What’s the longest you’ve ever waited on something special? Something really important. I guess I waited on a husband for 25 years and each baby for 9 months … but that’s just kind of normal, right? We waited to buy our own home until we were in our late 40’s. Waited in line at Disney for 2 hours; NJ traffic sometimes feels like an eternity … But, really, my world is rather instant. I’m spoiled.
I first met Tatyana about 11 years ago. She came to our church and even helped us take care of Rob’s parents when they were struggling at home. She came to America from Uzbekistan with her husband to apply for political asylum. They left their beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Ravina, with Tatyana’s parents – a heart-wrenching decision – in order to secure a safe place to raise her.
Uzbekistan is ranked as the 15th worst place in the world for Christians. Just a tiny fraction of the population has faith in Jesus in a mostly Islamic country. No freedom of religion there. Most of us don’t know what it is to live in persecution – bombings, raids, confiscation of bibles and other Christian materials, beatings, imprisonment, fines … It’s the kind of world that forces parents to take desperate measures.
Tatyana and her husband, Umesh, immediately began the process to apply for political asylum in America. They worked hard, sent money home for Ravina’s care and saved the rest to pay lawyer’s fees. Thousands of dollars, lawyer after lawyer, stacks of paperwork … How long would you wait? How long would you endure?
Four years ago, after another failed attempt, Umesh was taken from their home and deported while she was at work. No goodbyes. He was just gone.
Still, Tatyana continued to trust God. Heartbreak after heartbreak. She chose to see God’s blessing. She chose to hold to the small victories and provision. In her tears, she chose to be thankful. She’s raised her baby girl a world apart with a fierce grip on Hope.
She never sat still in hopelessness. She’s continued to grow and move forward. She’s now certified in about six areas of personal training. She started her own business; opened her own gym. She – alone – serves about 60 clients. I wonder, could I move to a foreign country and do all that she has done?
Yesterday, at the JFK Airport, Tatyana hugged her 19-year-old baby girl for the first time in 15 years. She embraced her husband after a 4 year separation. It happened! Because just last year, a judge finally heard her case and made a decision in her favor and just last week, Umesh and Ravina were granted Visas to come to America. 15 years.
I told Tatyana that some miracles are so extraordinary that it takes God 15 years to prepare us for them. I wonder how many miracles I’ve missed out on because I gave up too soon?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) Oh how Tatyana has lived this! Her experience – her courage, perseverance and strength – will, no doubt, be a “tree of life” to many generations.
Congratulations Tatyana, Umesh and Ravina! May God continue to hold you and walk with you as you learn again what it is to be a family in this new season of a miraculous dream fulfilled.
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