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More than 45 profess Christ in wake of Kazakhstan explosion

SARAN, Kazakhstan (BP)–Two weeks after a gas explosion destroyed an apartment building in Saran, Kazakhstan, claiming 18 lives, residents of the city responded warmly to outreach efforts sponsored by Baptists in Saran.
The explosion, coupled with mounting despair over poverty, unemployment and no heat for the coming winter, set the stage for “Jesus Christ: The Hope for Kazakhstan,” an evangelism emphasis of Saran Baptist Church held two weeks after the disaster.
During a Sunday morning service, 45 people came forward to accept Christ, with more making commitments later.
Overflow space had to be set up to accommodate the crowd.
“In communist days, [the church] was granted rights to build a church building on the edge of the city,” said Paul Babb, Baptist representative to Kazakhstan. “Now the city comes to the church for help with clothes, food, counseling and words of encouragement.”
In God’s providence, Illinois Baptists had sent $10,000 to help with human needs that volunteers had seen in the country this past summer, Babb said. The money arrived in Saran on Monday after the explosion.
The church responded to victims of the explosion with immediate help of food, clothes and counseling.
Kazakhstan, geographically located as far north as Canada, will be forced to cope with a winter without heat for the second year in a row.
“They will need to fend for themselves,” Babb said, “so they will do what they did before to keep themselves warm — gut the massive five- to ten-story apartment buildings that stretch for city blocks for anything that will burn.”

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  • Jenny Rogers