Serving Moldova

Seeking Refuge

For me, the first place I would call home was an old single-wide trailer on Jackson Highway in my home town. I was a baby of course and do not remember much about the place but I know for a period of time this was home, my refuge. A few years passed and my family moved closer to the city of Covington in a small but perfect three-bedroom house. I have many memories about this house for a few years this was home, my refuge. This house was across the street from Christy’s grandparents’ house where I first met her forty years ago.  I remember how big the back yard was, but if you drive by the house today you can see, the yard was not that big. I was looking through a different set of eyes, as a child, you see everything in a different perception. We were living in that house during the ice storm of 83’, no school for a week and basically everything was shut down but I still had a place to call home. A few years passed and my parents built a house out in the county where there seemed to be more cows than people. This was all new to me but that house became my refuge. There I meet many new friends and the times we had together are still imbedded in childhood memories. From time to time I catch myself sharing and telling Michael and Mary stories from growing up in the house. Just up the street lived my uncle, aunt, and cousin and there I would spend time too. I remember one winter my uncle and my dad thought it would be a good idea to buy a tractor-trailer of uncut timber for firewood, looking back now I don’t think they would ever do that again. We had firewood that winter but I think they cut wood every day. Thinking back now there were several places I would call my refuge while we lived there. Just a place you could go where you felt safe, protected, maybe even a secret place no now knew about. We had a dog named Charlie, raised some rabbits for a school project, had many adventures through the woods, played ball in the street until the security lights came on and you heard your mamma calling you to come home. I guess you could say all of it was my refuge, the house, my family, my friends, the forest, etc. But something was missing and I was not sure what it was. 

Several years had passed while living at that house and I was now in my early teens, I had found what was missing, I repented and accepted Christ as my savior. I understood and believed in my salvation but never knew how much I would depend on it and Him as my next season of life began.  A short time later the idea of a home or refuge was turned upside down and I found myself confused, embarrassed and even some days felt at fault for all that was happening. My parents separated and were in the process of divorce but I knew one thing for sure I found my refuge in God. This was a hard time and it seemed it may never come to an end. Then one day it was all final and finished, Mom and I moved to a new apartment. Life continued, it was during this time that I realized my refuge should be God for He is my rock and places of worldly refuge would not last. 

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield

and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalms 18:2 NIV

I write all of this to ask, where do you find your refuge? I began thinking about this and Psalms 18:2 while we were in the village of Nicolaevca for Love Moldova B outreach. Each day while we were in the village we presented a program to the children, even on Sunday. The program was held at the same place every day, a beautiful ridge up above the village where there was a cleared area for a soccer field. As we traveled this old road that was barley passable each day I thought more and more about this place. It was a place of refuge and the children of the village held this place close to their heart. It was a place where they could just grow up and be kids, do kids’ stuff but at the same time know they were safe and protected. The distance you needed to walk to this place was far away from most of the kid’s homes. Kids in the west would never go the distance but these kids would have walked twice as far for this is where they could come to get away from danger, drunk and loud parents, or even someone who might beat them. With each passing day, you could see it in their eyes so much that I began to feel the same, this place was a place of refuge. 

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These children had impacted us so much in a short period of time. Every day as we arrived at the field they would be waiting, some 40-50 of them and many parents too. They would be sitting calmly over in the edge of the trees where it was cooler patiently waiting for us to unload the Sprinter for the program. We would take out the balls, the parachute and sports equipment watching them run to us as if they were trying to win a race. This nearly breaks my heart every time, you find this in most villages there are no balls, jump ropes, frisbees, etc. nothing to play with. The program started every day like this, but each day more children came. We would start with free time, then team games, then after 30-45 minutes we would bring them together with an attention game to settled them down before the main program began. The game was followed by a couple of songs with motions much like a VBS song. After the song came the clowns, who presented a skit that was funny but also had a serious meaning to tied into the Bible story they would hear. The skit was followed by the daily Bible verse reading, it always amazes me in a children’s program, how quickly the children learn the verse and want to share what they have learned. The word of God is being instilled in their hearts through these activities. After the verse comes the Bible story in which our team acted out the story keeping the children’s attention at the highest. When the story was finished the team came together and prayed over the children and their parents. The program ended each day with the children completing a handcraft that went along with that day’s theme. Then we would give each of them some bread, fruit, and juice as they were leaving. As they walked they would turn to look at us almost as if they wondered if we would return tomorrow. You could also see the expressions on their faces knowing that their place of refuge was over for today and it was back to reality. 

