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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

>Report from Russia

>A dear friend and partner-in-ministry just sent the following…I urge and beg you to read it, and then to pray for the family:

I’ve already started to get emails. For those concerned about the Moscow bombings, we are OK. Were they close to us? Yes. If you want the full story, feel free to read below. I’m writing this just after the incident, so it is a bit reflective and scattered. Still, I promised you an honest window into our lives here, so here goes.

Last night before we went to bed, the cat was playing with the hairbrush. Stupid cat. I tried to stop him but he ran off with it. Ugh… I’ll find it later I thought.

I was running late this morning. Karen is gone at an educational conference in Germany, and I have the privilege of watching my kids over their spring break. I needed to work today, so a friend offered to watch our kids. I rushed around to get everyone ready, but among other things the hairbrush was missing. We searched, but the cat had it well hidden and he wasn’t talking. I finally talk the girls into using a comb. UGH.. 15 minutes late out the door.

I got onto the metro as usual, on the “red line” heading toward “Park Kulturi” and “Lyubyanka” when the train screeched to a halt. It’s not unusual to stop for a minute or two, but after about ten minutes we began to get restless. I realized something was wrong when the phones started ringing, and then even more wrong when nobody seemed to be able to use their phones anymore. I heard some Russian words I was unfamiliar with, and looked one of them up in my dictionary. “Explosion”.

Then I got the text message from our friend who was watching the children…. “Bombs just went off at Park Kulturi” Are you OK? I replied that I was, and hoped the message would get through. The train suddenly lurched forward to the next stop, picked up a load of passengers waiting there, and announced that it was changing direction. And it did! I had no idea those things could suddenly move backward. About this time my friend called and said that a second explosion just went off at “Lyubyanka”. As we travelled along back to my stop I began to wonder how many bombs might be on this line? Were they staged to go off in intervals? Were these suicide bombers (turns out they were). The guy with the big bag pacing up and down muttering to himself was making me very nervous. As I got out of metro Universitet, I stood for about ten minutes in a daze. It just seemed SO UNREAL. These stories of bombs going off here and there around the world–those distant, unpleasant, impersonal news blips-well, one of them just happened right by me. And I was worried, and still am worried, that one of my friends, co-workers, or students was on one of those trains.

I continued standing in a daze by the bus stop, several other emotions hitting me: First, there was absolute relief in knowing that I was just a short bus ride away from seeing my children. Such a simple thing, but 40 people who left for work 15 minutes before me would not have this privilege. Next, I felt fear. For the first time since we moved here, I realized: You know, a guy could die here! Panic gripped my heart: “Tim! What are you doing? This is irresponsible! You’ve got four children! What if you were hurt? Who would take care of them?” Suddenly I began to ask the question “IS THIS WORTH IT???” ” Tim, if you had died today, would you say the impact you had here was worth your death?” Really, is what you are doing THAT important?

My emotions then turned to anger. WHO would do such a thing? How could there be such evil in the world?

Then came shame: I have been a little too busy lately, my master’s paper has been consuming time otherwise reserved for sleep. I’ve been a bit grouchy, self-focused, and not as at peace with God and with those around me as I’d like to be. What if I had to stand before my creator in such a state? The bus came, I got on, and I prayed for a calm spirit to hear the voice of God. The voice of truth began to speak into my mind. I want to write it down while it’s fresh, before it fades from my memory, but it was a beautiful thing. It went something like this: “Tim, this evil you encountered today is precisely what you have been called to work against. Teaching young people and frustrated orphans to experience the love of God and invest in others is the part of my work of bringing people into a whole relationship with me. Are the results worth it? Are you making a significant difference? Tim, leave that to me. I need you to continue to obey. Is there risk? Is it worth your life? Well, my own Son got put to death, and countless thousands of my followers throughout history have suffered loss and grief. Don’t forget Tim, that your time on earth is short. Have I called you to die? Yes-every day I have called you to die to yourself. And one day, sooner or later, your physical body will die. Number your days and gain a heart of wisdom. I will make all things new. I will set all things right, even though now there is such evil in the world. Still, even now I am working in people’s hearts and lives and renewing their inner beings. I have called you to be a part of that work, no matter how small your part may seem, no matter how inadequate you may feel to the task, I am changing others and changing you. Follow me, and know that I am in control of everything. Even your cat. ”

My friends, can you pray with me? Pray that God gives US the courage to love Him and follow Him and to be part of his healing work no matter what may come our way. Then take a moment, breathe deeply and be thankful for this wonderful gift of life, and the beautiful gift of your eternal soul that God has given you and those around you. What a wonderful Creator. He makes all things new.

Thank You

… for taking the time to read this newsletter. PLEASE contact us with any prayer needs you have, and please keep us in your prayers. For the Kingdom, the Gospel, and the Fatherless….

Contact Info Tim Hange:

Karen Hange:

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