Challenge & Change
Everyone follows a path in life, having to make many decisions along the way. Those decisions will effect the rest of your life whether good or bad decisions were made. Today marks 18 months we have been serving the Lord in Moldova a decision I do not doubt nor regret. When I think back on the last 18 months I find it hard to believe that a year and a half have pasted. My heart is full of joy, seeing all the Lord is doing here in Moldova and how my family is being used for the building of the Kingdom. I also know that these past 18 months have been meet with much challenge and change, in knowing that just as Deuteronomy 31:8 says, He the Lord has gone before us and He will take care of us. I live this verse out everyday.
We have been meet with some challenges but nothing the the Lord cannot correct or resolve so I will not tell you of the challenges. I simply want to tell you how we as a family have changed.
I myself have grown spiritually, seeking the Lord in all decisions small or large, through prayer and the Word. I have also realized the importance of smiles, never really understanding how much the Lord truly shines through your actions especially your smiles. He simply radiates with love just from a smile to a child or adult who may have lost all hope that day. You can see this effect on people you pass each and every day. I specifically have noticed this with the people who live in our apartment building. Early on they would have nothing to with us and many times they would avoid us all together. As months passed several begin to be more and more interested to why these foreigners had come to live in Moldova. So over the last year of so I have really seen God shine through me to these people which I now refer to as my neighbors. We know each other on a first basis, and they ask many questions both about the work we do and about God. I truly believe these relationships were started simply by smiles, something not seen so much in Moldova. They just wanted to know why we were different.
Christy has always had a strong faith in God, but in the past 18 months she has learned to let go and completely focus on God, His will, trust His plan, and then to give Him the glory for the outcome. Not just in the big changes but the small ones as well. The first change she faced, began before we even left the US, it was the climate. Christy is not a fan of cold weather, as a matter of fact I remember her saying “God I go anywhere you want as long as it’s warm”. The first snow we experienced here we had about 8 inches and before it could all melt 10 new inches fell. Life in Moldova doesn’t stop because of cold air or snow on the ground. Life went on and she learned very quickly to bundle up and keep going. That small change helped her to realize that no matter how small the problem seemed God had a plan and He was in complete control if she would only surrender to His will. The next change Christy was faced with was being a full time mom and teacher to our two children 24 hours a day 7 days a week with little time for herself. She has learned to be more loving and patience with them, even on the days when she feels she just needs to be away from them for a little moment of time. She has learned in those moments to ask God to intervene and help her see them through His eyes, as the previous gift that He gave to us. Another big change that has helped Christy to completely trust God’s plan was going to the dentist in Moldova. In April of this year she broke a tooth and was faced with a dreadful trip to the dentist in a third world country. She ask God to guide her to a dentist that could be trusted, the courage to make the appointment, and to follow through with the visit. Christy doesn’t like the dentist, and hadn’t been to the dentist in the states in several years. It turned out that those years of neglect to her teeth caused some major problems in her gums. However, God knew this and already had a plan. He already had the dentist pick out, a very sweet Russian dentist who is a believer, and a translator that has been willing to accompany her to every visit. Christy has now been able to become very good friends with the girl who was willing to be her translator. Because she trusted God’s plan she is now able to mentor with this girl who has no family here in Moldova. Her new motto to live by is “Through it all my eyes are on you, and it is well with me so let it go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name”.
As for Michael there have been some huge changes and you can see them in his walk everyday. Christy and I were concerned about his transition and how exactly he would react to culture in Moldova. After much prayer we turned it over the Lord and He allowed Michael a smooth transition. He has come to have many friends both on the OM team, in the village of Panasesti and around our apartment. The boys around the apartment respect him and notice his reactions especially to Christy and I. When outside time is over and we call for him he knows not to linger long and his friends see this as an example. Also, they see his example of helping others and not always being first which has brought positive thinking for these young boys. There are some things Michael wishes to avoid like grocery shopping but if you say lets go to Panasesti he is the first one out the front door. At 12 years old I have seen him change as a believer to be a more Christ like example to his peers. I am very proud of Michael and his willingness to be an example to others without even being asked.
Mary is now 6 years old and she has probably changed more than any of us. For the most part she has lost all shyness and is very willing to speak her mind. Sometimes this is a struggle but after listening to her many times you understand why she wanted to speak her mind. By speaking her mind her heart is shining and she is actually wanting to stand in the gap for someone else. Many times you will see this because she will begin to ask many questions, maybe even over the course of a few days. Then once all her thoughts are straight she comes to you and lays it all out. Even at the early age of 6 she stands her ground and has one of the biggest loving hearts for other people I know. She has become her on little light of God and you can see how her light shines in the relationships she has made. She is my daughter and I am proud but if the Lord tarries she will do amazing things for the Kingdom of Christ.
As I close I want to share some of Toby Mac’s speak life words I came across the other day. I have taken these words to heart and looked back on the last 18 months and truly realized the change as the result of challenge.
If it does not challenge you, it does not change you. Fred De Vito
Moving your entire family to another country, serving the Lord faithfully and full time is a challenge but how you change is completely amazing. Face your challenge and expect change knowing as Deuteronomy 31:8 says He has gone before you.
As always thanks for your time and prayers. Today marks 18 months and only leaves 6 months of our first two years to go. Please pray as we begin to make plans for a return trip to the States for furlough. Pray the Lord directs us to the people who are willing to be committed partners for the new phase of this amazing journey. Blessings to you and your families. God is good, all the time God is good.
Holding to the Faith,