 Each afternoon the team would go into the village to make some family visits.  We would see some of the children along the village streets and they would smile and some would even wave. We visited some of them to see their family and take them a food parcel. In their homes, it was a different atmosphere they were not as relaxed and open to talk or listen to what we had to say. The Lord was up on that hill and I felt as close to home as I ever felt. 

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Goodbyes are always hard when you leave the village. It is truly amazing to see God work in your life so fast but knowing you are only there for a few days is tough. You begin to wonder how will God really use you in that period of time. We have to be prayed up and seek Him for our refuge so we will feel peace when we are doing ministry in the village.  Then God will bless you through the children, their families, and other team members, we must turn to Him, make Him our stronghold, our rock, and our refuge. He wants this and His arms are wide open for us to run to Him. I pray you find refuge in Him and not worldly materials for they will not last nor bring you happiness. I also ask you to pray for the children of Nicolaevca, for seeds that were planted to grow so that they realize God is their refuge and no matter what happens, with Him, they are safe just like they felt with us up on that old hill. 

Serving Moldova Video Updates

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SERVING MOLDOVA

Links To Individual Videos

Love Moldova A 2019

Rock of Ages Church, Panasesti Moldova

The Death, Burial & Resurrection

Love Moldova B 2019

April 2019 Update

May 2019 Update

June 2019 Update

 

 

 

What Will Be Your Choice?

Yesterday morning as I drove to the OM office I stopped for a cold Coca-Cola, it seems that summer has finally arrived in Moldova so a coke was in order. Thinking back today I did not realize that stopping at the shop would involve so much prayer in the days ahead. I walked into the shop, grabbed the coke and went pay, there was a man in line ahead of me. He was not well kept and was emptying all his pockets for his loose change so that he could pay his bill.  He was buying a packet of tea, a bottle of water and a loaf of bread. The lady behind the counter said 10 lei please, and there he stood with a look of confusion. He had a choice to make, what not to buy for he did not have enough money for everything. He quickly decided, gave her 7 lei in bills and some change, everything he had in his pocket. He left the bread on the counter and walked away. The lady called to him back just before he exited through the door, she had made a choice as well to give him the bread, he stepped back to the counter thanked her ten times over and took the bread. I placed my coke on the counter and she said 12 lei, I gave her 15 lei and she returned to me 3 lei, which I left counter and told her it was for the man’s bread. I too had a choice to make. She told me thank you and I walked out of the shop to my car. There I saw the man digging through the trash bins for anything he could use, sell or even eat. I continued my drive to the office.

In life, we all have to make choices that affect our everyday life dealing with work, family, finances and so on. Some choices are easy and some are hard decisions but in the end, each of our choices has consequences. Just like this man from the shop, I do not know his situation but, sometimes in life, he made a choice that got him where he is today. Was it a good choice I do not know, was he persuaded by someone else in making his choice, maybe. As for the lady she too made a choice, did she do it from her heart or just because I was standing there in line. I think she did it from her heart because of a choice she made before. I even made a choice to help pay for the bread so this lady’s register would not be short at the end of the day. I also wanted to insure this man had something to eat, he might even have a family at home. My choice comes with consequences too. We make choices every day they may affect life today,  tomorrow, or life a year from now. Do we really think about the consequences, who will our decision affect going forward? Our choices can be personal or public, selfish or selfless, short-term or long-term either way do we really think about the consequences.

