An Interview with a Bible Worker: Alina, Part 1
“I was open to what God had for me.”
That was Alina’s answer when I asked her why she became a Bible Worker.
Alina Terzi moved to the United States nearly six years ago after winning the Green Card lottery in the Ukraine. After some time studying nursing and working as a piano teacher, CNA, and nanny in Georgia, Alina found herself at NETS: a four-month evangelism training program run by the Atlantic Union Conference. After completing the NETS program in the fall of 2014, Alina didn’t have a specific plan, but said that if God would lead her to something, she would do it. “I was open to what God had for me,” she said again. And she felt that the door God was opening for her—what God had for her—was to become a Bible Worker.
I asked her if she liked it. “Absolutely,” she said.
“I think the biggest part of being a Bible Worker is that you’re actually on the very front lines of the great controversy. As you sit there and give Bible studies, the brightest point for me is when you share the truth with someone, and they see it in a different light. It’s like that aha! moment. They may have read that verse 10 times before, but now you share it with them in the context of the rest of the story, or the rest of the Bible, or how it applies to us, and they say, ‘Huh, I’ve never looked at it this way.’ Or sometimes you ask them question, and they read a verse, and then they’re just silent. In that moment of silence, you look at them, and you see how the wheels are spinning. And they say, ‘Huh, wow. Wait, let me read it again. I’ve never seen that in the Bible.’”
“I especially like to see how God really works in people’s lives and on their hearts. I’ve seen people turning from anger to being soft and responsive, even to their family members. I’ve seen family members that were about to get separated. One woman was about to move out with her children, away from her husband. And then, two weeks later—after we’d done a couple of studies—I come back, and she says, ‘Yeah, I really think that the Lord wants us to be together.’ You really see how the Lord actually works. For us, as people, it’s almost impossible to see changes. But only God can do these kinds of changes in the heart.”
Alina now works for the Southern New England Conference doing Bible work specifically for the Compassion Boston project; an initiative to reach the Greater Boston area with the love of Christ through acts of service, community-oriented programs, humanitarian efforts—and also through good-old-fashioned evangelism. Since early 2015, Alina has been working just north of Boston in the city of Stoneham, knocking on doors and inviting people to better understand the Bible. Alina told me two stories of her “Bible study friends,” as she calls them; one reported here, and the other in part two.
“There’s one particular person that I started studying with about a month ago. One day, my Bible Working partner and I were knocking on doors, and at one of the last doors for us, this guy Ricky opened the door. He said, ‘Well, I’ve studied the Bible before, but—yeah, I don’t mind studying it again.’ So right there, he signed up!”
So Alina started studying the Bible with Ricky. Ricky is taking care of his older mother, who’s very sick. Ricky also has problems with anxiety, and though he’s been sober for four years now, he still has issues with smoking, which he says he knows is bad and hopes to give up one day. (“We haven’t even talked about health yet!” Alina told me.) Even though Ricky had already accepted Jesus sometime before in his life, now he “sees a different side of it,” and he’s praying every day.
“When I drive up to the house, he’s sitting outside on the lawn. Two chairs, one for me. He’s waiting. He’s in a chair. He has his Coke, he has his Bible, and he has the Bible study, and he’s ready, waiting on me to come. It makes me think, Oh wow! Somebody is actually really into this and wants to learn! Usually when people start digging in the Bible, they want to learn more and more and more. It’s very encouraging.”
“Throughout the Bible studies, every time I go there, I see how he starts saying something like, ‘I really started feeling better when I started studying the Bible with you, when you started coming. I feel like I need to read more.’ I can tell the Holy Spirit is speaking to him, and he’s being converted.”
“One day when I went I just prayed for him and his family, for his mom, and for his daughter, and just for him, for his health, and anxieties, and struggles that he goes through. And he just started crying—and I started crying! Because you just can’t hold it, it just becomes so real and so close to your heart.”
That was another thing Alina wanted to point out, another reason she loves Bible work. “As you study the Bible with people, you start becoming their best friend, their spiritual leader, and you see how—as you’re caring for them—they become a part of your life. Through the Bible studies, not only they are changed, but also you are changed. As you’re giving Bible studies, the Spirit will convert your heart as well.”
Alina told me one last bit about her first conversation with Ricky. Once they started talking about the Bible and spiritual things, “Ricky mentioned that there was a guy around here (in New England) who said Jesus was coming sometime in the 1800s. ‘But obviously, he made a mistake. Because nobody knows exactly when Jesus is going to come.’ My Bible Work partner and I glanced at each other and smiled. He said, ‘Yeah, you know about it too?’ We said, ‘Yes, we do!’ I don’t know how he heard about William Miller, but he did. I haven’t studied with him on that topic yet, but it’s going to be very cool when he finds out the whole story.”
Alina is one of a few Bible Workers stationed in the Greater Boston area. Right now, we have lots of people interested in studying the Bible and not enough workers to give the studies! If you’re willing to follow up with Bible study interests near you, click the button at right.
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