The provincial town of Ryasno is located in… the middle of nowhere (as the saying goes). Even calling it a “town” would be a bit of a stretch of the imagination. It’s more akin to a village, as less than a thousand people live there, and has been standing since at least 1335 A.D. Near the village outskirts stands an orphanage. Our teams have ministered to the children there for many years now during both our summer and winter trips.
With such a small population, the clerks at the only store know practically every resident. At one point, one of the clerks told our volunteers that there was a woman who lived in town with the “same faith” as us. This woman, the store clerk went on to add, also had a grown son who was bedridden. After a short time we had the opportunity to meet this woman and her paralyzed son. Alexander, or, as he is known by those close to him: Sasha, is a young man who can only move his hands slightly, and even then with very little mobility and great difficulty. Sasha was a healthy boy who, upon graduating from high school, went swimming to celebrate with his friends. Unfortunately, the water that he dived into was too shallow and Sasha’s spine was damaged.
Every time that we come to Belarus we try to spend some time with Sasha. On one of our visits we jokingly asked him if our visits were too bothersome for him.
“What, are you kidding?” Sasha retorted. “It’s lonely without you. I’m always alone, alone. You guys come more often than my closest friends.”
…And that is how he must spend the rest of his life, in bed.
Sasha is very open to discussions about God. He has many questions, some of which his mother cannot always find answers for. Besides his mother, and us, Sasha has no other Christians to interact with. To attend church, Sasha’s mother must take a trip to a neighboring town—a trip that isn’t the easiest, even for a person in good health.
Sasha would like to spend time outdoors, particularly in the summer, but his wheelchair has been broken for many years now and stands abandoned. The wheelchair is so old and outdated that spare parts for it can no longer be found. The family cannot afford a new wheelchair. To purchase a new wheelchair with electronic components, they would have to find a minimum of $900 (USD). For most Belarussians, and especially for Ryasno, this is an impossible dream.
We ask for your prayers—For Sasha, so that he comes to faith in God, and so that we could raise the funds necessary to purchase a wheelchair for him.