On The Road Again…
We have been back in Moldova for over a month, I have been back in the office for several weeks and I have been so encouraged to see the Lord is carrying out His works in some amazing ways here in Moldova. The first week back I was able to complete what I would a call a milk run, visiting many ministries throughout the country of Moldova to see how things are going. These types of check ups result in long days however, it does your heart good to see how people are responding to the Gospel and to the practical activities carried out through the ministry of OM. Being able to jump back into ministry and see these activities first-hand have brought me much joy and happiness. It has most importantly lit a new fire in my heart for our next two years in Moldova.
First Stop: Rehab Center
As we began the journey we made our first stop at a Christian Rehab Center for people suffering with the addiction of alcohol and drugs. The center is located on the Eastern side of Moldova and is operated by a Christian organization with deep christian beliefs. This was the first time I have visited the rehab center so I was not I sure what to expect. As we enter the facility I was not overwhelmed because you could truly feel the presence of the Lord in the center. We were greeted at the gate by the director and all the patients were waiting at the front steps. When you first walk in you see a wall of pictures every picture had a story. I asked about one of the pictures and an amazing story was shared. I was told about a man named Anatol, he was in grade seven when both his parents died. He was left to care for his brothers and sisters, which resulted in him dropping out of school to do, this is when he lost track of his life. Shortly after dropping out of school he became an alcoholic and his life begin to spiral out of control. Years pasted and his addiction to alcohol only became worse. His health declined and he found himself waking up in a hospital one morning. After some time he was told he could leave the hospital but returning to alcohol would kill him sooner than later. He was offered the chance to go to the rehab center, he took the offer realizing his life had hit rock bottom. He enjoyed his time at the rehab center, he even finished the program but the best part was that he repented and now he is a believer. He says he was given a second chance at life. Anatol got married this past December to a believer and they are expecting a baby later this year.
This is just one example of the many stories on the wall at the rehab center. I could have stood at that wall all day and listened to these amazing God stories. The rehab offers their attendees three meals a day, a time to praise and worship God, and they each have special chores to complete so that the rehab center will contiune to run smoothly. The day I visited there were 24 participants in the program. You could see changes in appearance as well as sense changes in their hearts. Please be in prayer for these recovering addicts, pray they continue to reach to the Lord for help. Also, pray the center remains funded and new projects are completed. They are working to make a new bathroom, repair the roof, and a construct a greenhouse for growing produce year around.
Second stop: Multiple stops to see projects across several villages (Day 2)
The second leg of the milk run started out in a village not far from Chisinau. We traveled to the village of Ciorescu to visit with a family who recently received a cow. We also visited at a playground site that has recently been completed the same village. Sometimes the villages near Chisinau are the most heart breaking to me, you stand in the front yard of a family’s home staring at some of the worst poverty you have every seen and just in the distance is a tall high-rise building that is in the big city of Chisinau. I wonder many times they feel like they live in bad conditions and hope is just in sight but never can be reached. The family we visited lived in what looked to be a four room house it was home for a grandmother, her son and daughter who were both married with six children…do the math that is a total of 11 poeple in a four room house. Even in all the poverty I was encouraged, of the six children there was a set of triplets, two girls and one boy. One of the little girls was completely amazing. She was three years old. I asked her what her name was and she responded with her name, her age, and where she lived. Not only that she lived in the village of Ciorescu, in the district of Chisinau, in the country of Moldova , which was located in Eastern Europe, and it happens to be the both the northern and southern hemispheres on the planet Earth…I was completely blowed away. She basically talked the entire time we were visiting with them. She lead us down the path to see the new cow. The adults said the cow was a blessing for the children to have milk twice a day each day. Both men of the house had jobs in Chisinau but requested to be free that day in order to see the expected visitors. We talked for a while longer but our time was short because we had to see the playground project site. Please pray for this family that they will see and understand the Lord’s love shown by others and they will repent. Also pray the fathers remain employed in Chisinau.
The next stop was the playground project site there in Ciorescu. The playground projects are special to me because this was our families first outreach together. This playground layout was different than the one we helped build however, you could still see signs of daily use by the local children in this area. The playground projects are also an important tool for the local church, they provide a way to connect them to the local families as the kids come to play and provide a place to have outreach events for the local community. Please be in pray for other playground projects that will take place this summer during Love Moldova.
We drove from Ciorescu to the north to the village of Crasnaseni to visit the Day Center and Elderly Center located there. These centers are one of the oldest established projects at OM Moldova. If you remember my blog post about Peter (Searching for Real Love) this is the village in which he lives. He attended this Day Center for many years, his situation is pretty much the same, he is trying to finish the 9th year of school and care for his brothers and sisters at the same time. Please continue to be in pray for Peter to find a good Christian home in the city so that he can finish his schooling. Shortly after arriving at the Day Center the children also begin to arrive. They welcomed us and greeted us with the romania saying ” Hristos a înviat” meaning “Christ has risen”, this is custom during the Easter season. Many times I think we should say it to each other everyday for we are not worthy of our salvation. Hearing the children say this was such an encoruagement because as you look out the front door of the day center you can see the village Orthodox church and the cemetery where some many died not knowing there was hope and that hope is the Gospel. This Day Center is truly special you can sense the prescience of the Lord and see it in faces of the children.
