Monday, April 28, 2008


I arrived in Batumi just in time for the Easter Celebrations.
Thursday night the church was surrounded by hundreds of
people who came to the sanctuary to lighten their candle and
carry it home, carefully protecting the flame from quenching.
I saw a deep devotion and conviction in this valuable ritual.
They carried the candle as if their whole future would depend
on their ability to keep the fire burning.
I was still trying to figure out the demographics of this place.
Ajaria is the area that the Russians took from the Turks
at the end of the RussoTurkish war.
The people here have been known as the Muslim Georgians,
even though more than half of the population is Christian.
I was surprised to see the symbol of the cross everywhere.
People carried it around their neck, on their doors, in all public
places. Even the most popular graffiti seemed to be a cross
with the inscription INRI under it.
The first afternoon I went to walk on the boulevard.
I saw a man sitting by the water and staring at the sea.
I strongly felt prompted to go and sit next to him.
He was badly beaten by life. He had a life-less face with
no expectation for any change.
He introduced himself as Temuri.
I felt strongly God’s love for this man.
I was just sitting there with him and waiting for him to
become curious. We talked.
He invited me to his home to talk more.
We talked around the kitchen table.
I shared about forgiveness, the greatest power in our life.
He listened and asked me to talk more.
Finally it was time to go and I proposed for us to pray.
He had never prayed in his life.
During the prayer I sensed a strong presence of God to fill
the room. After the final amen I looked at him and saw his
face shining. It was the same light that I have witnessed in
so many times, when faith was born in a person’s life.
Next day he had thousands of questions. He wanted me to
sing him worship songs. He wrote down the words for
every song that I sung. He said, “When you’ll be gone,
I want to continue singing.”
Pray for Batumi.
People are broken and ready.
We will be back.

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