Apr 27, 2017

By Bret Laird
Executive Assistant to SGA President Bob Provost

Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation (Psalm 27:9)!

The SGA team’s visit to the Far East to launch Reach Russia Now brought much encouragement and excitement to us all. The faithful pastors mobilizing their congregations, the eager evangelists waiting to be sent, and the airplanes ready to carry them to take the Gospel to those who have never heard—all brought us tremendous joy and a sense of anticipation of what God is about to do. And one deeply moving testimony about a Christian family adopting a heartbroken, abandoned girl shows that God is already at work preparing the ground for a fruitful harvest. 

Eight-year-old Sonya

Hearing about eight-year-old Sonya and visiting her adoptive family was the highlight of the trip for me personally. Alexei is a faithful missionary pastor who ministers in a large village. The love he and his family had for each other and for Christ was clear, and their home—though very humble by Western standards—was filled with joy. And radiating that joy was Sonya. Seeing Sonya wrapped in her mother’s arms and flashing her bright smile, it was hard to imagine how different her life is now from the way it began.

Nothing is known about Sonya’s biological parents. What is known is that God providentially intervened to save her life. Late at night, a Russian policeman was driving down a remote country road, and out of the corner of his eye noticed something moving on the side of the road. It was Sonya. She had been tossed out like trash and abandoned. And she was dying. The severe cold and exposure had taken their toll, and she was barely alive by the time the policeman carried her into the nearest hospital. Miraculously, she survived, and was eventually transferred into an orphanage. But in God’s plan, she was adopted by Christian parents who love her and cherish her. 

After hearing her story, I couldn’t help but say to her, “My dear Sonya, you’re a living miracle.” With the simple certitude that is the precious hallmark of child-like faith, she replied simply and sweetly: “I know.”

As adults, when hearing stories like this, our minds immediately jump to all the “what ifs.” What if the policeman had decided to take a right instead of a left? What if he had glanced down at his radio in that split-second when the edges of his headlights illuminated the child? What if a wild animal had heard her cries before he arrived? What if the temperature had been a few degrees colder? But for Sonya, it’s all really quite simple: “God saved me and gave me a family.” 

When she grows up, Sonya will certainly contemplate the marvelous truth that it was God who knit her together in her mother’s womb. She may wrestle with why her biological mother abandoned her and left her to die. She may wonder about the interplay of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in bringing that policeman down exactly the right road at the right time. She may come to understand that the life-saving care she was given in the hospital was a manifestation of common grace, which flows from man being created in the image of God and blessed with the ability to “subdue the earth.” Someday, she may contemplate, wrestle, wonder, and understand more fully. But for now, the love of God manifested in the embrace of her parents—and the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ— is all she needs to know.

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