As the day continued yesterday I begin to pray for this man, his life and his situation. Praying that he will find hope in the Lord. I had never seen him before yesterday so I am not sure if his problems have been the result of choices recently or choices from days gone by. I also prayed for the lady in the shop, for her heart of love to help by giving him the bread. I pray she continues to be the example to her family and the people who come in and out of her shop. As the day continued the Lord laid a bigger concern on my heart and the need for prayer. Moldova struggles from many issues, corruption, alcoholism, human trafficking, political unrest, an infrastructure that is crumbling to name a few. These problems did not happen overnight and will not be solved overnight. Moldova is living with the consequences for choices made by leaders over the last 50-75 years. This is a direct result of many of Moldova’s struggles today. Well, some may say Kelly the people were given the right to vote to put many of these politicians in office, and I would say they are right. At the same time, they are wrong too if that makes sense, a politician will promise you anything to get your vote (your choice) much like the devil. So, in Moldova’s case, the promises of change never came and the conditions have only worsened in the last 50-75 years. The politicians became rich and the people of Moldova became poor. 

How can this spiraling out control choice be changed? I think it can be through prayer, starting at the top praying for the president of Moldova. This may not be the person you chose or the person you think is the best one for the job but, at this time in history, this is the person God has given authority over Moldova. I think scripture says it best, 

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. Romans 13:1

Like him or not he needs prayers and the people of Moldova should pray for him and his family. This goes for anyone God has placed in your life that holds a leadership role over you. An elected official, mayor of a village, police, judges,  the parliament and even leaders in your workplace. They are in need of prayer along with their families too. We should pray for their hearts to be softened and for them to seek the Lord for guidance for leading their team forward. We should also begin praying for the Orthodox church, pray the mindset is changed and the corruption is no more then people will see the church for what it should be and repent. We should also be praying for the evangelical pastors and their families along with other believers to be ready for this great revival that is coming. Wow, can you imagine how the world could change, how the hearts of the people could be broken and lives could be spent living out passion for Christ. 

This leaves me with one more question? What will your choice be? Will you pray for each leader God has placed in your life right now or will you continue to live life in direct disobedience to what God has called you to do. It is your choice and I hope and pray you make a Godly one. 

Be blessed and thanks for your time. This is a very serious matter that requires serious prayer.  

Just a Fork, Spoon, & Three Small Cars

While on Love Moldova B we went to the village of Nicolaevca. Nicolaevca has a small church, that has been planted from the church in the next village. It is a small house with two rooms that are very dirty and smelled of mold. Work to reconstruct the house is underway but has a lot to be done. There is a need for the church in the village because the people are open to the Gospel and want to learn more about God.

Our team spent five days in this village doing children’s program and family visits. At the children’s program, I met a boy named Maxim. He came to the children’s program every day and we became friends.  We played together every day. On the fourth day, we went to his house for a home visit. His father and mother live at home along with his grandmother. His father works in the fields and his Mother works on Sundays. So this is a positive thing that he has both parents at home and they both work. However, it doesn’t make Maxim’s life any better. His parents are not believers. So they don’t attend the evangelical Church because his Mom works on Sundays. Sometimes his mother goes to the Orthodox Church.

IMG_2024Maxim is twelve, so that means I am only 3 years older than he is. When I look at our lives side by side there are many differences. The one that stands out the most is the amount of “stuff” we have. I have a room filled with many nice toys, and he doesn’t even have a room for himself. He asked me to play with him at his house and we played cars. He had a pile of sand, a fork, a spoon, and three small cars. These were all the toys he had to play with. We sat in the sand together for 45 minutes while our parents talked. We made roads in the sand and drove those cars around, we didn’t need anything else we had his toys and each other. While playing in the sand I realized that I could share God’s love with Maxim and other kids just by being friends and playing with them.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV

We had so much fun, Maxim doesn’t have many material objects, but he has so much joy and he is so happy. I am trusting God to watch over Maxim and his family. I am praying that he and his family will come to know God. I think we planted seeds in him and his family while we were on this outreach. Please pray for him with me.

A Life Focused on Him

As summer approaches OM Moldova begins a summer Outreach program called Love Moldova. We have four opportunities to join a team of foreigners who come from all over the world to tell the people of Moldova about God and His love for them. Our family went on Love Moldova A, we were joined by a team from America. Our purpose was to visit families: where we would give them a food parcel, talk with them and share God’s love with them. The visit that impacted me the most was when we visited a lady named Mrs. Vera. She lived in the village of Bravicea in the summer and during the winter she lived in Chisinau. Mrs. Vera is 69 years old and is battling breast cancer.

