By Mark Ellis and Dr. Claus Hecht
Filled with despair, a Russian Buddhist woman attempted to take her own life. But Jesus appeared to her in a dream offering new hope and peace, and the beginning of a new life in Christ.
According to a report by SEND International, Yulia was raised by educated Buddhist parents living in Russia. By local standards, they were making it. Her family regularly visited the local shrine to worship and pay their respects to Buddha. Although her father was an engineer and her mother a biochemist, Yulia failed to get an education and did not enjoy her job cleaning houses.
When her father died suddenly, her mother slid into a spiral of depression, alcoholism, and abuse. Day after day, fights and arguments ensued and there were more and more problems. One day, when Yulia was 21, her mother — in a fit of drunken rage — told her to leave. Her mother’s last hateful words were, “Just leave. I don’t even care. And if you die, I won’t even cry.”
In the depths of her despair, Yulia did an accounting of her life. Her mother told her she did not care and her so-called friends abandoned her at the time of her greatest need. She had no education and hated her job. So she decided to take her life.
Suicidal brush with death
Yulia stood alone in her small drab bedroom. With some rope she found, Yulia fashioned together a crudely tied noose, which she hung from a bare rafter in the center of the room. She stacked a small side table on top of her dresser and began to climb up to grab the noose and place it around her neck.
She thought about her friends who stopped by earlier in the day. Their faces betrayed their knowledge of her pain, but rather than staying to talk, they left her alone.
She was more alone now than when her mother had kicked her out of the house. The voices in her head kept telling her how useless and unloved she was and that life was not worth living.
As Yulia balanced on top of the table, thoughts of condemnation, doubt, and depression filled her mind. Suddenly, her mother walked into her room and saw the furniture and the noose. She confronted Yulia and cried out for her to stop.