A Friend at All Times: Meet Aibolat, Sayat, Artyom, Azamat, and Azhara

13 04 2013


{This is the third in a series of posts about a beautiful ministry opportunity the Lord has laid before me (and possibly you?). If you haven’t read the initial post and first set of interviews, would you please do that now and then come back? Thank you!}

God’s ways are higher than ours, and it’s safe to say we never grasp the full extent of what He’s doing. We have this little slice of a picture — like looking at a huge construction site through a pinhole — but the magnificent city He’s building extends far beyond our perspective.

Knowing this, I believe that any amount of time, energy, money, or love poured into serving people in the name of Christ is never wasted and accomplishes much more than we ever imagine. I think about that widow who put her two copper coins into the temple offering. She had no idea Jesus was watching her, looking past her gift to her heart, and that her small offering not only brought Him great joy, it would also inspire millions through the centuries to follow her example and give Him their all.

It’s okay to be small. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s best. All the resources in the universe already belong to God. If we ever think we’ve come far enough in this life of faith to handle it on our own, we’re much more to be pitied than that poor widow.

So I come to this space again with a bit of trembling but also with hope in the One who loves and honors these beautiful, mostly-forgotten members of society — who sees the purity of their childlike hearts and holds them up as examples to us all. I come with a bit of fear but also with a holy boldness, because I know I’m asking a good thing and that your prayers for and gifts to this ministry are pleasing to the Lord.

I love knowing that this summer camp isn’t a one-time hurrah. Zhanna and her volunteers live in community with these special needs teens day after day. They aren’t abandoned. They’re cherished. And slowly but surely they learn that the love behind every kindness, prayer, and donation springs from someone’s faith in a good God — a God who delights in them more than they (or we) will ever fully understand.


So let’s meet some more camp hopefuls. And as you look at their faces and read their interview answers, would you hold each one before the Lord and ask Him to provide not only their means to go to camp, but also eyes to see the King in His beauty and a great measure of faith in Him? And again, should the Lord so lead, would you share this opportunity with others? I would be so deeply grateful, and so would they.



Name: Aibolat Zhaskairatov
Birthday: September 18, 1992
I love: to visit with friends, to go for walks in the evenings, people who understand me.
I love: computers and design.
I know: how to work with photos in Photoshop, computer programming.
I collect:  Islamic religious materials.
I eat: a lot of mante (Central Asian meat dumplings)!
I know how to: prepare food for myself, play.
I read: foreign novels.
I watch: Chinese and Indian movies.
I dream: to find my place in life – to work, have a family, and create a community center for handicapped people.



Name:  Sayat Tleybaev
Birthdate: March 3, 1985
I love: to compose poetry, listen to music.
I know: the history of Kazakhstan.
I like: to do exercises for my arms and legs.
I collect: editions of books by my favorite writers, especially poetry.
I eat: I am a gourmet/foodie! I eat everything that is delicious!
I know how to: sing songs, read poetry.
I read: history, poetry.
I watch: intellectual shows/programs.
I dream: about standing on my legs and walking/ even running!



Name: Artyom Kachikayev
Birthdate: May 8, 1981
I love: to ride on the (new) subway, to watch scary movies.
I know: ghosts.
I like to: watch television.
I collect: trains.
I eat: plov.
I know how to: glue things.
I read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
I watch: The Terminator.
I dream: about inventing a space-time machine and sending it into space.



Name:  Azamat Ayazbaev
Birthday:  October 21, 1996
I love: those close to me.
I know: biology, mathematics.
I do: massage.
I collect: building sets, computers.
I eat: pizza, hamburgers, tea, coke, tomato juice, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes.
I know how to: exaggerate well, come to an agreement.
I read: books.
I watch: fantasies, horror movies, thrillers, action films.
I dream: about learning to walk, about being strong and smart.

Azhara (Azamat’s sister)

-6(Azhara is on the right.)

Azhara Ayazbaeva
Birthday:  July 6, 1994
I love: to go for walks, to make little things.
I know: that I am needed by others.
I do: make little things, write poetry, go for walks.
I collect: stuffed animals.
I eat: mante (dumplings), plov, Swiss rolls, pastries.
I know how to: drive fast, study.
I read: women’s novels, V kontakte statuses (Russian version of Facebook), advertisements.
I dream: of standing on my legs, moving away from Almaty with my husband to a deserted island.

Some of these answers break my heart and others bring pure delight, but they all fill me with deep gratitude for Zhanna and A Friend at All Times, faithfully shining the love of Jesus where no one has bothered to take it before. One day soon I’ll share the story of a young disabled man who responded to that Light and is now a volunteer with the ministry. So beautiful.

And friends? Thank you for grace as I continue to share this series. Your patience and support are a treasure. And for those of you who’ve passed these posts along and shared the opportunity with others? I can’t express how grateful I am. Like me, you may feel your influence is small, but two copper coins go a long, long way in God’s economy. Your voice matters more than you know, and your heart matters so much more. Again, thanks.

* * *

Info for interested donors:

Donations can be made by check or credit card.
Please send checks (any amount appreciated!) to:

P.O. Box 1057
Cordova, TN 38088
901.458.9500 ext 223

Include a separate note indicating the gift is for
“Camp Scholarship, A Friend at All Times, Kazakhstan Young Life”
This category is not available for online giving at Orphanos,
but you can give by credit card at the phone number provided above.

$250 covers the cost of one camper
$200 covers the cost for a mom

Your gifts are tax deductible.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.

Thank you!
(With all my heart.)

photo credit: Catherine Burns



Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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