 

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She has to travel to Chisinau to the hospital where she has had several surgeries and has taken treatments for her cancer. Her cancer is in stage 4 and the doctors have told her she doesn’t have much longer to live. Her body is tired and she fights an awful pain every day. However, I would have never guessed that because she was so happy, she always has a big smile on her face, and she treated us with so much hospitable. Her story made me very emotional. After, hearing her story I know why she was so happy and didn’t let cancer get her down… because she was a believer, she had Jesus living in her and it showed through her actions. Her story makes me think of how I live my life now and how I should be living my life. It makes me examine my relationship with Jesus and shows me that I need to live my life so that others can see Jesus living in me. As we ended our visit with Mrs. Vera we prayed over her, I prayed that God would continue to give her courage to face each day and that God would help me live a life focused on him.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 NIV

Please join me in praying for Mrs. Vera in the days ahead, thanks.

Michael

Mrs. Vera

We arrived in Bravicea just before lunch with our minds and hearts ready to serve the Lord. We planned for this outreach to be different, we were accompanied by a team who wanted to encourage and share the Gospel with as many people as possible. We did not waste any time in doing so,  just after lunch, we headed out for two family visits. The first family was a husband and wife who were believers and caregivers for ten children, we came to encourage, but we were encouraged instead. We left their home and continued our walk through the village. 

We arrived at the next gate, as we entered we were meet by an older gentleman smiling as he greeted us. His wife was in the house cooking walnuts to make jam. This always amazes me, you never know what is on the other side of the gate and Mrs. Vera’s house was no different. As we passed through the gate it was much like you had walked into heaven. You were greeted with roses of all colors on your left and on the right, there were wildflowers of all kinds. As you continued down the narrow but well-defined path passing the winter house and coming to the entrance of the summer house. There she was standing at the stove cooking, she turned out the light on the stove and walked over to greet us there on the porch. She said my name is Vera, I am a believer and the good Lord takes care of me. As I stood there all you could see was this beautiful smile, I think for the first time in my life I saw what it looked like for a heart to smile. She was happy and thankful we came to visit, she even said: “You should have called me and I would have prepared some food for you”. We said no, we wanted to come to see and visit with you. We continued down the path passing the summer house to an area where the ground was worn and smooth from all the days past as they talked and fellowshipped with friends and family. The area covered by a makeshift roof that protected you from the sun, there was a small table surrounded by four benches and many stools here and there. It looked like a place you would call home, from the table you could look down into the garden that was a sight in itself. She brought out cookies and the baked walnuts for us to enjoy as we found our spot around this theater table where life was lived. We were surrounded by so much nature. Her husband returned from the cellar with compote but she wasn’t pleased with what he brought and ask him to return and to bring only the best for this day was special. She then took the cups from the kitchen filling each of ours with this juice and offering the cookies and jam to us. She said welcome to her table, this is where we have breakfast together every morning. I thought to myself a lot more time than just breakfast is spent under this old tree. There was a fly swatter within reach along with a slingshot to keep cats out of the garden, this is a place you would call home. 

As we all drank the juice and ate the cookies we each shared with Mrs. Vera and her husband our names, where we were from and a little about ourselves.  She was overwhelmed that so many people came to visit her that day. She said again she would have cooked if she had known we were coming but we reassured her we were good and her hospitality was the best. Then she began to tell us her story, she said I am 69 years old and I have stage four breast cancer and it is terminal. Then she said do not be sad for I am a believer in the Lord and He will take care of me. She told us she still has some treatments but not so many now, they live in the city in winter and return to this house in the village where she grew up for the spring and summer. No matter how defined I write I cannot explain to you this level of comfort this lady displayed, she was dying but she was okay with that. 

