Torn Curtain goes beyond the Iron Curtain

BSF prepared Peggy Sansbury to study God's Word in her South Carolina class. Years later, God used her BSF training in an unexpected way.
BY BENNETT ROLAN | BSF BLOG EDITOR
A fter a deep breath and a quick prayer, Peggy Sansbury walked to the podium. Soft light from the windows and fresh paint gave the long-abandoned Nazi interrogation room new life and a new purpose.

In January 2017, Peggy’s South Carolina pastor invited her to speak at a ministry conference in Bulgaria, sponsored by an Eastern European ministry called Mission Possible. As a former BSF teaching leader, Peggy felt comfortable in front of large crowds. But this was different. She wasn’t lecturing to her familiar Day Women’s Class, sharing with long-time BSF friends. Close to 50 Eastern European pastors, their wives and a team of interpreters gathered to hear Peggy speak about biblical marriage.

“I thought, ‘Are they going to accept me, especially as a woman teaching God’s Word?’ But it was amazing how God broke through their hearts, especially in a male-dominated society. I doubt they had ever heard biblical teaching on marriage before, and it was absolutely thrilling to see God work through this particular message,” Peggy shared.

“My role was to sow the seed that marriage should be a loving relationship, where the husband doesn’t dominate his wife, but loves her as Christ loves the Church. I was also blessed to see the wives come out of their little shells of shyness with a new hope that they could respect their husbands and experience joy in the process”

Though Bulgaria achieved its freedom in the early 1990’s, the landscape is still marked by a few dilapidated army tanks and war-torn buildings. Broken-down Nazi vehicles are painful reminders of the German invasion during World War II, followed by 46 years of Soviet occupation. During that time, the Soviet government inconsistently treated Christians with limited tolerance and open persecution.

One pastor at the conference remembers government officials raiding his father’s underground church meetings. As worshippers fled into the night, police ripped his mother’s beautifully hand-sewn banners, hung to help shield the services from authorities. Despite this persecution, church members continued to gather and laid the foundation for a new generation of believers in the area.

“These people came out of the Iron Curtain and have only been free for 27 years,” Peggy said. “Imagine that! I was speaking to first-generation Christians, including a few who were part of the underground church. Everything in their ministry is built on faith, so pure and so strong.”

Peggy (center) with the leader of Mission Possible and his wife in Bulgaria.
Peggy (front, center) with team members, Mission Possible leaders and local volunteers from the conference.
Separated by language, culture and experience, Peggy wondered if her prepared talk would resonate. But the same Holy Spirit who worked in her South Carolina BSF class spoke into the hearts of her Eastern European brothers and sisters.

“As we worshipped together, it was almost as if we spoke the same language. The Spirit of God gave us an immediate bond. And afterward, we just loved on one another, grabbed interpreters and shared how God was working in their countries and in their personal lives,” she said.

While Peggy bonded with Bulgarian believers overseas, her South Carolina BSF friends prayed for their former teaching leader.

“You don’t think about it while you’re in BSF, but it’s so true. BSF is a season of preparation for a lifetime of ministry,” she said. “I took all the power tools that had been instilled in me through BSF – learning to hear that still small voice as you read the Word, love for God’s Word, homiletics, how to prepare a lecture, how to do research – and I activated them in this new season.”

A season of preparation
In 1989, Peggy’s friend invited her to attend the new BSF Myrtle Beach, S.C., Day Women’s Class. A stay-at-home mom to young children, Peggy was searching for a deeper connection with women in her community. What she gained was a rich relationship with God through His Word.

For 26 years, Peggy continued in BSF, where she served as a group leader, substitute teaching leader and teaching leader. 

“While you’re in BSF, you get all these goodies put in your hands. You get questions each week with the notes attached, the home training lessons, the opportunity to attend seminars. I know I’ve been given so much in BSF, and ‘to whom much is given, much more is required,’ ” she quoted from Luke 12:48. “If you’ve been in BSF for six weeks, you’ve received more spiritual training than most people around the world. I would encourage every BSF class member to glean everything they can and don’t skimp on it.”

After teaching her Day Women’s Class for 11 years, Peggy felt a clear call to step down. Though the decision was painful, she trusted God to use her in a new season of service. A year later, down to the week, Peggy’s pastor asked her to participate in the Bulgarian conference.

“During that year of sabbatical, I really grieved. The women in that class were my friends and prayer partners,” she said.

The Lord showed me time and time again during the year that our spiritual journey is like the seasons of the year. We have spiritual summers, falls, springs and winters. I felt as if He was showing me that you can’t be on the front lines and yield fruit all of the time. There has to be time for rest.”

Peggy with her BSF Myrtle Beach, S.C., Day Women’s Class.
A lifetime of ministry
For Peggy, the call to Eastern Europe was unexpected, but God used her new life-stage as an empty nester to expand her ministry opportunities.

“I felt like God was pulling me off of one place on the battlefield and transferring me to another,” she said. “I’m still on that same battlefield, fighting the same enemy. I just want to be obedient. When I’m buried, I want to breathe my last breath doing God’s will.”

