“Why is God killing my child?”
The Russian mother asked as she looked into my eyes. I didn’t know what to say. Another mother asked, “Why does God allow innocent babies to suffer and die?”
My heart broke as I listened to these mothers sobbing.
"FAITH: The Abyss We All Face" is a true story of one man’s journey to the literal “Ends of the Earth” where time after time, he heard these and similar questions.
Dr. Bill Becknell has wrestled with the tragic cries of brokenness, pain and suffering in himself and others. They are everywhere, and they challenge our faith. There are no clichés or trite answers to these difficult questions. But despite extreme hardships, pain, brokenness, sacrifices, miracles and even near-death experiences along this road, he found an unexpected treasure… JOY!
No matter how difficult the circumstances, the pain, and the brokenness, God has an unfailing Love that is beyond comprehension.
Brokenness and sorrow are a part of living, and no one can change that. What we do about tragedy in our lives is an issue of faith. "FAITH" is written to encourage all believers not to be afraid to step out into the unknown “abyss of faith.” Non-Believers may also find the stories apply to their lives, because “faith” is something everyone has.
There is no greater JOY than following Jesus, even if He leads you to the “Ends of the Earth.”
When Bill decided to leave the USA and move to Russia, our family was crushed. It was like a death for us and we thought he had gone insane and that we would probably never see him again. When he left his medical practice, he had arranged everything so carefully that there was no turning back for him. He sold or gave away everything he owned. We cried often and our family talked about it for years. It felt like he had died. Only now, more than 20 years later do we understand and rejoice as we see the Hand of God in Bill's decision to follow God. It was impossible for our family to understand when it happened. Only God could see the future from Bill's obedience, and what God did with it is truly amazing. But, after all, we do serve an amazing miracle working God, if we have faith. -- Dough and Nancy Hopkins, Brother-in-law and sister
For over 25 years it has been my joy and privilege to help people share their faith stories on national television as co-host of 100 Huntley Street, Canada's longest running daily talk show. Dr. Bill Becknell is one of my favorites! The Chief of Surgery at his local hospital in Kentucky was in a place of brokenness when God reminded him of a promise he made years earlier in a life-threatening crisis. He owned 5 Kentucky farms, 250 head of Registered Angus Cattle, a Jaguar, a Cadillac, a pickup truck, and his own airplane. In 1993 he sold it all to share the love of God with unreached people in Russia through medical evangelism. Dr. Becknell soon drove a new vehicle. I think of him as a true Santa who often delivers medical kits by reindeer-drawn sleigh to people who live above the Arctic Circle!
Agape Medical Center, Agape Farm, Agape Guesthouse, Orphan Half Way House, Home for Unwed Mothers, church plants and Russian Hallelulia (an interdenominational gathering for fellowship and worship imported from Kentucky)--no wonder today it is Agape Unlimited-Russia! What a thrill to have this story so beautifully told and with pictures--a portrait of the Apostle Paul's encouragement:
"Everything that we have--right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start--comes from God by way of Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:28, The Message). -- Moira Brown, Co-host of 100 Huntley Street, Crossroads Christian Communications, Inc., Canada
Dr. Bill Becknell is one of my heroes in the faith.
As a 14-year old boy, "Dr. Bill" promised God he'd go to the "ends of the earth" with the Gospel. Thirty-five years later, he kept that promise when he left a successful surgical practice in Manchester, Kentucky. He sold or gave away all of his possessions, his cattle farms, his fancy car, and private plane. He packed all he owned into 13 boxes and flew to Russia, even though he didn't know a single Russian and couldn't speak the language. There he founded Agape Unlimited--Russia, and began medical outreaches to villages above the Arctic Circle.
Dr. Bill travels by snowmobile, reindeer sleigh, truck and helicopter to reach people who have never seen a doctor or heard about Jesus. Shepherds have told him that they've been waiting all their lives for someone to explain to them about the "god" who made the stars they see at night.
Every trip is a story. He reaches prisoners who cut holes in the ice so they can be baptized, shepherds who have never seen a Bible, and Nenets (Eskimos) who travel across the tundra in search of pasture for their reindeer herds.
He never talks of slowing down--only what still needs to be done.
Dr. Bill founded Russia's first Christian health clinic that reaches more than 10,000 patients a year. When Agape acquired a farm in 2011, it didn't take long for him to envision a place for children aging out of orphanages, a guest house on the farm for children facing surgery or chemotherapy in Moscow, and a home for pregnant moms who want to keep their babies.
