left with no means to survive. Elena, her husband and their three children, who had become very ill, faced very drastic and dark dilemma of how to survive another day.
Shortly after, Elena’s brother, who was living with the family and trying to help support them, got into an accident walking home from work. It was winter. A sharp block of ice fell from the roof of a house splitting open his foot and severely damaging the toes. No one claimed responsibility for this accident and Elena’s brother ended up being on his own trying also to survive. The hospital suggested numerous operations to keep him from having his foot amputated.
At the time, this family barely had any means of survival. The choice was hard to make. Do they choose between paying the bills for their small apartment and nursing three of their own children back to health or do they pay for the operations? The family made a choice to pay for the operations. Wading through the disorganized medical system resulted in over a year of procedures and money that needed to be paid, it took all the resources they had accumulated to save their young brother’s life. Most of the time, much was paid at the expense of rent and utilities.
Throughout the last two years the Popkov family continued to experience troubles and setbacks. The debt continued to mount quickly with thousands of dollars owed. While being unemployed and trying their best to take care of the family, they were able to spare their brother’s life and some how survive with their three children; but the situation became too overwhelming. The Popkov family was evicted from their apartment.
Along the way, the Please Pass the Bread program was established and we enrolled them immediately so they would eat consistently. There was no hope left in their lives. They were warmly welcomed by the ministers. As we involved them in the activities, more and more, they began to fix their eyes and hope on Jesus. Eventually the love of Jesus touched their hearts and birthed hope for the future. They have given their lives to Jesus and are walking with Him completely. Never once did we heard them complain, never once did they ask for help, but had always asked what can they do to help.
Not too long ago, they have been able to get a small apartment in a run down wooden building. They felt happy and blessed. They still had much debt for past electricity bills and rent, but they pay a bit at the time. We as a church stepped in to pay a larger part for their electricity in order for them to have it in their ‘new’ place and helped to pay some for the current rent.
Tragedy struck again. The new place was not the best, but they had a roof over their heads and it was somewhat warm during the winter. Last week while the parents were out looking for work the youngest son smelled smoke. When he tried to open the door to the other room, the door handle felt extremely hot. He grabbed a towel and as he opened the door he saw the room had caught on fire. The eleven year old son prayerfully pulled his handicapped brother outside, ran back, took his sister out, returned and took the cat out – all without saying a single word. He was so scared but didn’t want to scare the others. Only after the kids were out he managed to call the fire department.
The fire service stood in amazement at the courage of the little boy. Without knowing what to do, he performed everything in such a way that only professionals would know. The fire service told the family that if the little boy had missed the 5-minute window of opportunity, his siblings would have been dead and the building would have been burned to ashes. The fire service said that the old electrical wires in the building caused an ignition, and it would have happened sooner or later.
We praise God for His mercies for saving this family and at the same time we are asking for everyone to join in prayer. We are asking the Lord to send the resources this family needs to repair and restore their lives. Everything was lost but they still have each other. Now we ask our Lord to restore the hope they had and bring glory to His name, once again, through the faith of this family, which still remains strong only by His grace.