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As we continued to talk with her, we tried to speak encouragement into her life, but she was the one encouraging us for the Lord had placed her in our path on that first day to set the emotional pace for all the days to come during this outreach. We talked about life and their past, her spirit was unlike anything I had ever seen. Then as I turned away from the table just behind me was Michael, he too had stepped away caught up in some emotions and I looked into his eyes with tears falling down his cheeks he asks how can she be so strong to carry on each day? For it is about faith, a strong faith, not like any I have sent before. I mean she was so emotionally positive you would have never known she was dying of cancer. She lived 1 John 5:5 to the fullest.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5

As our time ended she wanted us to see the garden, almost as if she knew this was the last year she would see it. I must say it was some garden. Mary was happy because Mrs. Vera said to her pick a large bowl of strawberries. There were also many other things, like snap peas, cherries, choke berries, apricots to name a few. Then we all gathered around and prayed over Mrs. Vera. She thanked us for the food parcel and waved goodbye for what might have been the final time as we exited through the gate to the street. I realized that day the Lord has blessed me, but  I want to live like Mrs. Vera. 

In the days ahead as a family, we talked about Mrs. Vera. I even looked up the meaning of the name Vera, and was surprised by what I found out. According to Wikipedia, Vera is an old Russian name meaning Faith, how fitting is that. This lady named Vera will forever be etched in my mind and on my heart. I do not think I will ever see a smile again like hers. She believes and trusts in the Lord like no one else. She may not have realized how much her example impacted my life. Please keep her in your prayers as she finishes this life. Just as Hebrews 12:1 says, run the race with endurance and keep your eyes focused on Jesus, Mrs. Vera lives this out each and every day, she is still pressing on for the prize ahead of her. Be blessed Mrs. Vera for you blessed me. 

The Power of Prayer

The power of prayer, do we fully understand what that means in our lives as Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Has our life or another’s life been affected or changed as a result of the power of prayer through our personal prayers or someone interceding on our behalves? What is the power of prayer? According to the Bible, the power of prayer is quite simply the power of God, He is the one who hears and answers.  The Lord Almighty can do all things, Luke 1:37 says, For with God nothing shall be impossible. The Lord Almighty wants us to pray to Him in Faith, just as James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. The Lord Almighty also hears our prayers, Psalms 18:6 says, In my distress, I called to the LordI cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into his ears. Lastly, The Lord Almighty answers our prayers, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles, according to Psalms 34:17. So do you believe in the power of prayer, according to these verses we should believe and never doubt the power of prayer.

As a family, we believe in the power of prayer and have seen the results of praying first-hand. We are thankful and grateful for all the prayers lifted up in our name along with many answered prayers but I wanted to share with you about how the power of prayer has changed one man’s life here in Moldova. His name is Alex and he lives in the village of Bransesti located in the eastern region of Moldova. I always say everyone has a story but Alexi story is different, his story is the result of the power of prayer. Some may remember him from previous social media posts and or emails but I have never written a blog about him. I felt it best to write his story now and feel as thou his story will be an encouragement to many who are struggling now with health issues, relationship difficulties or spiritual warfare for God will answer our prayers.

I first met Alex is November 2015, I thought there was no hope for Alex but many people began to pray specifically for him. He lives in the village of Branesti where he grew up. His mother died when he was a teenager resulting in both him and his father turning to alcohol as a source of relief from the pain and poverty. The death of his mother became a pivotal point in Alex’s life going forward. Some years later Alex was beaten which almost caused him to die and he lost the use of his legs. He has been confined to a wheelchair since this and he began to drink heavily. In September 2016 while visiting with Alex he prayed and repented of his sins. This was the first time I had seen Alex smile. He said he felt a heart change but could not put down the bottle. We would take him food parcels and he would trade the food for wine. We continued to pray for him and asked many others to join us in prayer for him. With the help of the local church and OM in early 2017, Alex was able to go to a 6-month rehab program. Through this program, he confirmed his salvation and his body was cleaned from alcohol. He returned to Bransesti changed and had a new outlook on life. Many people in the village said it would not last. They were wrong, Alex began making the journey to the church every day in his wheelchair then climbing the church steps on his fists, asking what he needed to do to be baptized and what he could do at the church. He was given the requirements to be baptized and he began working on them. IMG_6177In the spring of 2018, he asked for a single burner stove so he could prepare his own food on Saturday and Sunday, he receives a hot meal Monday thru Friday from the Elderly Center. Wanting to prepare his own food was a big step for Alex. In April 2018 I took him the single burner he requested and someone provided the gas bottle to cook with. Now he cooks every weekend and gives extra food to his needy neighbors. People still were praying. Alex completed the requirements for baptism was he was baptized on July 1st, 2018, he has become heavily involved in the church and is now the Sunday school teacher for the children at the church. IMG_6995 He helps anyone he can in Branesti. Alex’s story and salvation is a result of faith and prayer. People continued to pray, in late 2018 another prayer was answered, we had been working for the past two years to prepare all of Alex’s documents so he could get a passport. Once he has his passport he can receive a pension each month. He received his passport on December 7th and will begin receiving a pension soon. Our GOD is faithful and Alex is living proof of this. Please continue to pray with me for Alex

