As noted in my post Encouraging Bulgarian Believers, Dimitri was staying at my house while he was looking for work. Yesterday was his last day here. Work has simply not materialized, and he has been away from his family for five months now. He missed them, and who can blame him? So yesterday he asked me if he could bring his friends over for dinner and to meet me—sort of a last supper together before he goes back home. Of course I said yes.
Dimitri, knowing my aversion to cooking, offered to cook, too. So he started planning a menu full of Bulgarian foods, and went shopping.
Dimitri’s friends, Boris and Larisa, spoke English very well, so we had an English evening. Dimitri understands English, but not well enough to speak it. So the three of us conversed in English, while Dimitri spoke in Italian and occasionally in English.
Boris encouraged him, saying, “It’s good for you to listen to English, even if you can’t speak it yet.” Actually, that’s very good advice. If you’re learning a language, you should spend some time every day listening to the language. It will help tune your ear to the language and it builds new neural pathways in your brain that will help you make that jump to thinking in your new language.
So while the men cooked, Larisa and I talked about people and places we have in common, and about our favorite American preachers and sermons. The only equivalent I know for the enthusiasm we have for this topic is like how people compare notes on television shows and characters. Only our passion is educational, life-changing and character-building. Boris, overhearing us couldn’t resist adding some of his favorites, too.
Then we sat down to a lovely supper together. Dimitri blessed the meal (in Italian) with much thanksgiving for our friendship and our time together.
As I cleared up afterwards, I realized that this had been a fine example of ministry, too: hosting Dimitri’s friends for a nice supper, sharing good food and wine and passion for great preaching. I often enjoy a pleasant evening in good company and engaging conversation over a nice meal, all in the line of duty as an encourager of missionaries. And God was gracious enough to use me to encourage Dimitri and also his friends (who are now my friends, too!). I’ve said it before: working for the Lord doesn’t feel like work. It just feels like fun, like living life to the fullest. What could be better? God is good!