After leaving the Day Center we begin to trek through the village delivering hot meals to the elderly. This job is done by a couple Christian ladies from the village, they do this every day for 8-10 elderly no matter the how hot the temperature is or how much snow is on the ground. They GO for this is their calling that the Lord has given on their lives. The first elderly person we visited was a man named Victor. Victor was at a crossroad in his life and was having deep thoughts about the Gospel and about being a believer. Victor is old and cannot move around much anymore for his legs are failing him. For the most part he lived a good life, he was rich by Moldovan standards but, he got his wealth by being involved in illegal activity, and that life caught up with him one day. No one knows for sure but he was in debt to someone and couldn’t pay, so they took his left arm as payment. Not being able to work after that he lost everything and he will tell you he is a dying old man with nothing to live for. He has been part of the Elderly Center for a few months and he is often visited by the local Orthodox priest. This is where his struggle begin now, the priest tells him that the food the Christians bring is poisoned and from Satan. This is not true but Victor struggles with it each day because he lived a life of oppression from the Orthodox church for so long. This is not only a struggle for Victor but for many others as they are told the food is from the devil and they will good to Hell but what choice do they have eat the food or starve. Please be in pray for these men and women that their hearts will be softened and that they would repent of their sins, and know that they have a Father who loves them and would never poison their food.
The day was getting short and we had one more stop. We drove to one of my two favorite places in Moldova the village of Schinoasa. This was my first time back in Schinoasa since retuning to Moldova. I was excited to visit to get to visit with Sava and his family. Prior to visiting Sava we stopped to talk with a family who recently received a goat from an OM Moldova Relief project. This family was truly appreciative for receiving the goat and were blessed to have the milk each day for the children. I had visited this family once before, not much changed but the smiles on the children’s faces remained for they had just come from the children’s program at the new church. Their hearts are beginning to understand the Gospel and God’s love…Praise The Lord!
Then we visited with Sava’s family. Seeing Sava again was such an encouragement to me, I could see a lot of change in him. He was dressed nice and clean, he seemed be more hopeful and have more respect for himself.
He was happy to see us and appreciated the food parcel we brought. He told us about his salvation and asked us to pray for his family especially his oldest granddaughter Denisa. Denisa is the girl in foreground in the picture below.Denisa is 12 years old and has begun to experience some serious health issues. The local doctor does not know the cause of the problem and has said there is nothing else that can be done at his clinic. She now needs to go to Chisinau for further tests. Denisa will just be sitting, playing with her friends and pass out, this has happened several times in recent months. Sava is very concerned and ask for specific pray for her healing. I ask that you to pray for Denisa and her health. I am working to see if I can get her to Chisinau for a doctor’s appointment. As we were leaving Sava’s house he threw his hand up to say goodbye as if we were old friends, I cherish these times knowing that without a doubt we are more than friends we are brothers in Christ.
As we left Sava’s house on a spirtual high we stopped for another family visit, this stop was unplanned and unexpected. This family decided as believers they were going to be the change. They have established a small business making corn brooms. These brooms sell for about 1 dollar each in there market and they are looking to sell them outside of the market in higher volumes.
In the few minutes we were there you could feel their happiness surround you. This family is making a difference and they gave all the praise to the Lord. The brooms are quite nice and work very well. I was truly blessed that we stopped by this family’s house because they are just another example of how the Lord is working in Schinoasa. Please continue to be in pray for Schinoasa, the church is growing and they even have a vision to reach out to the next village that is in the same situation as Schinoasa, they have a heart for missions and sharing the Gospel.
Third stop: Multiple projects across several villages (Day 3)
After finishing day one and two of this milk run, I begin to think there was nothing more to see but was I wrong. We started out day three by traveling to the village of Panaesti to see some ongoing OM Moldova projects. In Panasesti we visited the church to see the new progress being made on the building. Every time I’m at the church I feel happy knowing that God’s hand is at work with this project, it seems like with each passing week the church is reaching completion. Just recently the church was able to apply insulation to the ceiling and walls as well as finishing the wiring for the lights and electrical needs in the sanctuary.
Before leaving the church we stopped in to see how the day center was going talk with those smiling faces. The center is blessed to have 15-20 children and the Lord is providing funds for the daily meals.
After leaving the church we visited with two families. One was a recipient of the seed pack project and the other a recipient of the cow project. Seeing first hand the seeds planted and growing was amazing knowing that in a few weeks the family will be blessed with fresh vegetables each day. The family who received the cow was very appreciative for the cow, they offered us fresh milk and said the milk is making a difference the children’s life.
We closed out the day in the village of Lozova. Lozova has a new church plant that is currently in the process of being built. The team there has gained a lot of ground in a short time getting the construction under way. In a matter of a few weeks the foundation has been set and now they are waiting on the walls and roof to be delivered. The church in Lozova is growing just as the church building is. This project is just another example to how the Lord is working Moldova.
God is still working in Moldova in amazing ways. Please continue pray for these individual projects along with the lives of people that will be transformed by these projects. God is good, all the time God is good. Blessings