Revive Our Hearts Podcast

An Open Home in Lithuania: Sandra's Story

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Leslie Basham: Think about someone you know who just seems too far away from God to ever change. At one time, Sandra may have seemed that way.

Sandra: I was involved with a Satanistic group and was searching for the meaning in life. We were searching in the wrong places that just distort the meaning of life.

Leslie: But God had other plans for Sandra’s life. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for December 21, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: One of the great highlights for me at this past year’s True Woman ’18 conference was the joy of meeting with a group of women that call themselves “The European Delegation.” This was a precious group of women, and at the end of the conference, Robert and I got to spend a couple of hours with these women hearing what God is doing in their hearts and the passion God has given them to see Europe reached with this message.

Now, this European Delegation isn’t something that Revive Our Hearts initiated. These are listeners who have found each other across language and geographical barriers.

They have a passion for God’s Word, and they want to spread it throughout Europe, and they want to partner with Revive Our Hearts to reach that goal. On a regular basis they meet by means of video chat to encourage each other. They’re praying that God will give birth to a new ministry: Revive Our Hearts Europe.

Many of them journeyed to join us in Indianapolis this past September for True Woman ’18.

Sandra: It took me twelve hours to come from Vilnius to the True Woman conference in Indianapolis.

Nancy: That included a woman named Sandra, who grew up in Lithuania. If you’re ever tempted to doubt the power of God to transform a life, you’ve got to hear this story! Sandra came from a broken home and got involved in the occult, but God showed His power to change her life!

If you’ve been following in our series, “The Wonder of His Name,” we’ll get back to that on Monday, but for today, let’s hear from Sandra.

Leslie: Sandra grew up in a nominally religious family, but it wasn’t hard to tell there were problems. For one thing, her father was in prison; resources were tight for her family. For another thing, Sandra was spending more and more time with friends in a Satanist group.

Sandra: There were not a lot of girls going there. Those who went got all of the attention, but it was a really horrendous situation to be in, because you put yourself in danger. I’m just praising the Lord that God kept me safe, and by His grace, nothing bad happened to me. But there were lots of bad things that could have happened. Just going with the flow attracted me a lot.

Leslie: Sandra and her friends longed for something deeper, an answer to their questions.

Sandra: I was searching for the meaning in life, and we were searching in the wrong places—places that just distort the meaning of life.

Leslie: The answers she was searching for came in some unexpected ways. First . . .

Sandra: I remember one woman in my school that has been praying for me for many years. When I became part of the Satanistic group, I started to wear black. She was my music teacher. Whenever she saw me, she said, “God is reminding me of you in my prayers,” and she started to pray for me.

Leslie: The second way Sandra’s searching was answered came through her father. Sandra’s dad was the only non-religious person in the family. He called himself an atheist. Through a series of circumstances, he had landed in jail.

Sandra: This was the way the Lord humbled his heart, to open it for the gospel, and this is where he heard. He repented of his sin and he turned back to Jesus.

Leslie: Sandra and her family could tell this was no mere “foxhole conversion.”

Sandra: We saw his life being transformed. He used to go gambling and playing cards with friends. There was a very shallow relationship with my mom and with his kids. I could see a radical change in his life, and this was a huge testimony for us—first for my mom and then for us.

When I saw the example of my dad and his changed life, this made me think that, Maybe there is a God who brings everything back to life! I really longed to have a deep meaning in my life, but I couldn’t find it in the Satanistic group because it brought just more chaos into my life, into my heart.

You could see peace and happiness and joy, and that was so vivid in his personality and on his face. And you just see that you have known that person for such a long time, but he is new—like totally transformed! This was such a great witness.

I started to read the Bible out of curiosity and God just touched my heart. I could see how everything is so simple and so deep and so rich with God! As a result, by God’s grace, God saved all of the family!

Leslie: Sandra said the changes weren’t limited to her father.

Sandra: All of us kids were good school students—trying to be obedient and kind. It was more deep inside the heart where you started to see sinfulness. Even when you haven’t done anything big, but in God’s eyes even small, little sin is big. It’s rebellion against a holy God.

This changed our thinking about ourselves first, about who God is, and how much we need Him in our lives! I really wanted to read the Bible, I wanted to pray. It seemed like water and air to breathe.

Leslie: Some months later, Sandra met Tom and Meta Moerdyk, missionaries from the United States. They were ministering in Lithuania and Sandra acted as an interpreter.

Meta Moerdyk: I’m Meta Moerdyk; I live in Caledonia, Michigan.

Leslie: In addition to traveling around the world with her husband Tom, Meta volunteers with Revive Our Hearts as an Ambassador.