As I close this entry I cannot help but think about another example of the power of prayer. In October 2018, Branesti held its annual harvest market, at the close of the market the people of the village wanted to help someone in the village. The people asked the mayor and the pastor who could they help.  Alex’s name was raised and the people of the village gave enough money to Alex for a new window and door at his house. The Lord changed one man’s life and now the entire village is changing, never doubt the power of prayer.  

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Currently, Alex is living in Branesti and he is heavily involved in the local church. We are searching for a place he can go for rehab because the doctors say he can walk again but finding this place has been a struggle. I know the Lord will provide an answer to this prayer too. Most rehab centers here in Moldova do not offer the extra care Alex will need in the beginning so I ask you to pray the Lord opens the door to a center that will help. In the meantime pray for the village of Bransesti this summer, Alex will help with a day camp throughout the summer for the children of the village and church. Lastly, Alex is getting around somewhat better he has been provided with an electric wheelchair, this makes travels to and from the church each day better, this is an answered prayer.

The power of prayer does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the Lord who hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer places us in contact with the Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results, whether or not He chooses to grant our petitions or deny our requests. Whatever the answer to our prayers, the God to whom we pray is the source of the power of prayer, and He can and will answer us, according to His perfect will and timing. So good or bad God is there right beside us and He listens to our prayers for this has been a reminder of our call to serve Him and His love for us.

I ask you to take a few minutes, click on the following link, and watch this video about prayer and its importance (The Power of Prayer). This video is several years old but listen to the words, I think all problems we encounter in life is mentioned in this video, God listens to all our prayers equally. For there is power in prayer and there are many more Alex stories out there that were the result of prayer. God wants to do amazing things for us but we must ask in prayer and then believe. If you have a God story anwered through prayer please feel free to write to me, I would love to hear your story for I will be encouraged. Thanks for your time and prayers especially for Alex, I pray now that you and your family will be blessed. Remember pray, believe and receive.

Reality and The Culture We Live In

I’ve been trying to put these words on paper for several weeks now, I type and delete. When we arrived back in Moldova I was super excited to make the journey up the street to the Cancer Hospital to see Maria. Why was I excited? Because I hadn’t seen her in 3 months, because I had some really cool cards to share with her that some children from America had made her, or maybe it was the fact that I had heard some really great news her tumor had shrunk. Whichever emotion it was quickly escaped my mind as we entered the hospital room where Maria sat in a chair waiting to receive a ratio active treatment. For a slight moment, she had a smile that quickly turned into a frown and her eyes filled with tears. Was she upset that we were there to visit, was she scared that she was about to endure this treatment again the answers to these questions I will never know. We stayed with her for a moment read a few of the cards to her, gave her a small gift that someone had sent her, and decided that we should leave so that she could regain her composure before her treatment. My heart broke I couldn’t hold back the tears I hugged her, told her I loved her and we walked out. 

As we walked into the hallway her mother (Christina) followed us. She begins to apologize for the way Maria reacted. We explained that there was no need to apologize, and we begin to ask all the routine questions. You know all the ones you would ask the doctor if your child was in the hospital. Christina confirmed that the doctor had originally told them the tumor was 4 centimeters and was now less than 1 centimeter. Kelly begins to tell her how great this news was, that many people in Moldova and America had been praying for Maria and their family and that God was doing a great work in Maria’s life. That’s when the culture that we have always heard about here in Moldova became a very real voice to us. Christina looked right at Kelly and I and told us that God had done nothing for Maria. MOCP

She had been to the Orthodox Church in Crasnaseni, taken Maria with her, given the priest money, taken communion with him, and he had prayed for Maria. She was very persistent that the Orthodox priest was the one who had shrunk Maria’s tumor. Kelly begins to explain to Christina that she doesn’t have to go to the priest that she can talk to God anytime she wants, and how this is a gift that God gives us freely. She listened to every word Kelly spoke, however, her facial expression never changed and she never showed one bit of emotion. Her mind was settled, she never wavered, never even blinked an eye. We ended the conversation and prayed for her and Maria. Christina thanked us for coming and told us we were welcomed back anytime. 

