Alex was standing by the metal gate of a homeless shelter which had just shut before his face. The worker told him that because he is not a Russian citizen and does not have any documentation on him to show his identity, they couldn’t let him in.
It was a cold February night. Winters in Russia are merciless. Alex was cold and hungry, he hadn’t bathed in weeks and he ate what he found on the streets. He slept in abandoned buildings in below zero temperatures, it was a miracle he was still alive.
Alex blankly stared at the gate for a while, then slowly turned around not knowing where to go next. The homeless shelter was the last resort he knew of. In the distance Alex saw a pharmacy. The decision was made. He whispered into the universe, “You let me live for 21 years, allow me to give my life back to You”. Alex made his way to the pharmacy to get a syringe. He planned to use this syringe to send an air bubble into his vein to stop his heart. The circumstances of his whole life were merciless and although Alex was a fighter, this time he’d had enough.
How life began.
Alex was a long awaited child. His mother had two girls and now with her new husband, was awaiting Alex’s arrival. The pregnancy was very difficult. Alex’s parents had a challenging marriage; arguments and alcohol was part of family life which affected Alex’s growth in the womb.
Alex was born with Hydrocephalus, causing progressive enlargement of the head. As a baby he had frequent convulsions and near death experiences. Alex’s mother would not allow doctors to drain the fluid from her little boys brain. Intuitively she knew that Alex would not have a chance of survival if she let doctors drill her sons head.
When Alex had convulsions his mother would hold him close to her heart and cry out into the Universe for help.
Alex lived but because of his enlarged head he was bullied and ridiculed by people, children and adults alike. Life at home wasn’t much better. Alex’s father got into trouble with the law and was imprisoned for years. The Soviet Union collapsed and although Alex’s home country, Tajikistan, got its independence, it fell into civil war as a radical Islamic movement wanted to take over the country. As a consequence, Tajikistan experienced political and economic devastation and people started leaving the country to look for jobs abroad. Due to a lack of jobs and resources, Alex’s mother became a victim of commercial sexual exploitation in order to provide for her three small children. Now Alex and his sisters were also bullied because their mother was a prostitute and their father was in prison. Alex and his sisters were growing up in a brothel. At his young age, Alex experienced what no child should ever experience.
Alex dropped out of school to work in order to support his family. His sisters did the same. The streets were raising Alex with its values and morals. His mom began drinking heavily due to hopelessness, devastating pain and shame.
Alex lost his mom to liver cirrhosis when she was only 42. Alex had just turned 14.
The death of his mom scarred Alex for life, something that he thinks he will never recover from. Alex started drinking and smoking, got involved with the wrong crowd and participated in a robbery. He had just turned 18 years old when he was imprisoned. In a developed country his crime would have resulted in community service but in Tajikistan Shia law rules so the sentence Alex received was 14 years in prison. By a mere miracle Alex was assigned a lawyer who defended his case and got the sentence down to 7 years. For an 18 year old boy so wounded and broken, prison meant the end. He was placed in a prison with hardened criminals and spent the next years fighting to gain the respect of these men through fighting, selling drugs and any other means necessary.
Not everything about prison was bad though because it was in prison that Alex had a true divine encounter which turned his life around. Later on Alex was granted an amnesty and was able to leave prison after 3 years. He tried to get back on his feet but everything in his city reminded him of all the pain he had endured years earlier. His childhood, the streets, the death of his mom, the same friends and of course the prison.
Alex decided to leave Tajikistan and in 2011 made his way to Russia where unfortunately things only got worse. Russia is notorious for racial discrimination and people from Tajikistan are disliked especially. Very often people from Tajikistan end up doing the most dirty and difficult jobs, living in horrible conditions like on a construction site during winter. For a while Alex worked on a construction site and had to change his job a few times due to racial discrimination. Furthermore, the employer can simply choose to not pay the employee. There is nothing the employee can do as more often than not, many work in Russia illegally without necessary papers which are very difficult to obtain.
At one point Alex was left without a job, his passport or any money. It was winter and Alex had lived on the streets for a while. It is a miracle he stayed alive as so many homeless people in Russia die in winter due to the harsh weather conditions. Just when Alex felt he’d put enough effort into making his life work and was about to give up, he met two strangers on the streets who changed his perspective. That was the day when Alex was making his way to that pharmacy after the gates of a homeless shelter closed in front of him. These two strangers stopped him, talked to him and gave him money to get him on his feet.
Alex’s hope renewed as he was reminded that someone is watching over him.
Road to Renewal.
Alex’s road to renewal was not easy and it was long. He spent 4 years in Russia trying to make his way in this world. At one point he ended up as a victim of human trafficking himself, but for now I cannot go into the details as Alex is not ready to talk about it.
Alex returned to his home country in 2014 and began his journey to renewal and recovery. “Invest in a life” ministry has been working with Alex for many years now on and off. There was a time when I lost all connection with Alex and times when he chose a certain path that I could not walk with him. But I have rescued Alex from many dangerous situations – jails, different countries he ended up and times when he was held hostage by a gang who demanded money for his life. “Invest in a life” has spent thousands of dollars bringing Alex to where he is now.
Alex and I go back far and it has been a difficult journey. One with a lot of pain, tears, prayers, time and money spent.
I was there when Alex lost his mom, I was there when Alex was in prison, I was there when Alex was on the streets of Moscow and I am standing by him while Alex is in Tajikistan developing and growing as a man. I will always be here seeing him heal and thrive and give back to this world.
Invest In A Life.
This is what “Invest in a life” is all about. Love that never gives up, love that reaches the unreachable, love that loves until it hurts, really hurts and love that gives all.
Working with people who are so broken requires guts. You will be lied to, stolen from, manipulated and probably hurt but that is the life some of us have chosen.
Every person I’ve worked with is alive and on their way to recovery. But not only that, these people will become catalysts of positive change in the nations as they bring their stories to life. It is so often that the most painful experiences of our lives become the areas we become the strongest, which enables us to minister love and healing to others.
This is my Legacy, what is yours?
P.S if you want to become a part of Alex’s life and invest in his life, get in touch with me to find out how.