Meta: Last year we visited Lithuania. My husband had been there before, and Sandra translated for them. We decided to connect also with Sandra, and Sandra wanted us to come to her house.

Sandra: We had a nice morning breakfast together, and we just had a very nice time of fellowship and talking about her ministry. I was greatly inspired by what she is doing. I didn’t know anything about Revive Our Hearts. We were simply sharing breakfast and talking, and this was the way she shared what she’s doing there.

Meta: Sandra knows English so well, so it was easy to tell her. And the hunger she had for the truth of God’s Word was really heartwarming!

Leslie: Meta did what every good Revive Our Hearts Ambassador does. She pointed Sandra to some of the resources we have available.

Meta: I had brought some of the smaller booklets and the bookmarks (from Revive Our Hearts), and I saw the eagerness with which she accepted those materials and was able to understand right away. I shared with her that we have a free app that allows her to connect with the ministry and hear the daily broadcast, but also access the other resources that are available.She right away downloaded it!

Sandra: Which was really great because I started listening to it every morning and it served well to my soul!

Leslie: Some of what she was hearing on Revive Our Hearts was refreshingly different.

Sandra: In Lithuania, women have lots of power. As we say, “They keep all four corners of the house.” So in Lithuanian culture, it’s all ingrained that the woman is the one who is at the center of the house, and she must be like a career woman and also, it’s okay to be a mom and a good wife. “You can do all of it all at once.”

Leslie: She knew something about what the Bible teaches about being a woman.

Sandra: But this was very interesting to hear from the woman’s point of view. On one hand, it’s very good to hear from the man pastor preaching about it, and completely the other when you have a woman sharing from life experience—even though we’re speaking about the same truth that comes from the Bible. But it speaks more directly to the heart of the woman.

Leslie: A recent Revive Our Hearts program caught Sandra’s attention in a special way.

Sandra: The one about hospitality . . .

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth interviewed Rosaria Butterfield about her book The Gospel Comes with a House Key.

Rosaria Butterfield [from “The Gospel Comes with a House Key”]: How would you know if you had a neighbor who was an alcoholic? How would you know if you had a neighbor who was struggling with some kind of abuse-related issue? You wouldn’t know it. Nobody’s going to wave a flag about that.

And so, having time in your house can be very helpful. We pray; we want to know what the gospel road is to somebody’s heart . . . and it’s a different road. What you need is different than what I need. But to actually build in margin time so that you can take an older neighbor to the doctor, so that you can watch children after school.

There are some basic things that, if you have the privilege as I do to be a stay-at-home mom taking care of my kids, homeschooling my kids . . . I have a privilege that has blessed my neighbors, and they’ve told me so!

Sandra: I shared this with my mom how important it is to be hospitable to other people, and how we reflect Christ, and how we share the gospel by just opening up the doors and being welcoming.

Rosaria: We’ve seen people come to Christ. We have seen the gospel change hearts and minds! We have watched as people have their lives turned around by Christ . . . and all we’ve done is open the door to a pretty messy house!

Leslie: Sandra and her mom were so struck by this concept that they applied it directly to their own situation. Let’s just say their application was of a constructive nature.

Sandra: This resulted in the building of the house and making it larger so that more guests could come and stay. We started remodeling it, but we were not sure whether we needed to expand it. Then I shared how great it is to be hospitable and how this touched my heart.

And then I asked her, “Do you mind if we have just another floor added to the house?”

She was like, “No, I don’t mind.”

This was the first step to move forward! My mom is a great cook, and she loves cooking. It was just on our hearts to do this more.

Rosaria: Open, daily hospitality has been one of the ways that God blesses us, to show us that He is adding to His kingdom.

Man: Hebrews chapter 13, verses 1 and 2: “Let brotherly love continue . . .”

Sandra: We’ve had missionaries, pastors, our neighbors, friends from all walks of life . . .

Man: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . .”

Sandra: . . . university professors come just to relax and enjoy and spend time together—people from different countries.

Man: “. . . for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Sandra: I live in a small town, which is not in the big city, so it’s very quiet and tranquil there. I really enjoy the surrounding, and I think that’s also one of the reasons that people really like to come. They step out of their busyness into the quietness and just enjoy fellowship and prayer together.

Leslie: Sandra has found encouragement in many of the messages she’s heard on Revive Our Hearts.

Sandra: What is means to be a true woman, how our differences from men really matter, and how we should view it through the eye-lenses of God’s Word. Getting back to becoming a woman of the Word and becoming a woman of prayer is really important.

It’s just a constant reminder how it is important to get back to the basics and to have an intimate and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.

