Arriving in the country of Georgia in autumn 2022 was both a cumulative representation of God’s work in our lives over the last several years and a new opportunity to rely on his provision. While at FLBC, God refined our individual desires to work internationally and branch into ministry in some capacity. As we met and grew closer, discovering our eerily similar callings, it was obvious that God had big things in store for us.
Looking back at what brought us to Georgia, it is clear that God was paving the way even when the path was hard to recognize. We had similar passions, so we pursued education degrees as a branch to ministry in local communities. Throughout our undergrad studies, we wrestled with overloaded schedules and complications with international placements due to COVID-19, but behind the scenes God remained faithful. He equipped us with skills in teaching as well as a love for our students. Despite several failed opportunities, God opened a last-minute door to student teach abroad, followed by an opening in Georgia.
Now within Georgia, God has placed the right people and opportunities in our path to make an impact in the community. In our city of Kutaisi, we regularly interact with hundreds of students across middle school, high school, and university ages. We have seen a need for safe places for the youth to gather in community, and we plan to establish a youth group this fall. We are heavily involved in the only evangelical Christian church in our city. The church is growing rapidly and—surprisingly—reaches university students from India who are in Georgia to study medicine. It is exciting to be a part of a growing body of believers, and every week we see parallels to many aspects of the early church depicted in the Bible.
Considering Zechariah 13:9, one part that stands out is, “They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.” At the beginning of 2023, we were very excited about our involvement in Kutaisi but hesitant about increasing our efforts when we were slotted to leave in June. After about two weeks of uncertainty, we had an answer: an option to extend our program for another year. This was an unprecedented opportunity that was not even a consideration when we began. The assurance of another year in Georgia gave us the renewed motivation to fully invest in our relationships and programs in hopes of making a long-term impact. God’s provision is evident in the path that led us to Georgia, and we have no reason to doubt that He will continue refining our faith and answering our needs as He guides our lives.
Jacob, a Fulbright Scholar, and Tehya (Craig) Bierle [FLBC 2019] are working in Kutaisi, Georgia.
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