His story is packed with adventure and intrigue, but most of all it's packed with radical faith in our great God. -- Ruth Schenk, Correspondent/Staff Writer, Southeast Christian Church Outlook, Louisville, KY
From 1993, Dr. Bill Becknell has devoted his life to Russia. A surgeon, Dr. Bill gave up his practice in the U.S. to serve Christ in Russia. It was a privilege for my late husband, Peter, and me to meet Dr. Bill soon after he arrived in Moscow and began the AGAPE ministry. How greatly God has blessed Dr. Bill's faithfulness over the past 21 years. AGAPE has sponsored hundreds of mobile medical expeditions across Russia. Since 2005, the Agape Clinic, which Dr. Bill founded, has cared for 429,563 patients. AGAPE has helped provide education for many Russian health care professionals. In 2011, Dr. Bill started the Agape Farm near Moscow, where hundreds of children attend Bible camps and other gospel outreach is happening. FAITH recounts not only the amazing ways God has used Agape, but reveals the power of one life, committed to Christ and HIs kingdom. -- Dr. Anita Deyneka, Co-founder of Russian Ministries and director of A Home for Every Orphan
I have been privileged to know Dr. Bill Becknell (or Dr. Bill as our family calls him) for over 20 years. From the early days of his ministry in Russia, he would come to Helsinki, Finland, where we lived for medical supplies. Dr. Bill's story is unique, exciting and shows how God takes to heart the promises we give Him--and how God keeps His promises to guide, protect, and to bless us in our obedience to Him--even to the "Top of the Earth."
Dr. Bill's story is riveting, entertaining--and true. It could be fiction except that it is true! The reader will travel alongside Dr. Bill as he traverses the frozen wastelands of the high Russian Arctic in a reindeer sleigh and be with him as he ministers to the people living in these remote places. A unique and exciting read! -- Ari Uotila, World Vision Canada
My father and I have always been close. Even though he was a busy dad studying for medical school when I was young, he always made time to do things with me. We would look at things together under his microscope he used in his studies, played with Hot Wheels cars and had race tracks set up all over the living room (I was never much of one for dolls!) and climb up on the garage roof to look at the stars at nights. Even when he was busy studying, I would sit at his large study table with him and make things with paper, scissors and tape like party hats for my white pet rat Squeaky he snuck home from the lab for me.
After going through a series of tragedies and a very difficult time in his life, Dad announced he felt the Lord calling him into missions and particularly to Russia. Most family and friends thought he had flipped his lid. I knew my Dad had a very close and personal relationship with the Lord and I was not all that surprised by his calling and knew he was willing to go and do whatever the Lord asked of him. The hard part was knowing how much we would miss him and how very far away he would be! I was married by this time and we had a son, Trevor, who was only 2 years old when his Grandpa left to go to "the ends of the earth" to take the gospel to those who had never heard the name of Jesus and of his saving grace and love for them. He sold everything he had and went to a country halfway around the world where he knew no one and couldn't even speak the language and trusted God to show him the way--what faith!
It was hard not being able to pick up the phone and call or see him on special family occasions, but I always knew he was where God wanted him and even though we missed him terribly, he was doing the work God had laid before him and he was making a difference in people's lives for eternity. Today, Trevor loves his Grandpa dearly, and even though they don't get to spend as much as time together as they would like, they are very close. Today we are very grateful for the improvements in technology which allow us to be able to talk by phone and internet much more easily (and cheaper!) today than when he first went 20+ years ago!
I will never forget the very first pictures Dad sent to us from one of his medical mission trips up above the Arctic Circle with the Nenets people. They lived in animal skin teepees out on the tundra and herded reindeer. Before he left, my husband Louis and I would tease Dad about being so cold natured--he would come to visit and, even though it was 70 degrees outside, he would have on a T-shirt, long-sleeve denim shirt and his leather "bomber" jacket and would still be cold. So the first time he sent those pictures from above the Arctic Circle, I thought, "This cannot be my Dad!" But, along with taking care of all the other details, God even adjusted his internal thermostat and somehow he survived! How we have enjoyed his tales of all the miracles and many ways God has led and provided for him along his journey of faith! So thankful for God's love and provision for him! Now, some 20+ years later, it is so amazing to look back and see what God has done and how many lives have been touched for eternity through the obedience and love of one man and I am very proud and blessed to call him my father. -- Shawn Tucker, Daughter
At the ICMDA conference for Christian doctors in Norway 1994, we met a colleague with a vision to reach minority people in Russia. He was giving them healthcare and the Love of God. We got to know a man with a conviction to go on God's call. During twenty years, we saw more and more of Dr. Bill Becknells visions come true. In all the different situations, Bill asks God for the right way to go. His amazing book is about the "faith" to follow God to the "Ends of the Earth." This book is an encouragement for all Christians.
Through the years we have met Bill both in Sweden and Russia. The results of Bills work really impress us. -- Dr. Rune and Kerstin Bjoerke', Borlange Sweden, Dr. Goeran and Gudrun Klemetz, Falun Sweden, Lars-Ake and Elisabeth Lundquist, Stockholm Sweden
I met Dr. Bill Becknell in 1995 at the International Christian Chamber of Commerce in Sweden where he was a speaker. After listening to him talk about the Agape ministry in Russia, I decided to participate in an expedition. After that expedition Agape, Germany was formed as a German partner to support the work in Russia. It has been an amazing adventure to see all that God has done through Bill.
From my point of view, Bill is a really brave soldier. His life was, is and will always be a battle for the Lord. This book is about his battles of "faith" and will be an encouragement to everyone who reads it. -- Ingeborg Fuhrhop-Stetzler, President, Agape Germany