BSF allowed Peggy to learn, grow, connect and develop. During those 26 years, she served, prayed, taught and poured into those around her. With a new-found passion for the Eastern European church, Peggy is using those same skills in a new context.

 

In BSF and beyond
In BSF, one of our core values is to develop a “Passion for Christ,” where “our love of Jesus fuels our commitment to advance the cause of Christ.” We long to see God glorified around the world through in-depth Bible study, but we know study will only take us so far.

It’s through you, the men and women dedicated to serving in Jesus’ name, that His truth is proclaimed.

Whether we volunteer at our local BSF class or serve around the world, God calls each one of us to use our unique gifts and talents to actively advance the cause of Christ.

“Be ready in and out of season, and whatever season you’re in, embrace it,” Peggy said. “Sparkle wherever God places you, don’t give up. He provides the power for you to keep fighting for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

234 Comments

  1. To whom much is given much is expected.
    God has given me so much thru’ His word in BSF. Thanks Peggy for reminding me and what wake up call.
    May God continue to bless you as you bless and encourage others.
    He is faithful.

  2. Each time! Each time we wash our hands we can be thankful to God for His washing away our careless
    Sinful nature..each time I put on my shoes I can thank Him for leading me where someone needs me
    And Him..when I open my eyes ,see the colorful sun rise, or rest in the spectacular sunset, or look up
    At the stars , the moon..keep my mind fixed on the good. .I know my Savior lives..what can I Give Him..
    My love , thankful heart, perserverance ..for who and where He has placed me for this hour..to bring Him pleasure and honor..oh how He blesses this!! These are things we all can do….

  3. “Sparkle wherever God places you,” “To him much is given much more is required.” Thanks Peggy for these encouraging and challenging words. Often I’m scared of learning more when I see that I have not effectively used or applied what I have so far. I now know that my time in BSF is preparation for the future. Sparkle indeed wherever.

    • BSF has been a blessing to me.After 18 years I have come to know the Lord in a more personal way.I will always be indebted.I’m so glad God has used Peggy so mightifully in His kingdom building.Thank you Peggy for your share.

      • Thank you so much Peggy, for sharing. I am so touched. I can’t thank God enough for BSF.

  4. Peggy,
    I am encouraged by your commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times we get discouraged by the different seasons of our life but the enormous support we get from the group discussions during Bsf keeps us afloat.
    May you continue being used by God to spread the good news.

  5. This story of Peggy has inspired me to pay closer attention to my studies in BSF, beyond the reading and writing down answers. This is my first year in BSF and, at age 65, I have already found a group of women that I believe are becoming my sisters in Christ. I was blessed with a Catholic education and a personal love of Jesus since my earliest childhood, but this experience in BSF is giving me a new understanding of the importance of honoring God and sharing that reverence with others in my family and beyond. I hope, that with new knowledge and understanding, my heart will be permanently changed to give me the courage to share with others what I have concealed in my heart all these years.

  6. May God continue to Bless you and make you a Blessing. We truly thank God for you. We all Know love and Honor God in a better way because of your faithfulness.

  7. Thanks gain for sharing this wonderful message. Amen.

  8. Thank you for sharing words of insipration. Learnt our spiritual journey is like the seasons of the year. We have spiritual summers, falls, springs and winters. I should embrace each season. Profound.

    Be blessed for all you are doing working in his vineyard.

    • Thanks Rufaro! Each season has it’s great blessings from God.

  9. We are so very blessed to be able to attend BSF to study the Word and better understand our holy God’s nature and character. Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. Wow!! To whom much is given, much is expected!! Imagine if you don’t give much even after being given much- almost amounts to hoarding…scares me if am really giving much of what I’m currently receiving from BSF (all the resources, teachings…) may God help us to realize that we are not being given to keep but to give back to those that need it most, starting with our close family members that do not know this sweet Savior that we know & love so much -JESUS. Thank you Peggy for sharing.

    • Purity! What a profound message to us about hoarding God’s goodness! Thank u

  11. What a beautiful story, Peggy! What I admire most is your obedience to the Lord; the obedience to step down from BSF teaching leadership and the obedience to follow the Lord to Eastern Europe. It is from your obedience where fruit is produced, and He is glorified. I am glad you get to bear witness of the fruit you are producing through Him. This is very inspirational.

  12. Peggy, I doubt you remember me, but a am Robyn Pace from Nichols. When visiting Nichols as i am now in St. Petersburg, Fl., I frequently tried to go and hear you as Harriet Elvington Enzor told me you were the teaching leader in MB BSF But when home, I am usually with family and busy. I am sad that i never heard your lecture, but estatic you have found your new talents. Enjoy.

    • Hi Robyn,
      Sorry I have missed you! Are you connected with a BSF class? If not you should you would love it.
      Blessings.

  13. Thanks for excellent sharing. Indeed BSF not only prepares us for the coming season but we enjoy the benefit of trying out our learning at our local churches as we serve in Bible study groups Sunday School classes etc.(A kind of OJT. on the job training) God bless and to Him be the glory.

