EDITORS’ NOTE: The following story, by Brad Senter, a former journeyman in Russia with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, relays an encounter during a U.S. medical volunteer team’s trip to Bryansk, Russia, last September. Senter’s journeyman term was cut short when he had to return to the States for a medical problem with one of his fingers. He now is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina.
BRYANSK, Russia (BP)–There is an unnamed young
Christian in the United States, under the age of 10, whose
grandmother was faithful in taking her to church and, as a
result, this young girl is a faithful Christian.
So faithful, in fact, that for one year she saved every
toy that came with her “Happy Meals” from McDonald’s to
donate them to underprivileged children.
And she did just that! She sent 63 toys, still in their
packaging, with her grandmother, a nurse, on a volunteer
medical missions trip to Bryansk, Russia! All of these toys
were in a footlocker “…to be given away as needed,” the
grandmother instructed. So, we took that literally. And one
by one the toys began to disappear.
But, late on Monday afternoon, the doors opened, and
there stood a young mother and her daughter. They entered
and took a seat in line. The nurse called them forward.
They were there to see the doctor because of an injury
to the little girl, Masha. Masha was 7 years old and just
three months before had watched her father die from an
electric shock. In the hysteria of the moment she ran over
and grabbed the wire to get it off of her dad. Six-thousand
volts of electricity entered her left hand and exited
through the base of her spine. She couldn’t walk for three
weeks, and at present she was still severely traumatized.
When the nurses tried to take her blood pressure, she began
to cry and try to get closer to her mother. I saw this from
across the room.
So, immediately I thought of that footlocker. I went
over and began to dig through. Then, I found it! One pretty
pink bracelet with small charms on it. I said, “Masha? May I
give you this? I know that you are scared, and you may not
even like doctors, but I had to go see the doctor, too.”
Then I showed her my finger. “Now, it only hurts a little
bit. But, if you wear this bracelet, then the doctor is sure
to be really careful and really nice to you!”
With that, she timidly stretched out her burned hand,
and I tearfully clasped the bracelet around her tiny wrist.
I walked back to my place across the room, and from there I
watched the nurses do their jobs, unhindered.
After their visit with the doctor, I spoke with Masha’s
mother. I shared Jesus with her, and she repented! I placed
a Bible in her hands and made her promise to return to one
of the services later in the week. She promised.
I did not see her again.
Sunday morning, our last Sunday in Bryansk, I was
singing from the platform. I looked to my right, and their
sat my new sister in Christ, Masha’s mother.
After the service, they approached me. She came over
and said, “I simply cannot thank you enough! You see, ever
since I left here the other day, I felt a comfort and a
peace in my life something I had never felt before. And
Masha is not as scared either! As a matter of fact, she
asked if she could come and stand by you for a minute.”
Before I could speak, I felt a tiny hand slip into mine. I
looked down and saw this beautiful little girl smiling back
up at me, her burned hand in mine, bracelet still around her
Masha didn’t just reach up and take my hand that
morning she reached right up and took me by the heart. Not
just Masha, but also that little girl in America who
sacrificed such a “magical” bracelet. Call it a widow’s mite
or a sack lunch broken to feed many, but on that morning I
saw Jesus take such a small offering, one given with a pure
heart, and multiply the blessings a hundred times over!