How the Mercy of God, Not the Mongolian Mountains, Helped a Couple Become Parents After Twenty Years of Childless Marriage

Artist: Steve Hanks Artist: Steve Hanks It is not uncommon for people to come to the faith through sorrow or joy. I would like to share with readers a vivid story from my childhood, which made a strong impression on me and afterwards helped me come to the faith, get baptized and become a church-goer.

Our family was on a business trip to Mongolia in the 1980s. It was in the small town of Erdenet. We had a lot of friends there who we would visit regularly.

Among my parents’ acquaintances there was a married couple, both pediatricians—Mikhail and Lyudmila. They were a beautiful and interesting couple, but childless.

One day Mikhail and Lyudmila invited some close friends to their home; they said they would reveal a secret to all of them… Everyone was intrigued. They imagined various things, but no one hit the nail on the head.

Mikhail, an adult man who went in for sports, laughed and cried like a child. He now stood up, now sat down while sharing the secret with us:

“Lyudmila and I have been married for over twenty years now. We got married in our first year at university. We have always dreamed of a big, closely-knit family, with both daughters and sons, with a lot of noise and fun at home. We so wanted to hear children's laughter! But the doctors diagnosed infertility. We went to various sanitariums, underwent mud therapy and all kinds of other procedures. We saw the most famous doctors, and my wife courageously did various tests, some of which were painful—but it was all in vain.

“Three years ago we moved to Mongolia. Before that, there had been business trips to Latin America and Africa. And now Lyuda1 is in her first trimester. We didn’t tell anyone earlier because we couldn't believe it and were afraid it was a mistake. The first months of pregnancy are very sensitive and complicated. The gynecologist said that if we managed to get through the first three months, then we wouldn't have to worry anymore.”

Silence began to reign after such a speech. Even we, the children, stopped joking and laughing, somehow feeling the importance of what had been said, intuitively realizing that we had come into contact with a miracle.

After a few minutes the hospitable hosts were bombarded with questions.

Lyudmila was shining with happiness:

“I had never thought that I, a physician and the author of several scientific articles, would utter the word ‘miracle’. But I can't call it otherwise! I have a grandmother who is a long-liver. Twenty years ago she said that she would pray for me in front of an icon of the Most Holy Mother of God. She believed in the mercy of the Lord and His Most Pure Mother. I showed understanding, thinking that she was an elderly woman and these were remnants of the past…

“But what has happened to us demonstrates that my religious grandmother was right: the mercy and love of the Lord are always with us. So many years of treatment and hope... Now we are both almost forty years old, and in six months we will become the happiest mother and father.”

Everyone congratulated the couple, saying kind and beautiful words. Then the guests tried to “figure out” what exactly had helped Lyudmila get pregnant. They suggested many different explanations: One of them assumed that a change of climate had had a wholesome effect on the woman's body, another one supposed that the presence of mountains and a slightly high radioactivity level had played a role, while others believed that the treatment, albeit belatedly, had borne fruit at last.

Lyudmila put a crystal glass of homemade fruit drink on the table and said seriously:

“I see only one explanation: It’s neither the mountains, nor the climate, nor the Gobi Desert. It’s a miracle. My grandmother turned out to be much smarter than me. She always said that we would have a child, because the Lord and His Most Pure Mother are merciful. But until recently I stubbornly believed that since the doctors had diagnosed infertility, no prayers could help. Foolishly, I equated my grandmother’s earnest prayers with the spells of various psychics who ‘cure’ childlessness with a decoction of a cat’s tail or by sprinkling ashes on the bed! As soon as my pregnancy was confirmed, we immediately called my grandmother. I cried with joy and then, of course, I apologized for being skeptical about her words about God and faith. I thanked her.

“But, nevertheless, my Komsomol upbringing affected me. At the end of the conversation, I asked my grandmother why the Lord had sent us a baby only twenty years later, if she had started praying earlier. My wise grandmother replied that I would understand it myself. Now I know that getting ready to become a mother at my age (over thirty-five), when all attempts to cure infertility did not help; when, according to all biological laws, the chances of getting pregnant even for a very healthy woman decline, is a miracle of God. This is the power and mercy of the Lord. I recall how my grandmother once told me a chapter from the Gospel about how the elderly holy Prophet Zachariah and the holy Righteous Elizabeth became the parents of the holy Prophet John the Baptist, and how the Archangel Gabriel announced the Good News to the Virgin Mary… Before confirming my pregnancy, the doctors had ruled out uterine fibroids and cancer, re-examining everything and repeating tests many times, and only then did they tell me the good news: ‘Believe it or not, but marvel—you will be a mother.’ When I asked them how it was possible, they smiled and said that such a phenomenon could only be called a miracle, as they could not explain it from a scientific point of view.”

The whole town of Erdenet followed the events in their family. Everyone offered their help, gave children’s clothes and toys. Lyudmila’s husband walked with her before going to bed, bought groceries himself and cooked only healthy food intended for expectant mothers.

After a while, the couple went to Moscow for the birth. In due time, a beautiful, healthy boy was born.

Later, the happy parents sent us a long letter: after a month and a half, the baby was baptized with the name Zakhary (Zachariah).

At that time, the authorities began to return monasteries and churches to the Russian Orthodox Church, and many people began to go to church for confession and Communion. Mikhail and Lyudmila converted to the faith as well.

Alexandra Gripas
Translation by Dmitry Lapa


1 A diminutive form of the name Lyudmila.—Trans.

Anysia5/16/2024 8:38 am
Glory to God! His timing is perfect and beyond our understanding.
Arcipreste Rafael de Queiroz5/15/2024 11:44 pm
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