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Captured by Bandits

Sep 19, 2019

I have been given the privilege of chairing an accreditation team for ACSI, our accrediting body. This week I have been in Tirana, Albania, at a sister school called GDQ International Christian School. When I first saw the name of their school, I became curious. What did GDQ stand for? I learned that the school is named after an Albanian evangelist, Gjerasim D. Qiriaz, who lived during the late 1800s and is known for founding the first Albanian school for girls.

I ordered a book about his life called, “Captured by Brigands,” so that I could learn more about him before I travelled to Albania. He only lived for 35 years, and during his lifetime he accomplished so much for God. The book focuses on his time of captivity when he was 26. Gjerasim was on a missionary journey when he was captured by a group of violent bandits who thought that they could get a huge ransom for his return. They did not realize that he was not a wealthy man and that they would get nothing from his family.

When he was first taken, he began to realize that the outcome did not look good and that he would probably not make it out alive. The book quotes him as saying, “I mourned not so much for my life as for my work. Just then I had begun to labour for my people, and day by day my desire to preach the Words of Life to them was growing. Why, then, has God put me into the hands of these brigands? My heart longed for neither riches nor for any other thing pleasing to the flesh. I had only one thing in mind—the spreading of light among my countrymen. Why then should God forget me?”

I have a feeling that if I were in his situation, I probably would have the same doubts and questions that he had. He felt that he was doing good things for God, and yet it appeared that God had forgotten him, allowing him to suffer a horrible fate at the hands of the bandits. But then he recalled that he saw a beautiful flower sticking up through an inch of snow. This sight reminded him of the verses in Matthew where we are told that if God cares for the flowers of the field that are only alive for a day, how much more so does God care for us, His children? The passage ends with the words, “O ye of little faith.”

These five words challenged Gjerasim to cling to his faith knowing that we serve an Almighty God that would work out His purposes in Gjerasim’s life, not in spite of this situation, but because of this situation. We know that Gjerasim made it out of his time of captivity and went on to do great things for His Lord.

If this story intrigues you, I encourage you to read more about the life of “GDQ.” Let us all be reminded of God’s Words of encouragement that are found in Matthew 6: 28-34. Do not worry about tomorrow. God is in control!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.

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