I remember my first year at the Bible Institute. It was a dream come true. This happened in 1994 - yes, I am getting old - but I remember it as if it were today. What a joy! What an opportunity! I had all the time to dedicate myself to getting to know our God more, through His Word, grow in my spiritual life, and have the chance to invest in other lives through the ministries every weekend and on vacation periods. Wow... what an awesome experience!
You cannot miss this opportunity! Before diving into university life, in the marketplace, deciding the next years of your life, why not take a year or two apart to establish solid foundations for the rest of your life?
It does not matter, whether you go before or after university, or without having this experience, or what stage of life you are in, taking time out of your life to immerse yourself in the Word of God is extremely valuable! It is not wasted time, quite the contrary, it is a short investment that will bring benefits for the years to come! You will learn principles and practices that will be relevant to everything you do in the future.
It does not matter whether you are going to become a “professional worker” in pastoral or missionary ministry, because, in truth, for God, there is no separation between sacred and secular, between Sunday and the rest of the week. Everything is integrated and we need to be prepared to know Christ more and make Him known throughout the world!
Here at the BI Hungary, you will have the opportunity to socialize with young people from all over the world, learn about other cultures and perspectives, and enjoy the beauty of our campus! What a rich experience!
Come and have this experience with us! You will not regret it!
Arnas and Gabriele, how would you introduce yourselves?
We are Arnas and Gabriele Valentukoniai. We are a newlywed couple from Lithuania, passionate about knowing and serving God. We love traveling, reading, ministering, and many other crazy things. We have been writing a blog about our journey and experiences. You can find it here: thelivingjourney.com.
Many people are surprised when they hear how young you got married. How did that happen? What advantages of marrying young do you see?
Yes, it is not often that you meet people who get married before or around the age of 19 or in senior year of high school. There were several reasons why we decided to get married so young. First of all, we are both Christians, and when we started dating, we set two goals for our relationship: to grow towards God and to get married (not to just date for fun). Second, both of us already lived on our own. Third, we had already been dating for two years so we knew each other well enough to see that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Therefore, right after I, Arnas, turned 18, I proposed to Gabriele. Throughout the process however, it was God who provided us with all the opportunities, help, and financial support that we needed. We only had to accept it.
How did your life look before coming to the BI?
We came to the BI after being married for only 7 months. I, Arnas, was finishing my senior year in high school, while Gabriele was working as a teacher. We also were serving in the local church, and right before coming to Hungary, we went on a one-month-long ministry to help a Christian family in Austria.
It is not common to study in Bible school - especially in Europe. Why did you decide to come to study God’s Word here at Word of Life Hungary?
Yes, a lot of our friends and relatives from Lithuania keep asking us the same question. So, long story short, we did not want to enroll at a university straight away because we did not really know what God wanted for our lives. We were constantly looking for opportunities, and we heard about the Word of Life Bible Institute in Hungary from a few Lithuanians in our area. We came here last year for a short four-day visit, during which we realized, that living and serving God is actually what we want to do for the following year. Studying here right now, we clearly see that we want to continue in this path for the rest of our lives! Coming to the BI is one of the greatest gifts from God to our young family.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
We get to learn something new every day: it could be a mind-blowing theological or Biblical truth, or simply strengthening our daily prayer life - one of the biggest lessons that we got to learn here is not connected to academics. It is the people – seeing other married missionary couples living out their love and passion for Christ. They are great examples to follow, and it has been an enormous blessing to our family being surrounded by these people.
How would you like to serve God in the future?
We have been praying and thinking about this a lot recently. Right now, it looks like God is guiding us to be full-time missionaries in Lithuania. We still do not know the details yet, but every day we spend in the Bible Institute feels like we are getting closer and closer to understanding our calling.
If you are interested to learn more about us and why we do what we do, or maybe just want to talk with us, please do not hesitate to contact us! :)
Arnas and Gabriele Valentukoniai,
After God found me in the Fall of 1988 for two years I struggled with some difficult questions. “Am I permanently and truly His? Can I lose my salvation and my eternal life if I sin?” I just dared to hope that if I died, my soul would go to Heaven, and I faintly wished that one day I would be resurrected. By then, I had lived 20 years without God. When I finally became a Christian, my life did not change immediately on all areas. I failed many times, and with the failures came questions, uncertainty, and doubt.
Over the next thirty years, teenagers and young people asked me the same question. “Can I be sure of my eternal life? Can I lose my salvation? What will happen to me if I commit a big sin as a Christian? Do I fall out of grace If I turn my back on him? Can God leave me? I don't feel like I'm going to heaven, and I don't deserve it — so what should I do now?”
There are many ways to answer these questions. Perhaps the warmest and friendliest response comes from Jesus in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. Here, the Master replied to those who opposed his ministry in every way possible.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." (John 10:27-29, ESV)
In this text, Jesus compared himself to the sheep’s owner, to a shepherd and his followers to the sheep. What are sheep like? Contrary to popular belief, they're not stupid at all. They can communicate a wide range of emotions, they are surprisingly intelligent, they have better memories than many people, and they recognize not only the face but also the voice of the shepherd. They can decide what they want, but they do not realize what they really need. That their shepherd knows best. The shepherd feeds, cares for, protects, and guides his sheep. Without him, they are lost. The shepherd knows his sheep; If they're lost, he'll go after them, because they are his valuable property.
