I was struck by how beautiful a local cemetary in Martin is. Strange, describing a place where the dead are buried as beautiful, but it is. Unlike many cemetaries I have visited this one was literally covered up in flowers, candles, and other signs of affection for those who have passed on by those still here. And not only the latest grave sites, but even those dating back into the 1800s.
Family is strong here. Family heritage going back generations is strong as well.
Another beautiful moment was on the first day of class when everyone was asked to write down and share a list of things to share about themselves. One category was “things I need”. A 13 year old boy wrote and shared that he needed, “money, friends, my family”. I mean, who couldn’t put some extra dough to work, but there was that word again- family. When I run out of things to ask I bring up family, and they will all proudly tell you all about their immediate and extended family.
And then, there is our Family of Brothers and Sisters in Christ. We’ve met 2 other groups of Americans from different churches and denominations, all united in Christ- all dedicated to the mission started here many years ago.
Bohdan gave us a history of the Christian School and English classes in the summer. Wow. His faith reminds me of Abraham’s faith. He went on to explain how the building they have purchased and are remodeling into a beautiful school was once the central publisher for communist propaganda in all of Europe. Communism, now dead, a Christian Education Center now flourishing every year!
Bohdan explained that as we minister to the children the children then minister to their parents and families. Christianity, once dead in this region, is growing again.
Bohdan told us the older generation is suspicious and skeptical of Christians, but as we build trust with those who attend the English classes by loving on them, walls are coming down and the Light of Christ is shining in new hearts.
Bohdan finished by saying he liked to think the old building published propaganda, but now it publishes living Bibles- childen who are carrying the Good News around Martin and beyond.
He challenged us to love them, grow them, and nurture them….like family. I thought that was beautiful.
Thank you for supporting us in prayer.