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Chechen believer hopes war will bring Chechens to Christ

LARNACA, Cyprus (BP)–Mosah always wanted to be a good father and husband. All his life he dreamed of the perfect family. Growing up with a father who regularly beat his mother, Mosah longed for a more stable home.

But drugs were getting in the way. An addiction to homemade Russian heroin made Mosah do things he never would have done otherwise. Then, just like his father, Mosah began beating his wife.

“I always believed if a man beats his wife, he demonstrated his own weakness and so did everyone else in my family,” Mosah said.

Mosah’s wife and sister-in-law, whose husband also abused drugs, didn’t know how to help their men. They talked to a neighbor, who was a Russian evangelical Christian. She told them about Christ’s power to heal their husbands’ hearts and change their drug-ravaged lives.

When Mosah heard what the woman had told his wife, he was both intrigued and surprised.

“All most Chechens know about Christianity is what they have seen in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Mosah said. “They think it is all about the sign of the cross, but few have heard that they can have a relationship with God.

“I certainly had never heard what she was saying before. I became very interested in what my wife was saying. I had to speak to this woman.”

When he went personally to talk to the neighbor, he was amazed by how she spoke of a personal relationship with God.

“I don’t remember what she was saying, but I was listening very carefully,” Mosah said. “It was like a light went on in my heart.”

Before he left, the lady handed him a Gideon’s New Testament in Russian. He read it fervently.

“Even when I was on drugs, I read the New Testament. I couldn’t stop reading,” Mosah said. “Finally I read the whole thing, including the Gospel of Matthew in one night.”

Then he found the Psalms in the back of that tiny New Testament. As he flipped to Psalm 6, he began to relate to David. Just like David asked God to heal him, Mosah asked God to heal his drug addiction.

“I began to pray to Jesus and that’s the day I repented,” Mosah said.

But the healing didn’t happen overnight. As he continued to struggle with drugs, his mother and father finally disowned him. For a Chechen, whose life is built around his family, that was the ultimate wake-up call.

“That was just unbearable,” Mosah remembered. “I came to the conclusion that I was no longer able to do any good for the people I loved.”

Then Mosah’s son was born severely disabled and everyone told him his drug abuse had caused his son’s birth defects.

“That was the last straw,” Mosah said. “I thought, ‘I should just kill myself.'” He stuck a rifle barrel in his mouth but just couldn’t pull the trigger.

One night, he stumbled home drunk and found several Christian men there to meet him. Seeing he was in no condition to talk, they decided to leave. But Mosah stopped them at the door and demanded they pray for him.

So the men prayed for Mosah, and then they invited him to a church service later in the week. For the next several days, he had no drugs or alcohol. By the time he went the service, he was weak from withdrawal symptoms.

Church members circled Mosah, laid their hands on him and prayed.

“I could feel their hands burning against me,” Mosah said. “I told Jesus, ‘Unless you help me, I won’t live until tomorrow.'”

Mosah’s 13 years of drug addiction were over. With his new commitment to Christ, he felt a passion to share his faith with his fellow Chechens.

“To share Christ with Chechens, you have to do it in a Chechen way,” Mosah said. “For example, when I am talking to Chechens about Christ, I don’t tell them I am a Christian; I tell them I am a follower of Jesus. When they hear the word Christian, they think of Russians and the Orthodox.”

Approximately 40 Chechen evangelical Christians are scattered throughout Russia’s North Caucasus regions.

Virtually all Chechens follow Islam. Those who follow Jesus often face intense pressures from their family and society. Many Chechens label Chechen Christian converts as betrayers of their traditional Muslim faith. Some even use a word for “Christian” that also means someone who betrays the true faith.

Just days before the last war began in 1994, Mosah shared his new faith in Christ with his father. Furious, his father told him he never wanted to see him again. With the war quickly approaching, Mosah figured there wasn’t anything more keeping him in Grozny, so he left for a nearby region.

Now he hopes recent turmoil in his homeland might make the Chechen people more likely to turn to God.

“[The Chechen people] now feel that God is hurt by what they have done,” Mosah said. “I really hope Chechens will seek God now.”

(Mosah is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of this Christian.)

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  • Tobin Perry