It was Sunday afternoon and we were invited to have dinner with our dear friend, Mrs. Nanuli and her son, Dimitri. Their flat is in Old Town Tbilisi. Nanuli is the widow of our highly valued fellow-founder of The School of Tomorrow, Jondo-Teimuraz Metreveli. When we arrived, we were met in the yard by Dimitri, who kissed Earl on the cheek in the usual way folks greet one another in this warm and hospitable land of Georgia. We were thrilled and surprised to meet Dimitri’s lovely bride, Lana, who had attended our school for several of her earlier years of schooling. We had not yet heard of their marriage and that they have been married for nearly a year. In 2004, Dimitri received the English diploma from our school and has gone on to obtain his Masters in International Relations. He works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Georgia. Throughout this memorable evening and as we enjoyed Nanuli's delicious Georgian meal, we learned many wonderful facts concerning Jondo's life. It became more and more apparent that Dima has a marvelous heritage and many wonderful gifts have been passed down to him through his father, as well as from his distinguished mother, Nanuli.
The School of Tomorrow had been a life-long dream of Jondo's. His expertise helped significantly in our becoming a private Christian school here in Tbilisi. Without his powerful influence and highly regarded leadership, our school most assuredly would not be what it is today.
Dima's charming wife, Lana, entertained us with beautifully played classical pieces on the piano and she told us of her desire to finish her BA degree and obtain a Masters in Law. Both she and Dima speak nearly flawless English which they accredit to our school. We were made aware of the blessing of God upon this wonderful family. Earl commented on this when he told Dima that he had been given a rich heritage that money could not buy.
Dimitri proudly showed us a large, beautifully bound book, which was written by his father, Jondo, along with the help of two of his friends. It has recently been published and will soon be ready for sale. This illustrious book is "a Bible concordance and Georgian Apostolic dictionary of musical terms for the Old and New Testaments" and was a life-work of Jondo's. They all talked of how learned Jondo was of the Holy Scrip tures and that from a very young age he stood for his faith in God and for freedom.
On the wall of their dining room hangs a picture of Jondo’s grandfather who was the esteemed Archpriest Phillip from South Georgia. Near-by hangs a picture of the ancient church he pastured. This great man of God had nine children. In the early 1920s, communism occupied Georgia and Father Phillip was subsequently murdered through poisoning.
Dimitri carefully showed us another incredible picture which was taken in a court room here in Tbilisi. This picture of Jondo and eight of his close friends was taken right before all nine were tried for treason by the communist party. The first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was one of the nine in the picture and was Jondo’s best friend from childhood. Each of the nine was sentenced to four years in prison.
I shared with our friends how God had given me the assurance that “all of our students (whether they graduated from The School of Tomorrow or not) would be taught of the Lord and great would be their peace.” Isaiah 54:13. We get more confirmation of this every day while we are here working with these courageous and wonderful Georgian people. Nearly every family has stories similar to Dima’s. Stories of strong and courageous Christian forefathers who were sent to Siberia to die, lost their businesses, homes and families, or were shot from firing squads because of their refusal to deny Christ and give up their freedoms. Our students are their great grandchildren and their lives manifest that their forefathers did not suffer and die in vain.