We first arrived in Georgia in 2006 and realized early on that her culture and customs were beautiful. But when Georgians asked us what we liked most about their country, we always had the same answer:
Children: The Way to Georgian’s Hearts
Our first encounter with Georgians was arriving to the airport in the middle of the night. We entered what appeared to be a dark, Soviet warehouse waiting in line to get our passports stamped. We’d traveled for almost 24 hours. Our bags were burdensome. Our bodies were tired.
No sooner did we take our place in line, were we ushered to the front, past many other people no different from us.
What made us so special? Why did we get to go right to the front of the line? It wasn’t our smiles. It wasn’t our American passport.
It was our child. Georgians love children. Our sleep-deprived, one-year-old daughter captured their attention and brought us to the front.
Little did we know, our brown-eyed beauty would open many doors for relationship building here. From that point on, everywhere we went, we encountered Georgians and they encountered us. We could smile, greet others with a “gamarjoba,” (hello) and show them love on a daily basis.
We had a presence in our neighborhood.
Community Move & Sticking Out
In 2012, we moved from Tbilisi, the capital city, to a smaller town and started the process of building relationships in our community all over again. People notice we’re not Georgian, and we don’t blend in very well.
The girls speaking English in the marketplace draws attention. Our daughter’s blond hair and blue eyes draws attention. But even more than that:
The presence and fragrance of Christ in our lives draws attention.
God’s Presence in Our Home
My wife was talking with a Georgian friend a few weeks ago, and she told my wife something she won’t forget:
“Your home has something positive that attracts good people to you.”
She was referring to two other short-term couples that have stayed in our home while we’d been gone. They invested in the community by teaching English and truly loved Georgia and her people. To our Georgian friend, our house has something positive, but she doesn’t know what that is. We are confident that what she senses is the presence of God on our home.
What an encouragement to know that the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God is making an impact in our community! We want so much for all of Georgia to experience God’s presence. Every community and town in the country has the right to encounter the presence of God. That will happen when believers live among them. The minute we entered Georgia, we encountered her people.
That All May Encounter Christ
As believers, establishing ourselves in a community is establishing the presence of God in that place. He dwells among us. More and more communities need this in Georgia. There are areas in Georgia where there has never been an Evangelical witness. They have not had an opportunity to encounter God’s truth and presence.
Our prayer is for God to burden the hearts of Georgian believers to go to these unreached places…Georgian believers and anyone else whom God may call. Reaching the unreached, so that they may hear and know.
This story was written anonymously due to the sensitive nature of our team members’ ministry in Georgia.