As part of the International Sports Coalition I have received an invitation from my friend Cassie Carstens to teach a course about discipleship through sports for the second time at the International Sports Leadership School (ISLS) in Stellenbosh city, South Africa.
I had the privilege and joy to have as students 25 leaders, coaches and Christian workers from 16 countries of the world and I taught them the 40–minutes inductive Bible study “Being a disciple, counting the real cost” by Kay Arthur.
My friend, pastor Cassie Carstens, who is also the founder of the ISLS school, invited me at the ALICT school, that is also founded by him, where missionaries are prepared for social work. There I shared my experience about the work of discipleship that we do in Moldova and other countries. I also enjoyed preaching and sharing God’s Word in many churches and Bible study groups in Stellenbosh and surrounding towns.
At the church that Cassie Priest ministries I met a guy who came back home from an interesting trip 5 days ago. For 75 days he walked across the whole country (South African Republic) from South to North. In any locality where he arrived he told people about Christ and encouraged churches. I was inspired by his trip and much more I would like to find time to have such a trip with my family next summer.
In a Baptist church where I preached I liked the inscription on the door of the room for mothers with small children.
At the Southern hemisphere seasons are reversed and now, in September in South Africa is the first month of spring. All trees were blossoming and I had a great satisfaction to walk on the streets and admire the rare beauty of nature.
As in Moldova, in South Africa viticulture is developed. I was invited by a Christian brother at his farm and I was deeply impressed to see how well the vineyards were cared and how all employees were doing their work with passion and joy.
As one who grew up at the village, during my childhood I worked hard in the vineyard, and I found it interesting how the lines were arranged. I think our harvesters would learn a lot if they had an opportunity to exchange experience.
Another thing that impressed me is the large number of people who go in for sports. In any time of day you’ll see on the street people who run or ride a bicycle. Just in Vietnam I saw so many people who do sports. When I was walking on highways, I noticed that at the edges are left strips for cyclists and they are everywhere, in big cities like Cape Town, too. It would be great to do the same in our country.
On Saturday I was invited by students to climb up the Table Mountain. It is called so because the mountain top is flat like a table. We walked about 4 km climbing on rocks and it was a very good exercise, but what I liked the most was to admire the beauty of the nature as we were climbing up.
While we climbed up the mountain I had many interesting discussions with the students. Among them were Sergei and Andrei from Ukraine and Constantin from Lithuania. Carl Dambman is the chaplain of the group and because he spent 20 years in Russia he speaks a perfect Russian, though he is an American. In 1991, when I was born again and entered the New Covenant with Jesus Christ, Carl was the first man who showed me what it says in Scripture about sports.
On the Table Mountain we could see the Cape Town city, that is a very beautiful city and Lion’s Head Mountain, which I had the opportunity to climb with another group of students from ISLS whom I taught the same course three years ago. Then Radu Blendarencu was a student there and some other three students from Moldova have learned at ISLS (Alexei Tentiuc, Gregory Cheptene and Ion Cotorobai). On the Table Mountain the Rodden Island is very well seen, there was the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life fighting against the policy of Apartheid and for the freedom of his nation and all citizens.
In the airport I bought Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and read it on the way back home. I was very much impressed by the love of this man for his people, for the freedom and the hope that he has kept during all the sufferings and struggles of life.
When I was getting in the place I noticed a team of sportsmen and I was curious who they were and to what competition they were going. When I asked, I learned that they were a GoJuRyu Karate team and were going to the World Championship which would be in Portugal.
I met their coach Peter Klipfel and I told them about the Taekwon-Do Club “Stolas Leukas” which I lead and how we teach the Scriptures with all our athletes. Then he told me that he was part of a Baptist church and wanted to get the inductive Bible study books that we use to use them in his Karate school.
I wished them that God would give them victory at the championship and urged them to share with everyone at the championship about God’s love and salvation that we have in Jesus Christ. I also told them about our desire to participate in Taekwon-Do Championship which will be this fall on the island of Cyprus and for which we pray God to give us the necessary resources.
Now I’m on my way home and I look forward to see my wife, my children and all those who are dear and loved. I am also glad that I will celebrate my birthday with our family at home tomorrow. If someone from the readers of this website wants to make me a birthday present, I can suggest something that will bring me much joy. Because the content, the number of visitors and the workload of the portal has increased much more we need to have other people involved and I need help and financial support for them. Other gifts that I would enjoy are the Bible study books for students in schools and subscribe the schools from the country to the Free Newspaper. Another gift that I would enjoy much would be sponsoring one or more athletes to participate in the championship from Cyprus where I wish a lot to go and share with all participants the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru