My very first trip to Minsk involved speaking at an English club. I was put into a classroom with six Belarusian students, four of whom were named Tanya. It was my frirst trip out of the US and even my first trip on a plane. So young and eager and naive. I didn’t know what to do but call them Tanya 1,2,3, & 4. Now, twelve years later, I met two ladies who were both named Valya or Valentina. Valya 1, I noticed as soon as I walked into the small basement room of a church. Her bright blue eyes were shining with kindness and as my friend introduced me, she beemed a welcoming smile at me and bid me hello. I watched her as my friend shared some words of encouragement for those gathered. There were twenty of Minsk’s less fortunate who had come to eat lunch. I saw her eyes well up with tears as a passage of scripture was shared and Sasha talked of God loving and caring for us as a father does his child. I saw her wipe her friends tears and nose. Then I watched as she got up and helped serve all others bread, tea, a hot cereal with some sausage. She then helped Valya 2, eat and drink their meal. As the meal came to a close I met several of those there to eat and those helping. Then I caught her eye. She came up to me and I gave her a hug. She burst into tears and we held hands and chatted for a few minutes as I learned how Valya 2 is unable to lift her hands, which if you give it a try makes life incredibly difficult. So her friend helps with even the most basic everyday events. I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of friend that I hope to be and have. What a beautiful testimony of love. I am hoping to see these sweet friends again soon and learn more of their stories. In your prayers, won’t you remember these two precious ladies as they struggle through some of life’s hardships.