Friday, 25 July 2008

Victor

Pictured above is someone that grew to be a good friend of mine in Moldova: Victor. Victor became a Christian through the English and Bible Camp last year.

I'd heard about Victor's conversion through some of the folks that went as members of the English team in 2007. Yet, upon meeting Victor at the camp, I was amazed that he'd been a Christian for only a year. Victor really loves Jesus and has a deep joy that stands out conspiciously. As Victor shared his testimony on the camp, many were moved to tears by his story.

One of the unique things about the summer team trip to Moldova is the opportunity to go home overnight with a Moldovan student at the end of the English and Bible Camp. This is a great chance to see something of 'real' Moldova. Along with another member of the English team (Jon), I had the privilege of going back with Victor to see his village and his family. I was blown away by the generous hospitality of Victor and his family in Costesti. Victor's family are poor, I would guess even by Moldovan standards. Yet they sacrificially made us feel very welcome.

Jon and I accompanied Victor to his church on Sunday. It was the first time that I'd ever attended a service at and Orthodox church. The service was five hours long - standing only! The service itself was full of contrasts - I guess as an evangelical, there were parts of it I loved and other parts I struggled with. (Victor's summary of the sermon afterwards suggested that that part was good). But I came away encouraged that there are genuine Christians who really believe the gospel and really love Jesus in the Orthodox church. Victor is one of them, and I met several more that Sunday.

Victor hasn't had an easy time as a Christian. He's studying engineering at Hinciesti. It was there that he'd met Tania, his English teacher and a strong Christian, who invited him onto the English and Bible Camp last year. After the camp, Victor became a part of Tania's Bible study group on campus. Yet to be a Bible believing Christian isn't always popular in Moldova. Earlier this year, Tania was called all sorts of names (including 'Judas' and 'Satan'). This wave of persecution eventually led to Tania being sacked. Victor and his classmates that attended Tania's Bible study were also publicly humiliated. It's God's grace alone that has kept this young believer strong.

Please pray for Victor. In some ways he's isolated and paid a higher cost for being a Christian in just one year than many of us have paid in years of being Christians. Pray that his love for Jesus and for other Christians keeps growing.

3 comments:

Chris said...

wow.

Dave K said...

I really want to say the same as Chris. There isn't really another response.

Thanks for sharing this.

ernie said...

:)

i dont really know what else to say but felt i should say something...!?