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September 18, 2004

Two Familes in Beslan

I've been avoiding, in large part, reading the news and looking at pictures from Beslan. It just hurts too much and is too "close" for me. . .

So, this is a warning--if you don't want to read about it, start scrolling now.

We have dear friends who serve in Moscow, but have ties to Beslan. This is from an e-mail we received from Steve and Marti this week:

"We minister in Moscow, Russia. Beslan, a city in North Osetia, is about a 40 hour train ride south of Moscow, close to the Black Sea, Chechnia, and north of the country of Georgia. Most of the regions around North Osetia are Muslim, but North Osetia has a large population of Orthodox Christians, and also some Evangelicals. Down the street from Beslan School #1 is Evangelical Baptist Church. Most of the children in that church go to School#1. The two pastors had their children in that school.

The Youth Director in the Baptist Church, a year ago, graduated from our Moscow based training program for Youth Ministers, "Perspektiva". Our pastors Yuri P., and Lance C., went to Beslan to mentor the youth minister, and while there they stayed in one of the pastor's homes.

When the tradgedy happened several people from our Moscow office went down to Beslan to give support and comfort. Following, is their report.

"Pastor Taymuraz Totiev and his wife Ria had 5 children.

Larissa, 14 years old - killed
Luba, 12 years old, killed
Albina, 11 years old - killed
Boris, 8 years old - killed

A daughter named Magina was found, released from the hospital, and is recovering at home.

The other pastor, (they are brothers and live next to each other):

Paster Sergei Totiev and his wife Bela had three chldren:

Dzerassa, 15 years old - killed
Anna, 9 years old - killed

A son named Azamat, 12 years old, is in the hospital and is being treated for severe eye injury in both eyes.

Our colleagues, Paul and Nedezhda, traveled to Beslan to take part in the memorial service at the Totiev's home and they gave a very moving report of what took place.

The Totiev brothers live in houses next to each other. Between 1,500-2000 people gathered in front of their homes, including many Christians who came from other areas to support the Totievs who ae loved very much. Neighbors of the Totieve family told them with tears in their eyes, "You lost your children, but we feel like they were our children too. They were shining lights on our street" [referring to their good behavior and helpful spirit}. Others in the crown began cursing and vowed to take revenge against the terrorists. Pastor Sergei Totiev, who lost two children in the siege, sttod up at the end of the service and said, "Yes, we have an irreplaceable loss, but we cannot take revenge. As Christians, the Bible teaches us that we must forgive. Vengeance is in God's hands."

This was the most powerful sermon and witness that has perhaps ever been heard in that community. The crown was very moved by what Pastor Totieve said. Truly the Totiev children who were killed are still shining lights in their community even as they lay in their caskets".

This information was sent to us from Moscow, and I hope will fill you in on some of the details about the hurting Christians in Beslan. The church also lost a deacon and many children in the massacre.

Pray with us for these dear fellow believers that lost those dearest to them.

If you want to read a news story with more detail, I recommend this one.


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Thank you for this post - I had heard of this tragedy but this makes it so much more real than what I hear on the news. Today, Oprah had a segment on her show about Beslan's story. My heart goes out to those many families so deeply affected by this cruel, cowardly act of terrorism. May God's light shine even brighter in a terrible darkness.

Posted by: Andrea at September 23, 2004 11:41 PM

Thank you for that report. In addition to prayer, what can we do to help our brothers and sisters there? We are familiar with a humanitarian group who is planning to respond, but I would like to be part of the Body in responding to the needs. Thanks.

Posted by: christy sattler at September 24, 2004 08:36 PM

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