What does a 50 year-old American woman have in common with a group of eastern European twenty-somethings? Nothing except for Jesus, but that is more than enough.
Last month, I was blessed to spend two weeks in Moldova teaching an intensive course at the Moldova Bible Seminary in Kishnev. My students and I spent forty hours together studying the New Testament book of Hebrews. I’ve taught God’s Word in many different settings – Sunday School, women’s Bible study, middle school Bible club, retreats, conferences, and workshops – but a seminary class was a new experience for me.
The Moldova Bible Seminary, located in Moldova’s capitol city, trains young Christians from Moldova and Ukraine for a range of ministry work. This small seminary, a ministry of Kishnev Bible Church, is committed to spreading the Gospel of Christ in Eastern Europe and beyond. (Find out more about the seminary, other KBC ministries, and how you can help, here.)
Many of the professors – volunteers like me – are from Great Britain and America. So, thankfully, these students learn English during their first year of seminary. The language difference was only a small barrier. The more proficient students help out the others.
Of course there are cultural differences between the United States and Moldova. Language, food, humor, lifestyle, and dress are some of the more obvious. And as gracious and welcoming as the Moldovans were, I still sometimes felt a bit awkward and out of place. For instance, every time I attempted to speak Russian, they just smiled. I could hear them thinking to themselves, “Be nice, she’s trying.”
But none of those differences are really important. On a deeper level we had more important things in common. We are committed to studying God’s Word. We all love Jesus. In fact, my students and I are all one in Christ. There is no dividing wall or barrier (Ephesians 2:13-15). We could all sense the family connection.
27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:27-29, NLT
I love how God works. His presence brings unity, love, and common purpose. I hope God gives me the opportunity to go back. I miss my Moldovan brothers and sisters in Christ.
Have you ever experienced that “family connection” that only God can give? I would love to hear about it!