Monday morning at 8 A.M. the first class began. We studied the subject of sanctification as relating to human sexuality. It is lesson 3 from “What does the Bible say about sex?”. The lesson begins with explaining being holy and saintly. This is relevant for an Orthodox Christian society because the main teaching in the church is that only monks and priests can be holy.
The average church attender is not challenged or expected to be holy. As we looked in the Old Testament, we noticed that sanctification or being holy is a condition for all of the people and not just the priests and spiritual leaders. It was a wake-up call for all of them. Then we made it even more practical, holiness impacts your sexuality. If you are holy then you will view sex and sexuality the way that God does. We covered many of the sins that the Egyptians and Canaanites practiced and I asked them how many of these sins are practiced in Moldova. They said, “all of them”. The next question was, if so, are we really a “Christian” nation or are we deceiving ourselves. Most of them said that we are deceiving ourselves. After that, we were able to talk about how a person becomes holy and how that will impact his or her view of sexuality. This was the first time that many of them have ever stopped and thought about what this all means. It was a moment of paradigm shift for many of them. They realized that God and reality are much different from what they have been taught all of their lives. It was amazing to see God at work. The next class was another group of 8th graders but the outcome was much different. They heard the same message and studied the same text yet they chose not to accept it. They realized the paradigm shift that was about to take place and they rejected it. It was also a time when God was working but the hardness of heart was evident. I left the first class on cloud nine and then left the 2nd class very sad, not because they did not want to listen to me but because they openly chose to reject God. This all took place on a Monday.
On Tuesday, I had a 9th grade class, the worst in the school. I taught the same lesson as Monday. This time, God was working again. Half of the class did well for about half the lesson. Then some boys who were skipping walked into class and disrupted everything. It was like you could see the evil one letting the air out of the balloon of the lesson. Thank God for the opportunity to be able to share God’s message with these young people who would otherwise never hear because they live in a culture that teaches them that they are Christians from birth and Christianity does not impact your lifestyle, your choices. After that lesson, I went to our English office to teach my new English class. I have an English class for beginners. When I started the class, there were 2 students. Now the class is up to 10 after the first month. There are many different types of people in this group. There is a public school teacher in her 50’s, a student who is 12. There is a dentist, a university student etc. We are getting ready to get into the meat of the Gospel of John to learn about who Jesus Christ is and what He wants from us.
On Thursday, I went to teach my 12th graders. We are studying, “Someday a marriage without regrets”. It was a good lesson on God’s view of virginity. Abstinence is no longer in vogue these days yet God has not changed His standards. We looked at how God uses virginity to protect us, the fact that it is a gift given to us by God upon our birth and something that we are to protect and then give to our spouse on our wedding night. Then we looked at the punishment for those who no longer see virginity as a virtue. This was a much needed lesson for the girls and guys of the class who are getting ready to step out into the real world after high school. The interesting thing about the lesson is that, once again, they all consider themselves Christians, yet find it difficult to accept the Bible’s teachings. You could see another paradigm shift taking place in their lives. That is why I love teaching people the Word of God, because it rocks your world, no matter who you are and how you have been raised.
On Friday, we started a new series at our youth group, “supposed Biblical contradictions”. Our first lesson was entitled “Is God a racist?”. Many of the students came and shared how much they liked the message and the series because there are lots of people who excuse their disobedience to God by saying that He contradicts Himself in the Bible. I am excited about this new series. Next week we are looking at the subject of baptism. Many Orthodox priests claim that Protestant Christians are wrong because we teach about a second baptism (after repentance and conversion) and the Bible claims that there is only one baptism. After that lesson, we will take a look at Jesus and the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned. The question is, “Did Jesus contradict Moses by not stoning the woman?”.
On Sunday, I was invited to a newly planted church to preach. The pastor of the church is a friend of mine who was out of town teaching a session in Armenia and he invited me to fill in for him. The church is small but growing. There were about 15 people in the crowd. I challenged them to serve the Lord and be an example like Paul and the Philippians. The text was Philippians 1:1-18. I was encouraged by the audience’s desire to hear God’s Word and put into practice what they were learning. This church was a plant that dwindled down to nothing and has been revitalized. The church is growing because the members are not spectators. They are being equipped to serve the community and it is making a difference. We plan to have a day camp again in that village this coming summer. After church I came home and prepared for our youth core group meeting. We evaluated last Friday night’s meeting, planned next week’s meeting and then some short term plans. We are planning a large evangelistic concert on the 5th of April. We pray to fill the 500 seats in the auditorium. Another idea is to turn one of the Friday night meetings into a coffee house discussion about certain truths in the Bible.
That was another week in the life of a missionary. How was your week? Did you serve the Lord with all of your heart? What keeps you from doing it?