The Hands of Man
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                       15 Dec 2008


 Standing high, at the entrance of Republic Square in Almaty, Kazakhstan, is the Independence Monument with a reminder of the Golden Warrior, … a symbol of the ancient civilization that once lived here.  At the foot of the statue are two ponies with young riders symbolizing the future of the Republic of Kazakhstan.  Surrounding the backside of this large monument are several stone relief carvings depicting the Kazakh history beginning with the time of the Golden Warrior. The focus, however, is an imprint of a hand, … the hand of President Nazarbayev.  A favorite place for young people as they attempt to feel the presence of this visionary leader of the Republic … one who led the country even before independence. The promise given on the book in three languages is: “choose and be in bliss!” 

Perhaps the best-loved place for all ages is Panfilov Park so named in honor of General Panfilov who commanded the Kazakh regiment during WWII. This is a place for enjoyment, … an opportunity to ride a horse drawn carriage around the Holy Ascension Cathedral, … to feed the pigeons … and, to watch the people enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon. … For some, it is a place to share a little of their wealth with others.  Sometimes setting up the food stands is difficult. But it seems to be a joy for the one playing the accordion in hopes of a small donation.  

Often, people come to these parks to visit with others, to stroll around the beautiful, well-landscaped grounds … or, … perhaps, … to spend time alone while ignoring the crowd.

Our prayer is that as people visit the parks and monuments of Almaty they will see the hand of the Creator … God Almighty. 

Overlay: Pray for eyes to be open to the TRUTH 

The focus of this park is to remind people of wars of the past, … the first and second world wars.  For those here and throughout the former Soviet Union, World War II is known as “The Great Patriotic War”. Young people often spend time around the eternal flame; … some are curious, … some understand … but others seem to be lost in the moment.  This is also a place to gather to pose for pictures … an effort to associate their presence with the momentous events of the past. 

Our prayer is that they will sense the hand of God rather than the hand of man and will have a desire to seek the TRUTH. 

Overlay: Pray for hearts to be open to the TRUTH 

Throughout the city there are more reminders of the past, … poets, scholars, inspirational leaders … all of which appear larger than life to the citizens of this young nation.  Nonetheless, it is difficult to find representations of Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. … He believed that there is no God and began a systematic and brutal destruction of religions throughout the Soviet Union. 

Today, the True Word of God is difficult to find among the symbols that have come to identify the new Kazakhstan. Instead, the symbols of Islam and of Imperial Russian Orthodoxy are substituted for the TRUE Light of the world.    

It is our prayer that they will come to trust in the one true Savior and be held in His Hand. May they place their hand in His hand and follow a new path.

 Fade in with Salem church singing …

 Overlay:  I raise my hands and say to You, my Lord, how I love You.





Panfilov                        pahn-FEE-luv

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