New Life Ministry is located in southwestern Georgia on the Black Sea coast. The majority of this region’s Ajarian population practices Islam and Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Kobuleti church was formed in 1997 by pastor Zurab Asatiani, and by God’s grace, grew to 110 members. However, in 2010, as Georgia struggled to embrace religious freedom, Kobuleti’s church building was confiscated by the government. Many people left the country due to the financial crises, and this combined with other factors, resulted in church members being scattered. The remaining 25 met in small home groups.
Although it became difficult to organize events or invite unbelievers to attend services without a building, these challenges did not stop them. Pastor Zurab Asatiani continues to hold services at different homes, and frequently drives to nearby villages to minister to large Islamic communities. Many prayers and efforts have been invested in attempts to raise funds for a new building, but doors remain closed. Nonetheless, this small church believes God has a greater plan.
The same year the Kobuleti building was confiscated, a new member joined the church. His name is also Zurab, Zurab Kvesieishvili (aka Zura K.). Born in Kobuleti, he grew up in a non-Christian, partially Muslim family. In the 1990’s, lured by business opportunities, he moved to Ukraine, where he became heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol. This lifestyle continued for nearly 10 years, leading to a rapid decline in Zura’s health and a near death experience, following which he was admitted to a Christian rehabilitation center in Ukraine. There, through the power of God’s Word, he surrendered his heart and life to Jesus, and was miraculously transformed.
Renewed by the Holy Spirit, Zura K. returned home to Kobuleti and joined the local church pastored by Zurab A, but his passion was for the addicts out on the streets, whom he ministered to on every possible occasion. Church members and both Zurabs began to pray and fast for the Lord to enable them to open a rehabilitation center in the Republic of Georgia, similar to the one in Ukraine. Six years later, this is still their fervent prayer.
“Many followed Jesus because he performed miracles and healed the sick, and we believe many will find and follow Jesus because of the healing they witness at New Life.” said Zura K.