The 2-minute walk back to the car seemed like a 2 mile walk. My head was spinning as I thought of the words Christina had just spoken. How does it feel to live in such a world where you are so oppressed that you live as a slave to them. You wear blinders so dark that all you see are the many lies; you can’t see the truth. Then my heart begin to crumble, as I thought of Maria, an innocent 12 year old girl who’s mind must be so confused. She lives everyday in her village where this type of oppression is common. She came to a summer camp where she was told, how this God is a good good Father and will never leave her or forsake her. Yet it was during this time she discovered she had a massive tumor on the base of her brain, that has caused her so much pain and completely turned her world upside down. We come to visit her in the hospital or at home and tell her how much we love her, how much this same God loves her, yet she still suffers. Then her and her mother visit the Orthodox priest and the next week her tumor has shrunk. No wonder this child was upset to see us once more, however, we will continue to visit, check in, and pray for Maria. I know God is not finished with Maria’s story, I know He is continuing to write it. 

As we returned home I began to pray. I ask God to show me exactly what He was trying to teach me. His response was very clear. We have been serving Him here in Moldova for the past 5 years, however, there are many things in this culture that we don’t know about or that we dont understand. More specifically the Orthodox Religion, it’s beliefs, and what it teaches the people who follow it. Learning this will give me a greater understanding of how deep the oppression runs, new insights on how to share Jesus with them, and a deeper understanding of what their repentance means to them. Please continue to pray for Maria and her family that the blinders are removed and their hearts are broken so that they can see Jesus is the only true healer. Also, continue to pray for me as I seek to understand more information about the Orthodox Religion.

Your Last Breath

As you take your last breath on this Earth your eternity will have already been decided. That decision was your choice. You only have two choices, Heaven or hell, when deciding your eternity. Every one of us has to make this choice, the government will not help you, your parents and friends cannot help, nor can any amount of money make this decision for you. As believers, we are called to tell others about Jesus and share the Gospel with them. That goes for all of us, not just pastors, Sunday school teachers, missionaries and so on, we are all called to share the Good News.

I do not say all this to convict you but I write to remind you of the seriousness of sharing the Gospel and ask you to begin praying specifically for our summer evangelism outreaches better known as Love Moldova. The outreaches begin in June and run through the end of August with eight weeks of intense evangelism all across Moldova. The outreaches include village/children’s programs, river adventure, trekking, construction, boys & girls camps, and several others.

 

These outreaches are our main way to reach the least-reached in Moldova with the Gospel. We will have over 30 teams going to 60 plus villages and coming into contact with 5000 to 6000 Moldovans. That is a lot of people in a short time that will hear the Gospel. Some of these people will hear the Gospel for the first time and others will have heard it many times, either way people will repent and come to know the Lord. So as I was saying their eternity hangs in the balance and no one knows when their last breath will be. They have to make a choice and we as an OM team must open our hearts and spread the Gospel and His love in order to make a positive difference maybe ending this continuous downward circle of poverty, alcohol and darkness. We are to be a light for the lost just as Acts 13:47 says.

 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Acts 13:47 NIV

I ask you to begin praying specifically for our OM team, the mission teams coming to serve with us, and the people of Moldova. For our team pray for our hearts to be pure and full of God’s love so our minds are directed to say the right words when talking to the lost. Also pray for the logistics of the entire summer, giving everyone rest when needed and for the programs to be prepared in a timely matter.

