In His Presence

We had endured almost two weeks of the frigid weather conditions of Kazakhstan. We were halfway around the world during the Christmas and New Year holidays adopting a nine-month old little girl. Unfortunately, we had to leave our older children in the United States and phone calls were nearly impossible to make.

To top off our emotional struggles in this foreign land, all of our attempts at locating a Baptist church in the area had failed due to communication issues with our translator and those at the church. Despair was threatening to overcome us as we were homesick for our four children as well as our church family.

“I have a friend who has a friend in your region of Kazakhstan,” the email read one morning. I immediately wrote back and asked for a name and way to contact her. Sharon* was a single mom. We had not yet crossed paths at the baby house while bonding with our little girl, but we discovered our daughter-to-be was in the same baby group as her little girl. After talking on the phone, we met at a local restaurant and exchanged stories about the way the Lord had led in our lives to the precious little girls we were adopting.

“It has been so hard being here these last two weeks, ” I told Sharon while we visited that evening. “I miss my children so much, and we have been trying to find a church to attend.”

“Oh, I wish we had met sooner,” Sharon exclaimed. “I have been attending a wonderful home church that was started by a missionary a few years ago. The present pastor is leaving soon to attend seminary in America, but you should join us this Sunday.”

In the days that followed, we received information from Sharon and were able to get the information we needed so our driver could bring us to the service. We were one of the first couples to arrive that Sunday. We walked into a small apartment on the second floor and were immediately greeted by the smile of a middle-sized Russian woman who spoke a broken version of our language.

By the time the service was ready to begin, we found ourselves surrounded by over a dozen other believers. We spoke little Russian, but there were several among this group who had been attending language classes. All of them spoke better English then we spoke Russian. Yet, this did not influence how quickly we felt at home with these believers.

We will never forget the three Sundays we spent worshipping our Savior together with these brother and sisters. How do you adequately describe in words singing praises to Jesus for His grace and mercy in English while the person next to you sang the same song in Russian? We sensed that indeed we were experiencing what happened several thousand years earlier on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit descended upon them for the first time. We knew we were in the presence of the Lord, and we were standing on holy ground indeed. We are sure we got a taste of heaven those Sundays halfway around the world away from our children and church family that cold bleak winter of 2005.

*Name changed.

About the Author: Beckie Stewart resides in Delavan, IL. Visit Beckie’s blog at

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  1. Laura Shaw says:

    I loved this story. Gives me a small glimpse into what worship in Heaven will be like. Thanks for sharing this personal experience. It blessed me.

  2. S. Harricharan says:

    This is so encouraging-I especially like how the ‘feel’ of God’s presence was there. Great! ^_^

  3. Laury Hubrich says:

    Beckie, that is a wonderful story of how God took care of you and Joe as you were so far away from your friends and family. And to think what you brought back with you — little Lana! What a gift from God!

    Laury Hubrich’s last blog post..Psalm 57

  4. shirley kent says:

    I loved your article! I felt as if I were there with you on your adventure. Keep up the good work!