Contagious Hope

by Ben V., DTS student
Tiraspol, Transnistria

Andrew and Ben

Andrew and Ben

Transnistria is an interesting place to be. It is an unrecognized former-Soviet country with high rates of crime, poverty and alcoholism. Everyone here that we’ve talked to has expressed hopes of leaving Transnistria for a better life, but still seem resigned to the way things are. I rarely see hope in the eyes of a Transnistrian.

In a society of despair, Andrew stands out like a beacon. As I talked with him, I could feel his joy, hope and passion for the things he loves. He exhibits such joy that it is contagious. The more I talked with him, the more I wanted to keep talking with him.

Andrew and I are both avid readers. While we were talking about our favorite books, he asked me if my favorite book has a happy ending. I told him that it does – it ends with hope. His eye twinkled and he smiled at me.

“Hope,” he said, “is why the Bible is my favorite book.”

I couldn’t help but smile.

This is a man who lives out the love message of the Gospel. He loves God, loves his wife, loves his children, and is always happy to talk about all three. He does kind favors for people because that’s just a part of who he is.

In a place like this, his joy stands out against the despair around him. He represents what Christ called all of us to be: a light in the darkness, a hope to the hopeless, and a lover of the unlovable.