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Travel report from Kazakhstan | Ulf Ekman
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Trogna katoliker på stäppen

Faithful Catholics on the steppe

In the beginning of July we flew to Kazakhstan. We had received an invitation to come, by Arch Bishop Tomash Peta of Astana. It was very interesting to be able to travel with the Arch Bishop to different places in this great nation and to see how the Catholic Church works here. We met wonderful servants of the Lord, ministering to people both in the city and way out on the steppe. Meeting the faithful Catholics in the little village of Osornoye especially moved us. Here a miracle happened in the winter of 1941 when the Polish villagers were starving. After weeks of fervent prayer an unusual thing happened – the snow suddenly melted and the smelt water created a lake – teeming with fish! This saved their lives. God is so good!

We also met a nun who alone, or sometimes together with a volunteer, spends her life helping to rehabilitate drug addicts and alcoholics. We were so touched by her self-sacrifice, living in a cottage farm on the steppe. How do you do this, we asked. Ora et labora (work and pray) was her simple answer. Amazing.

In the Cathedral of Astana the Bishop arranged a spontaneous meeting after mass, in a small hall. He asked us to share to the faithful our journey of faith. A group of Word of Life members from Almaty were also there, and it was good to talk to them and answer a few questions.