“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4,5)
Our good friend and MP Christian Worker, Alexander “Sasha” Cherednichenko, passed away November 12, 2016 from complications of colon cancer. Chaplain Sasha, born April 5, 1954, was 62 years old. He left behind his wife Luba, daughter Dasha, and foster children whom they raised as their own. Chaplain Sasha was originally from Kramatorsk, Ukraine. As a rebellious teen, he went to prison in 1968 at 14 years old for assault and robbery.
Sasha Sentenced to Death
Sasha’s life of crime continued, and at 22 years of age he was sentenced to death. In 1982, however, his sentence was reduced to 15 years in a maximum security facility with another three years added for attacking guards. Nine years later, in 1991 at age 37, he found Christ and repented of his sins, and experienced a dramatic life change. A Mercy Projects team of Russian missionaries visited Sasha’s prison and began to disciple him. By 1997, he was released for good behavior. He joined our team of Russian chaplains in 1999 and became “Chaplain Sasha” to all who knew him.
Sasha lived in the southern Russia region of Stavropol near Chechnya. His reputation as a hardened criminal preceded him and he was always humbly aware of his past life. Sasha, fearless as always, reported briefly from this Muslim region in 2003:
“Praise to the Lord that He has shown us His mercy and I was able to visit brothers with whom I served my sentence in prison. On our way to the city of Nalchik, we had to stop at eight checkpoints. We witnessed for Jesus at every one of them. What’s interesting is that the Muslims are more willing to listen to our message than the Russians.”
In 2005, Sasha returned to his hometown in Ukraine and shared this story:
“The Lord blessed me with a journey to Kramatorsk–the town of my childhood. I desired to visit the people who had suffered because of my crimes. I wanted to ask them for forgiveness. I met them, asked for forgiveness, and witnessed about Jesus Christ. I also visited an old friend and fellow criminal named Shevchenko. Only we two are alive from our previous criminal gang. He was surprised to see me alive as there were rumours that I had been executed. I told him about Jesus and he repented and accepted Jesus Christ.”
In 2009 Sasha reported God’s healing from cirrhosis:
“Dear brothers and sisters, I want to share my joy about my health. After my last treatment in hospital, my doctors were surprised by my progressive recovery. The liver cirrhosis was stopped. The doctors say that if I continue in my health recovery then I have chances to get a complete cure from the hepatitis. I still need 24 injections and I ask for your prayers.”
Earlier this year, he and Luba visited this lonely grandmother:
“The woman, living with her son who has Down Syndrome, was in bed for 9 months. No medical help was provided; no hospital would take her. I visited her and then asked the hospital chief and the doctors to see her. I told them, ‘The way you treat others is the same treatment you will get when you get old.’ Our team visited this widow again and she told us that after Sasha’s visit the doctors treated her and today she can walk!”
Sasha spent his final months at home with his family. Luba cared for him and will carry on the ministry. Mercy Projects continues to sponsor Luba. The Lord has now said to Sasha, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
Firewood For Widows has been fulfilled. Thank you so much!
Winter Camp has been fulfilled as well. Praise the Lord. A generous sponsor will provide the balance needed for 70 young people to grow in grace and faith this January at camp.
School Backpacks ($25ea) – Only 300 backpacks are still needed ($7500). We are excited to be so close to fulfilling the hopes of so many at-risk children to have a special Christmas gift.
As you help this Christmas, please remember Chaplain Sasha’s wife Luba in your prayers. We plan to send her extra funds to assist their ministry during the holidays. Thank you for sharing your blessings with at-risk children this Christmas and throughout the year. We wish you a very Merry Christmas!