  14. I have been in BSF classes for a very long time. I have enjoyed them and I have learned a lot. I have recently moved and I drive over an hour to attend a class. Most ladies I meet have never heard of bsf. My passion is that we need to grow more classes right here in the U S A and that everyone would know that they have a choice to attend an indepth bible study class. The classes available are way to far for many rural ladies to go the distance. I have been to other countries and I know their desire to hear Gods word but we need educated in the word here in America also. There is a great difference in just hearing and understanding. Please pray that class availability will become more convienent for all interested. Thanks and God Bless!!

  15. Peggy, loved reading how God has used you and the adventures He has taken you on because of BSF. I pray that whatever season you are in right now, that He will continue the good work He has started in you and bring it to completion until Christ returns (Phil.1:6)

    • Don’t know why my photo came up and can’t delete it!!

  16. I am so encouraged by by Peggy’s testimony. Indeed BSF is a rich training ground and I really thank God for bringing me into contact with this organisation. It has enriched my knowledge of God and I can now share the word of God confidently with others outside of BSF.
    I look forward to being used more and more for the cause of Christ as I avail myself to His service.
    God bless you Peggy!

  17. Thank you Peggy for sharing how God has used you in ministry as a stay at home mom all the way to a BSF teaching leader and then to teaching overseas to encourage depth and passion of Christ to other believers!

    Your story is so encouraging because I’m a stay at home mom who went to Bible college and had a career in student services in the college/university setting. I often long for more stimulation and depth outside our home life but your story reminds me there are seasons of life beyond and after being a stay at home mom. My goal and role now is to show and teach my kids the Gospel right now until God calls me elsewhere! I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter and a 5 week old son that God has graciously entrusted to my husband and I to love and cherish and show and teach them about Him and His Word. There will be more seasons after this often exhausting and challenging one! Thank you for your love and passion for our Lord! He is good all the time. 😊👶🏼🤱💖💙

    • God blesses every season! Enjoy them.

  18. It is good to serve the Lord and it is rewarding. Peggy! you were available for Him and He used you and gave you words to speak on His behalf like He did to Moses. May He continue to use you mightily. BSF is so humbling and I enjoy attending and learning the word of God.The story is so uplifting.

  19. Your story has encouraged me. God bless you

  20. God bless you so much. You have uplifted my spirits. Am doing the people of the promised land and this is my third book after doing John and Romans. I sincerely thank God for those who put their mind together to start BSF. I have grown in BSF. and have been challenged like in the book of Romans when we learnt about disputable matters, being judgemental, loving our enemies etc. Its my desire that I live to preach the Good news and I know whatever we confess with our own mouths, God answers. Like now Ruth surely, can you imagine how she got her husband after the first one died. When I grow up, I want to be like Naomi as a mother in law. God bless you abundantly.

  21. I am inspired by Peggy’s experience with God through BSF and motivated to serve God in ministry that has been prepared. I pray God will lead me and empower me to follow his command to make all people his disciple.

  22. What an encouragement for those who are just beginning…that we have a lifetime to being used of the Lord as we do an in-depth study of Gods word through BSF…

  23. We glorify the Almighty God who has given you the strength to work for Him. I personally thank you for committing yourself to the work of him who called you according to the grace he has given you. Praise be to God.

  24. What a blessing to read how God has turned your obedient acts into a peacemaking and loving gift to people “across the pond”! Beautiful things happen when we are obedient.

  25. Your BSF journey is an inspiration! God is really at work to those who obey His words. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  26. Amazing! How great is our Lord who can transform you so greatly.

    Peggy glad to hear your life story that impacted mine as well.

    May our good Lord bless you and keep you in His Peace and Joy always

    Firos Cheah

  27. Great message of encouragement. We are indeed being prepared to serve, for the harvest is big, labourers are few.

  28. BSF …. have being a blessing to me….I can’t wait for Tuesday mornings to come… I love it and the ladies they are nice … please pray for me …God bless

  29. Thank you for your sharing! I am only in my 3rd year studying BSF and praying He will use me according to His purposes as I read His word. Your sharing is inspiring and encouraging. All praise & glory unto God.

  30. So encouraging – love this piece and your passion for Jesus!

  31. Peggy, you taught me well as my BSF TL for those 11 years in MB especially in our leadership circle. Now I continue to serve as a GL in Charlotte, NC near my precious grandchildren. You sparkled for Jesus then and you still sparkle for Him now! May God richly bless you as you obediently serve to train others near and far!

    • Beth,
      So glad to hear you are still leading in BSF! God bless you

  32. Awesome God we serve!

  33. Thank you so much for sharing how BSF has prepared you to serve the Lord wherever He sends you. You are very encouraging to me to never retire from serving God and the longer He gives me the honor of serving Him in BSF the more ready I’ll be for,what’s next God bless you.

  34. Praise to the LORD, the mighty ONE, HE is full of wisdom, no one can compare!!!
    Thank you Peggy for your sharing, very encouraging!!! May GOD our LORD help us to discern HIS will through HIS WORD, and be obedient to live out our lives that pleasing HIM.

  35. Thank you for sharing this inspiring account of your journey with our Lord! I have been so blessed to be taught and encouraged by you in BSF and church. So thankful.

    • You are such a blessing to me! Keep teaching those precious children.

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