Both Christy and I were born in Covington, Ga and have lived there all our lives. We both grew up in a christian home, and have devoted our lives to following God’s call for our family. Not always knowing exactly what the Lord had planned for us, but willing to follow where he leads. The idea of being a missionary never crossed our minds until recently. After much prayer we have chosen to step out in faith and follow Him to Moldova.
Our Calling and Mission
(Christy) During a mission trip to Haiti in 2012 I began to feel the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me in a way that I had never before, everything that I was currently doing in my life was good, but I wasn’t impacting the kingdom like God had planned. My eyes and heart were opened to see people in a light that I had never seen them in before. As I watched the faces of the people in Haiti search for the hope that only Christ can bring, I realized how fortunate I was to have grown up in a christian home with a family who loved me. I could have easily been the very one that God chose to place in that very same situation. I began to talk with God about how I could have a stronger impact in His kingdom, how I could share the love that Christ has shown me to a world that seemed utterly hopeless. God revealed to me at that very moment that all people needed to hear his message of hope. It wasn’t something that I didn’t already know but it was as if He placed an urgency in my heart for people who didn’t have the opportunity like I did as a child. Proverbs 29:7 tells us to consider the cause of the poor, and I believe anyone without Christ is poor, so I must go and tell. At this time I had no idea where he wanted me to serve but I was very aware that he was calling me to missions. As time progressed God begin to place a small European country called Moldova on my heart. As I learned more about the people in this county it became clear that a vision trip to Moldova was necessary. As I ministered to the people there I began to see that same look of desperation on their faces as I did the people of Haiti. One afternoon in a Day Center filled with children God revealed to me that Moldova was the place He intended for my family to serve.
(Kelly) After Christy’s return from Haiti in 2012 she began to discuss with me her calling. I listen to her and the Holy Spirit but did not accept the calling, I kept telling myself that our life was good, we have good jobs, a house, and are surrounded by our family and friends. Leaving home and becoming a missionary was not part of my plan. As months of struggling between God and myself passed, the opportunity arose to take a short term trip to Moldova. Not fully realizing that this trip was a vision trip that God would use to open my heart to his will, we boarded a plane for the country of Moldova. As our plane landed back in Atlanta after spending a week with the Moldovan people I felt as though I should have never left Moldova. This is a feeling that I have never experienced when returning home from a mission trip. My work in Moldova is to be much longer than a short term mission trip. I began to seriously pray to the Lord daily asking for confirmation on His will and direction for my life and my family. As I traveled to and from my job each day, I battled with the Lord week after week in these prayers. This was my personal prayer time with the Lord each day. Then one Sunday morning after hearing a message entitled The Lord’s Call on your Life and a visit to the local Dunkin Doughnuts later that same day confirmed God’s Call for my life. Sitting in the parking lot I looked up from the driver’s seat and the only letters lit on the Goodwill sign were “GO”, there before me was a visual confirmation from the Lord. The Lord had opened up my heart to see the Moldovan people for who they were, people just like me needing same the Lord I do everyday. I could not run from the Lord anymore, if I did He would make my life miserable knowing He had called me to the mission field. At this point without a doubt I knew I was called to serve the Lord in the country of Moldova.
After much prayer and consulting with other missionaries the Lord directed us to join Operation Mobilization USA a christian bible believing organization based out of Tyrone, Ga. Once joining OM USA we applied and were accepted by the OM Moldova team. The OM Moldova team mission statement at that time was “Helping place mission at the heart of the church and the church at the heart of the community”.We very much believe in that statement and will follow it as we carry out our vision. Now a few years have pasted and the OM Moldova mission statement has changed, it now reads ” We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least-reached” We fully understand the meaning of this new vision statement as we look forward to our next two years (2017-2018) serving the Lord in Moldova. As a family we want to stand in the gap for the least-reached and allow the Lord’s love to shine thru us, so that we build lasting relationships with the people of Moldova.
” We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least-reached”
The country of Moldova is located in Eastern Europe in between Romania and the Ukraine. The average Moldovan salary for a man is $2500 yearly and a Moldovan family in the village will need $300 to $ 500 for firewood to survive the cold harsh winters(that is 20 % of their income). The poverty level in rural areas is around 31% and in urban areas around 8%. Moldova is considered the Haiti of Europe due to it high poverty rate and lack of employment opportunities.
From a religious standpoint there are two main religions in Moldova, The Moldovan Orthodox Church(61.74%), and the ever growing Muslim religion (4.95%). And there are 26.1% of the people in the country unreached. The country is heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church with the idea that money paid to the Priest will solve their problems.
The need is great from the standpoint of the poverty level and the level of the unreached. So what would happen if we were not serving? A father would leave his family in search for work abroad not returning to support his family(statistics show that nearly 1/3 of the Moldovan population work abroad, that accounts for 1 million plus people). A mother would leave her fatherless children in order to support her alcohol abuse (1 in 3 Moldovan children become social orphans). A family may sell off a young daughter into human trafficking(sex trade is on the rise in Moldova) in order to have money for firewood for the winter. A family of four children, a mother and a deaf father whose farm animals lived in better housing than they do struggle to make it day to day as the father only earns a half days wage for a whole day of work because he is deaf. At the same time you can see a glimmer of hope as he explains how thankful he is that the Lord gave him the half day pay to provide for his family.
All of these examples seem to leave the people in this country hopeless however, we know that the Lord has the power to change each of these situations for his good and glory. This is why we must continue to bring these situations to light and recognize the need. Lives are changing overnight and by showing the Lord’s love, building relationships, and planting seeds we have already seen God’s kingdom expand!
Looking Ahead 2017-2018
Based on the needs above and in accordance with OM Moldova’s vision our family seeks to continue our ministry in Moldova and follow our vision to Stand in the GAP for the people of Moldova.
I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap. Ezekiel 22:30
As a family we want to continue to show God’s love, build relationships, and plant seeds to further build the Kingdom. We are excited to see God working and growing the people of Moldova.
During our vision trip to Moldova God had us serve the people in village of Panasesti. After several months on the field God placed this village back on our minds and in our hearts. We began to attend Rock of Ages Church in Panasesti, where God has opened many doors for our entire family to build relationships, serve, and help grow the church there. We pray that God will continue to open doors in Panasesti for our family to connect with other families not only in the church but in the community as well.
While on an outreach to show foreigners what real life looks like in a village of Moldova, Kelly visited a village named Schinoasa. Life in Schinasa is hard but, we have seen God’s hand moving and hope to join his work there. This village has also grown to be a very important place for us in Moldova. We are praying that God will open doors for our family in Schinoasa, we are praying about some different avenues that God has presented to us that can change peoples lives and how they live daily.
We personally feel that there is still an urgent need for our family here in Moldova. God continues to give us assurance that we are in the center of his will. We strive to be the hands and feet of Christ, ministering to the needy in a poverty stricken nation. We seek to reach out to children who don’t know the love, security and warmth of family as God intended. We want to be a voice for the elderly who have often been left alone and forgotten. We pray that God will continue to place people in our lives that need us to Stand in the GAP for them.
Holding to the Faith,
Kelly & Christy