Leslie: The theme of True Woman ’18 was The Truth That Sets Us Free. Sandra appreciates how the messages about God’s Truth have helped her fight against the lies she’s prone to believe.

Sandra: It’s made me think more about what things entangle me and draw my attention away from Christ that, in a very subtle way, can become an idol in life. And we have to be careful and vigilant, whenever we live every day, to spot these different areas that become a way to slide away from Christ.

So it just refreshes my thinking and also brings me more to my knees, to understand what things need to be corrected in my life, how I need to turn away from the small things that can—in any time—become big in life and just to catch them where they are. I need to repent of them and keep walking in joy and love and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I really appreciate Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s stories and the videos that she does. They really get you to think deeper about your relationship with Christ, how everything flows out of it.

And bringing personal stories is really amazing because sometimes you can see, it connects. It’s like, “There is a connection between my life and that life.” Or sometimes you think, It has nothing to do with my life.

But then you meet somebody else later who is struggling, going through similar things, and then you can say, “You know, there is a very nice video that you can watch and maybe you can get something out of it.” That’s a great means to connect with other people as well.

Leslie: She’s thankful for the financial gifts from listeners, gifts that help provide the Revive Our Hearts app and podcasts.

Sandra: Oh, that’s amazing because this is so easy to get into the wealth of material just with two clicks. I really enjoy . . . Every morning when I get up, I turn on to listen while I’m still getting dressed and wash myself and just enjoy the Bible being preached to the heart of a woman!

It refreshes the soul, it helps to wake up—not only physically, but spiritually as well!

Leslie: There’s a multiplying effect to Revive Our Hearts as well. Sandra now lets her friends know about it.

Sandra: Yes, I sure do! In my church, to the other young women—and some of them started listening. I have another friend who lives in Armenia, and she is constantly on Revive Our Hearts, and she loves that very much!

I know that it’s expanding to Asia, Armenia, and Georgia—they’re being reached—and these forbidden countries, Muslim countries, with telling stories. They are reaching other people for Christ.

Leslie: Sandra doesn’t pretend that life has been easy since she gave her life to Christ. There’s pain in her journey as a believer, too.

Sandra: This year has been a real struggle for me, as I was engaged and then marriage plans broke up. Revive Our Hearts has been a great encouragement to me personally to keep going on, no matter what, and to find true freedom in Christ—no matter your circumstances—wherever you are.

Leslie: Would you pray for the country of Lithuania? Sandra shares ways you can pray.

Sandra: We have very few Christians—born-again believers—so my prayer would be that God would revive the nation, revive the hearts of women and men to be the people of God and to do great things for Him!

Leslie: We serve an amazing God! He can take a confused and hurting teenager from a Satanist group, give her a new heart and instill in her a new desire, a passion to serve the Lord.

And, Nancy, even though life isn’t completely smooth sailing for Sandra—or any of us—we have the answers we need in Christ. Jesus is our source of True Hope!

Nancy: Yes, Leslie. I know there are women everywhere who have experienced deep hurt, and they’re looking for answers in so many places. I feel such a sense of burden and urgency to speak to them and to show them the liberating truth of God’s Word.

I’m so, so grateful for the ways He’s using Revive Our Hearts to do just that! And that’s happening in a powerful way in Europe, as women are coming to us. They’re raising their hand, and they’re saying, “Please! Help us multiply this ministry in our country!”

Now obviously, my ability to travel to Europe is greatly limited, and besides, I don’t speak the languages involved there. But we’re responding to this burden from these women by working on a website that will offer Revive Our Hearts material in many different languages.

And we’re pouring into leaders like Mary Anne Piaget in Switzerland, who has such a heart to spread God’s Word in the French language. But without help from listeners like you, we’re not able to respond adequately to opportunities like this one.

Your help comes in the form of prayer, and it comes by you sharing this message with others, and it comes through your financial support. So here in December, we have a big need, and we’re inviting and encouraging you to get involved in helping to meet that need.

So many listeners have already given toward a matching challenge given right now, and I want to say a huge “thank you” if you’ve been a part of that. Your gift at this time means more than you could possibly know!

And if you haven’t done your part yet, know that when you give by December 31, your gift will be doubled by some friends of the ministry—up to a matching challenge amount of $750,000. Would you help us meet this challenge and even go beyond it?

To make your gift, you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com, and when you go to that site you’ll see the latest update on where we stand with the matching challenge. You can also call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Thank you so much for partnering with Revive Our Hearts at this time to call women to greater freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ—here in the United States, in Europe, and all across the world.

Leslie: Scripture tells us about a battle. On one side is a dragon and a terrible beast. On the other side is a lamb. Who do you think will win? Please be with us on Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth knows the power of God to change lives. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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