I have been on a total 24 hour high because of some news I received. Rimma Palangian was saved yesterday. I guess I should not be any happier than when any other lost person comes to know the Lord. But Rimma was different. Her case was special to me.
I met her when I enrolled in UTA to take Russian language classes. She was my professor, and she was unlike any other college professor I ever had. I instantly fell in love with her. She was hard yet caring, and would push each student to the limits of their learning capacity. She was tough, and many people would drop her classes. But there was a softer underbelly that would occasionally show itself to her students.
Rimma had a very hard life. She was born in Soviet Russia and worked as a translator for the KGB. She and her husband smuggled themselves out and came to America where they both taught foreign languages at the university level. Rimma was adamant in her disbelief in God. Maybe it was because of the oppression and poverty she came from in Russia. Maybe it was because she had seen and experienced so much pain in her life. From the brutal murder of her mother, to numerous abortions, to having her husband and soul mate become sick and live in a vegetative state for years, she never saw any evidence of the presence of a loving God who is in control. She and I would spend hours talking about Jesus, and just “agree to disagree” every time. So I decided to pray for her religiously and love her through it. There is something about the power of love that can break through the hardest heart.
Her husband Jack died and I was blessed to be asked to give the funeral. That is when I started seeing cracks in the hardened exterior of Rimma. Because now the question of eternity and life after death were things to be seriously considered. I kept praying and loving her, even when she many times just plain pissed me off.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27 (NKJ)
Rimma has been sick lately and in a lot of pain. I make trips to her house as often as I can just to visit, listen to her talk, breathe her second hand cigarette smoke, and remind her how much God loves her and is waiting on her. Yesterday my friend Jayne and I met at her house. We were there to just love her, and nothing more. Jayne went and got her tacos. We watched her eat and talked about who would be waiting for her on the other side and what existence would be like with our new, young, spiritual bodies. Rimma went to sleep, so we left. Jayne is an extremely sensitive person where the leading of God is concerned, and she felt like she should go back later and have a conversation just between the two of them. Jayne led her to the Lord, and Rimma was saved with many tears and great joy. Praise God!
So What’s The Point?
“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
“Pray one for another…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 (NKJ)
I started praying for Rimma four years ago. It is easy to stop praying when we don’t see immediate results, or we start believing the lie that it does no good anyway. Prayer works. It is an amazing weapon of our warfare, and a great way to move God.
"The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent". 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
How is your prayer life? Do you pray consistently? Are your prayers strong? Have you given up on your unsaved loved ones? Do you feel like there is a glass ceiling between you and God, and that He doesn’t listen to you? He does, you know!
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)
Happy Birthday Rimma, or should I say “C Dnyom Rozhdenya”. Yesterday you became my sister in Christ. And there are a lot of people who are celebrating with us.
“In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Luke 15:10 (NLT)
Thank You Jesus!