- As a medical student in Ukraine, Marshaline Anand experienced a foreboding dream a month before the Russian invasion.
- Amid the disturbing scenes she saw, she also heard a voice reassuring her.
- It wasn’t the first time in her life that she had a vivid sense of God communicating with her.
Marshaline Anand had been studying in Ukraine as a medical student when she had a strange dream in January 2022.
She was standing in one place, and everything around her was being destroyed. Trees were burning, buildings were collapsing. She felt afraid. A giant hand reached down and lifted her up to a high place. From there, she could see the continuing destruction.
She began speaking with the hand, weeping and crying. Suddenly she heard a voice. “Why are you afraid? Don’t worry. I will always be with you.”
When she awoke, she realized her face was covered with tears, but she said she felt happy, convinced that she had heard God’s voice.
She immediately called her mom, but her mother was calling her at the same time. Each of them said to the other: I need to say something important. “The dream (was) the same for me and my mom at the same time,” Anand said.
A month later, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Anand shared the story during an interview at Bishkek United Methodist Church, which she attends while studying as a medical student in Kyrgyzstan. The story is one of two testimonies that she shared, both illustrating the relationship that she has cultivated with God from an early age.
She had shared her testimony with others at the church, said the Rev. Nellya Shakirova, Bishkek pastor.
“I was touched by it,” she said. “God is doing an amazing job in her life. It feels like a test of faith on one side and a warning of threat and hope on the other. We don't always understand God’s work — only he knows how to support his child and when — but surely we see his love.”
When the war began, Anand and other students at the university hostel took shelter in bunkers. Fifteen days later, the university arranged for a train to take the international students to Hungary. From there, the Indian government flew the students to New Delhi, and she made her way back home to Tamilado, in southern India, where she lived with her mother and brother.
For the next eight months, Anand prayed that her mother would not have to borrow money for her studies, and she was finally able to get a spot at a school in Bishkek with her fees paid. Today, she is a first-year student at Bishkek International Medical Institute.
Long before the war, Anand had a strong prayer life. When she was 12 years old, she had a rare bone disease and was bedridden for one and a half years. Her mother and brother took care of her. She couldn’t move, and she felt bad because she was troubling her mother and brother.
One day, when she was alone in the house, she laid in bed for an hour and a half crying. Because of the pain, she couldn’t move her hands to reach the water and food at her bedside. She heard a voice: “Don’t worry, I know how much you (are in) pain.” Hearing the voice gave Anand a sense of happiness, and she said she felt OK in her heart afterward.
She received medical attention at a hospital, and her mother continued to pray for her. They finally were introduced to a doctor, who said Anand would be OK in four months. One morning, three months later, Anand felt something lifting her out of bed, and she was standing. Her mother was working in the kitchen and was surprised and overjoyed to see her daughter standing beside her.
Now 19, Anand came to Bishkek United Methodist Church through someone that she knew, attending the church for the first time in December. She had prayed for God to bring her to a Protestant church, and someone at the dormitory connected her with Bishkek UMC. She said she danced when she discovered the church.
“God shows me this church,” she said. She didn’t do an online search for a church but knew “150%” that God led her to Bishkek United Methodist Church.
“This is not church for me,” she added. “This is like family for me. While I’m here, I feel very happy.”
Return to main story, Students find home, unity at Bishkek church.
Tanton is chief news officer of United Methodist Communications and director of UM News.
News contact: Tim Tanton at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Friday (weekly) Digests.
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