Let me tell you a brief story about a devout, young Christian man named Alexander. We will begin his story in the mid-1990s, in Budapest, the place where he and I first met.
Alexander had been a wild, hard-partying young man before God got hold of his life. But, now, he was saved and freshly graduated from a Bible school established by William and his wife, dear friends, and missionaries, who God was using powerfully throughout Hungary.
Although Alexander had paid his way through school, he and his family were so poor they couldn’t afford a down payment on a free meal. They were Hungarian-Romanians, eking out a living while devoting their lives to the service of Christ. Because of God’s love for them, they knew He had a plan for their lives.
Then I showed up. I’m sure I was not what Alexander had expected or hoped for. I was an untested missionary with empty pockets in a part of the world I had no real experience with. But God had placed a call on my life and at this point in time, God caused our lives to intersect.
We first met in his flat. It was a culture shock for me, seeing so many good, Godly people, so poor, so compacted into such a small space. My heart broke yet they were not complaining because they had hope.
As a new missionary in a new land, I needed a translator who could speak English, Romanian, and Hungarian. My friend, William, recommended Alexander because he not only had the skills but Alexander was also called by God to missions. So, in Alexander’s claustrophobic flat we made a covenant. Alexander and family would move with us to Romania.
That was a gigantic step of faith on the part of Alexander and his wife. And so we all moved. He helped us find a flat as well as one for him and his family. As things transpired, there was a time when, in our flat, my wife and I with four of my kids lived with Alexander plus an additional missionary that had come with us. That was when I gained a better understanding of life in a destitute, post-communist country.
As time past, Alexander carried the brunt of the work of many missionaries. And, as his family grew so did his effectiveness as a missionary in his own right. Since those first humble beginnings, Alexander has ministered to hundreds upon hundreds of people, countless missionaries, and has ministered in countries throughout Europe and even in Africa.
What would have happened if he had not walked in faith through Bible college, uprooted his family to work with an untested missionary, or yielded his job description as interpreter to being whatever was needful?
When I read his facebook posts and see his family I think back to that crowded little apartment and the decision he made by faith in Jesus, his Lord. And, I’m reminded of what God said in Hebrews 10:22 (NIV), “...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Truly, I have seen this Scripture alive right before my eyes in the life of my friend.