It is precisely the fact that the sheep are owned by the shepherd that answers the introductory questions of many. In the parable of Jesus, sheep are in the possession of the shepherd. This is what we find in the first few words of the text and the fact that no one can take them out of the hands of Jesus and the Father further confirms it. How is it then? Are the sheep in the hands of Jesus and the Father at the same time? Yes. Just as the farmer and his only son keep all the wealth of a family farm in their hands, Christians are in the hands of Jesus and the Father. If the sheep in the story could speak, they would shout out: "I am the sheep of the good shepherd! I am the property of the good shepherd and his father! No one can take me away from the good shepherd and his father, for they take care of me."
Can a sheep lose its owner? Hardly. But even if that sheep were to wander away, the shepherd, the owner of the sheep would go after them, he would find them, and he would take them back to safety. Can a sheep in Jesus' flock lose his or her Shepherd? Of course not. Jesus never loses sight of his own sheep, and as we can read in the short story, there is no power, there is no creature that can take away His possessions from His hands.
Dear Reader, if you are in any doubt that you have lost or you can lose your salvation, remember this: when you came to faith, you became the property of Jesus Christ and the Father once and for all. Jesus paid a heavy price personally for you — he paid the punishment for your sins with his own life. And since He rose from the grave, you received eternal life once and for all. From that day on, you became the property of Jesus Christ and the Father. You will never be lost, they will never lose you, no one or nothing can ever get you out of their hands. So do not worry about losing your salvation or your eternal life. Rather, out of your gratitude decide to serve Him faithfully.
For over 25 years, God has continually blessed the Word of Life Hungary Bible Institute. God gave me the privilege to grow up here since the early 90's, and even as a child I could see how young (and old) people came to study the Word of God, and grow in their walk with Christ, and learn to better share the Gospel with others.
I have seen God change lives. Not only the lives of the hundreds of students who have come here, but also the thousands of lives that were impacted by these students through faithful evangelism and discipleship.
This is why I was so excited when I finished High School - I could finally be a student at the Bible Institute! And it changed my life too.
This is a place where students from 50 different countries have come to grow in their relationship and knowledge of our Lord and His Word. And through this, we are reaching the World with the Gospel to fulfill the Great Commission. That is why my wife, Lili, and I are now serving with Word of Life Hungary!
What an exciting place to serve our God! What an exciting place to serve and fellowship and grow together with our sisters and brothers in Christ! We can’t wait to see you here!
So, if I can challenge you in some way: take a year to study the Bible! Even if you study something else afterwards and if you are not planning on becoming a missionary. The temptations in our world are huge during the university years and throughout life and going well is essential- with knowledge and foundations in the Word of God! Think about studying at the Bible Institute and live your life to produce fruit that will bring glory to the Lord!
I was one year old when my parents divorced, and we moved away from my father. My father was a believer and sometimes when we met, he talked to me about God and the Bible. From the time I was young, my heart was always open towards God. I liked to hear stories about Him and enjoyed praying. At home, I did not know any believers and I did not have Christian friends. For years, I prayed every day and sometimes I read the Bible, but there was no one in my life who was able to disciple me. I soon headed in a bad direction with my unbelieving friends. I did a lot of bad things, things that I regretted. I was very far from God. I knew what I needed to do but was unable to do it. I did not understand how I could get into heaven after my death. When I was 18, someone invited me to the Word of Life winter camp, and I experienced there what I did not have the opportunity to experience before. I got to know a lot of Christian young people, who were full of joy, hope, and purpose. They showed me love. I understood that Jesus died for my sins, paying the price that I deserved, and rose again. This is the gift of God and I believed it.
After the Fall, there is the promise of the Seed to come, who would defeat the Serpent and rule with humanity (Gen. 3:15-16). This promise is traced through the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; 15), Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7), and New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The Seed is identified as Jesus, the Abrahamic Descendant through whom all the world is blessed (Gal. 3:8; 16). The Davidic King who will rule on earth (Luke 1:32-33). The one through whose blood the New Covenant is inaugurated (Luke 22:20). And finally, the one who will return and rule with humanity over a new creation (Rev. 21-22). This overarching narrative is carried through all of Scripture, along with many other themes and patterns, such as the Melchizedekian priesthood (Gen 14:18; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:5-10; 6:19–7:22).
This unity of message and themes requires a single author. Yet, we know the Bible was written over 1500 years, by around 40 authors, in three languages, to different audiences, for various purposes. How do we put this together? The answer is that the Bible has many authors who were "carried along" by the Divine Author (2 Pet. 1:21). Their writings are diverse in their genres, emphases, and purposes, which shows that the authors are not forcing a unity of message. The unity of the message is coming from God.
This unity in diversity is a strong argument that the Bible is God's Word. And if it’s God's Word, then it’s trustworthy. I am so convinced of this that I have given my life to studying and applying God’s Word – you should too.
About the authors
The blog is created by many different people at WOL Bible Institute Hungary: Bible teachers, students, alumni, staff and guest teachers.