LMD Team photo

Please pray for the mission teams arriving from all part of the world.  Pray for their safety, their health and an understanding of Moldovan culture. Pray that they will be open to being flexible.  Pray that they arrive with their hearts open to hear from God. And most importantly pray for the people of Moldova. Pray their hearts are softened and they have a curiosity to want to hear the Gospel. A willingness to want to know about God like never before and pray that any blinders the Orthodox beliefs has will be broken.

The Lord is doing a mighty work in Moldova and this summer will be no different but I have to wonder what could be possible if we are all prayed up, our hearts are pure and clean and our eyes are focused on Him. God is good, all the time God is good. Please take a moment and look at this photo collage, look into the faces of these people for they are lost, dying and going to hell, they just want someone to tell them the Good News.

Will you promise to pray with me and our team every day from now until the end of August. If you commit to this I know you will be blessed for there is power in prayer like you have never seen or felt before. Please pray with me for the lost because they may only have one last breath. Also, if you have read this and you are unsure about where you will spend eternity send me a message we can talk more. Thanks for your time and prayers, be blessed.

Scars

We now have been back in Moldova for nearly a month and we have settled back into life in a foreign country. Over the last few weeks I have watched the people; especially the elderly people. So much that they have become heavy on my heart. Seems as if there are more elderly here than there were before. I know that is not the case but maybe I have become so comfortable with life like everyone else and I just did not see them or maybe returning to the states for the first time without a grandmother to greet you, because she had passed away. Or even maybe the Lord has laid the elderly on my heart at this time. I just know I feel a pull in my heart for them and their well-being. 

As the days continue to pass it seems they appear on every corner throughout the city and in the village. Then two Sundays ago we were at church in Panasesti when a brother came to me and said, “Kelly let me tell you about this elderly lady we have been ministering too”. He began to tell me her story, her name is Liuba, she is 82 years old and has lived a hard life. She even still works each day, she has responsibilities to complete for others and even makes sure the animals have food to eat.Luiba1 As I looked at the pictures of her I immediately thought that this lady represented the elderly of Moldova, she was the perfect example. She had aged before her time, her hands and face were weathered by the years of suffering, hard work, and poverty but her body also reflected the scars of her heart. There is a photo where she is going to collect wood for the day, and another where she is gathering food for the goats and sheep, just doing what she had to do to live. I do not think many would do what she does each day or would have over the last eighty years. She is covered, battered and beaten both emotionally and physically with the scars to prove it. She continues on each day in order to live, without much family and the ones she does have are drunks. She does not know she can have peace in her life, or that the scars can be healed; for she has never heard the Good News about the one who died for us with scars I have grown to love. 

 

Then I begin to think more, even if you took the everyday scars away from her she wouldLuiba2 still be filled with scars as she journeyed through life. Being 82 years old, she lived through some events that many us did not nor did we experience. She was born in 1937, the year Amelia Earhart crashed somewhere over the Pacific, the Hindenburg exploded and the Japanese invaded China. As she grew in age so did the scars, she saw the beginning of World War 2 unfold and even come to her home land in battle as the Jews were taken away by Hitler. She lived through the Holocaust and the end of World War 2 where the Soviet Union controlled Moldova for the years to come. She also lived through and saw her old home land gain its independence in 1991. She may have heard or seen about the first man on the moon and about the fall of the Berlin wall but she was still living each day in poverty and life was hard. She may have had food, a job and a house but spiritually the scars were deep and she did not know about God. 

 

God sent His Son to die for us so we could have everlasting life, in doing so Jesus was left with the permanent scars as a reminder of what He did for us. The scars we live with are just the same as the one’s Liuba lives with. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins covers all of our scars with His blood. These scars can be taken away and forgotten no matter what you did or experienced in life, Jesus is your savior and He has the scars to prove it. These scars I have grown to love, they remind me of the pain He suffered for us but without these scars we would never know who Jesus was nor know the love in His heart. 

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53: 5 NIV

Take a moment and listen to this song called Scars by I Am They (play Scars). Just really listen to the words, you will be impacted, The Gospel is the truth and I have never looked at it this way, who would have thought we should be thankful for the scars. Please do pray for Liuba and all the elderly across Moldova that they too will hear the Gospel and be thankful for the scars no matter what scars they live with each day. Pray they hear the truth. 

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