The New Life for Almaty
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                       19 Dec 2008

   For some, the recently completed apartment buildings represent a dream come true.  All the more, they are located in an upscale district overlooking the city of Almaty.  A large department store is nearby and a well-equipped playground is for the kids.  Those living here are experiencing a new life of comfort, convenience and prestige. 

Other new apartment buildings are located throughout the city, … not as tall … but still they are new and much better than the drab, monotonous and crowded structures of the past.  Gone are the weeds and trash, the cramped parking spaces and the laundry always hanging in the small balconies.  On the other hand, the green, tree-lined streets of the old neighborhoods were nice and the narrow streets prevented people from driving too fast.  However, the playgrounds for the kids were small and poorly maintained.   

Luxury homes are for the few.  Some are located in districts carved out among the office buildings and retail outlet stores.  Behind the high fenced backyards, there is room to park at least three cars and also have a putting green.  For others, people have moved to the suburbs … to the mountain foothills where there is more room to build, less pollution and away from city traffic.  There are those who have moved even farther from the city where all around are green pastures, tree-lined roads and a peaceful tranquility. 

Overlay:  Pray that people will not base happiness and a new life on a luxury home. 

These homes represent a new life for the very wealthy, … a life much different from the past.  No big construction trucks rumbling up the narrow highway, … no concern about places to park their cars.  The crowded, jumbled up neighborhoods of the past were always depressing along with the industrial activity that seemed to encroach upon the homes. 

While many are experiencing this new life, others are still waiting.  Throughout the city, there are partially completed apartment buildings.  In Almaty, as well as other cities of Kazakhstan, the construction has all but stopped … resumption is uncertain.  The money to finance this massive building campaign is gone.  Construction contractors have filed for bankruptcy or just pulled up stakes and left.  All over the country, individuals purchased an apartment flat based on the promise of early completion, … a promise that they could soon move in and experience a new life.  To make the purchase, they sold their old home and borrowed money from the bank and from relatives.  Currently, their loan payments continue but the construction does not.  Nowadays all they have is insurmountable debt, shattered dreams and despair.  Their new life did not happen, their future is uncertain.  They do not know where to turn.  Their hope is gone.   

Construction of large homes in the suburbs has experienced a similar fate.  Many homes remain only partially completed.  The melancholy of the full moon in the late evening seems to underscore the situation in the mountain foothills. Failed businesses and reduced incomes for the wealthy have put their plans on hold. For some, their uncompleted dream home is for sale. … It is not known when their home can be completed.  Their future is uncertain. … The street is empty now. … It is lonely sharing this neighborhood with empty houses.

Overlay Scripture

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. 
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT


Will you earnestly pray that those who have been seeking the “new life” of houses and possessions will truly find the New Life of love, joy and peace through faith in Jesus Christ?    

Overlay: Pray that someone will share Jesus with this family. 

There are a few places around the city that offer true hope; … a hope that these broken ones were not seeking; … a hope for the New Life … a life that does not depend upon circumstances or upon their environment. 

A small sign that points the way identifies one of these places.  The road is narrow, … past a few buses and cars.  There is little room to park and the building is old; in fact, it once was a high school gymnasium.  But, … look around, … there are many people here; … some Russian, others Kazakh.  There are old people, … young people.  They are all coming and going; … little groups talking among themselves; … others greeting strangers. 

Overlay:  Pray that someone will bring them to this place. 

This is a place where people come together regularly to experience the New Life in Jesus Christ.  This is a place where joy is evident; a place where smiles light up faces; a place where acceptance is demonstrated and a place where the focus is Jesus – not self or circumstances.   

 [Several scenes from church worship service with subtitles.]

 Overlay Praise Song: 

You are my way, my truth, my life. 
I will live for You alone. 
You alone, Jesus are the path
 on which I can live.  I will walk with You.

 Overlay Praise Song:

I raise my hands and say to You,
my Lord, how I love You.
My salvation, my hope is in You alone. 
You are the wellspring of my life. 
My joy, my love.  My life is in You. 
I raise my hands in praise
to the One who loves me.



Almaty                        ahl-MAH-tee

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