spring/summer 2012 Helping place Mission at the heart of the Church and the Church at the heart of the community
Moldova News Security code: N – no restrictions
Dear Friends, God continues to work in exciting and amazing ways here in Moldova. The last months we have had the privilege again and again of seeing and hearing about lives that are being touched and transformed through projects we coordinate in partnership with local churches around the country. The winter relief projects especially gave us wonderful opportunities to come alongside churches, sharing and demonstrating Christ’s love in practical ways and various development and B4T projects are also helping to bring about transformation in lives and communities. We have just completed our 23rd ‘Challenge into Missions’ program and were encouraged again to see the participants heading off back to their churches better equipped and prepared to witness for the Lord in their home community. This summer we are preparing for a large evangelistic campaign with some 200 participants who will work alongside churches in around thirty different communities. We are also especially encouraged to see Moldovan Christians heading off to Central Asia again this summer to share the Gospel.
Life-giving water Life is hard for the inhabitants of Huzun; often it is a real struggle to survive. Although a small shop has opened in the village recently (a big help, especially for the elderly), for most products or services people have to go on foot to the next village which is an hour's walk away. However, until recently one of the biggest problems was of an even more basic nature: a lack of clean water. The village is situated on a hill and had only one well containing drinkable water. The whole village used this well, which frequently caused it to dry up, especially during the hot summers. Nicu, a believer and member of the church in the neighbouring village, who himself grew up in Huzun, saw this need and approached OM, who agreed to help with money to build a well. Only a week later Nicu had organized for a company to come with special equipment for digging wells. The whole village turned up to see what was going on and when they heard that a new well was going to be dug, they remained speechless. Soon many hands were involved unloading the truck – all the men wanted to take part in this project. At the first attempt they hit solid rock after three metres and had to give up, When they hit but soon another spot was picked and digging started clean water some once again. This time at a depth of 11m they hit what of the ladies they were looking for: a reservoir with an estimated started to cry. 3000 litres of clean water! Everybody was cheering and some ladies even started to cry. Many people said that for the first time in their lives they had seen with their own eyes that they were not forgotten. Nicu took this chance to explain that God looks after all people and wants to help everybody. Later on, at a shared meal with all the workers, he had another possibility to speak up and as he thanked everybody who had helped, he also shared about God's blessings and His work in the lives of people. May God open a well of living water in these people's souls!
We value your on-going prayers as we serve the Church, seeking to mobilise and help them in reaching out locally, nationally and to the ends of the earth. Yours in Christ, Matthew Field Leader OM Moldova
We are blessed with the possibility to help communities through various Development projects! Join us in praising God for this opportunity and pray for wisdom to choose projects that will have a lasting impact and will bring glory back to God!
Helping place Mission at the heart of the Church...
The return of the Bus4Life When God sends hailstones… As it was starting to rain a group of around 20 young people entered the bus. We did a programme for them, but it was hard because they got distracted easily and I thought to myself “What's the use of this? They are not listening to us at all!” When we finished the programme we had prepared, the rain outside had turned into hail, which meant that the young people could not go home. We decided to show them a drama, followed by a film and after that continued to have fellowship with them. At this point they finally started to open up. One of our team members shared their testimony and we read from the Bible. When we challenged them to pray and to give their lives to God, 14 of them responded and asked to receive Jesus in their hearts. We continued to pray and sing together and at the end these young people didn't want to leave the bus – the place where they had sought shelter from the rain but had found Jesus. (Ana, MD) “I want to be free!” Although Dima was drunk when he entered the bus, I felt that I needed to share the gospel with him. We had a good conversation about God, but Dima was not yet ready to accept Jesus. “Your heart wants to take this step, but something is holding you back”, a brother observed. Dima started to cry and shared about his brother‘s death and the pain this was still causing him, but also about his drinking problem: “I look for comfort in alcohol and can't stop it.” Two days later we returned to that same village and Dima came again. With tears in his eyes he got onto the bus, telling us he wanted to change but realized he couldn't break free himself. Now he was ready to accept Jesus! (Lena, RU & Marina, MD)
God used my passion! From childhood on I liked football but didn't have the possibility to develop this interest. A few years ago my pastor told me about OM's sports conference and I decided to participate, wanting to learn more about football. I was surprised when we started to talk about how we can share the gospel through football trainings, but I was really happy to find out that I could use sport for evangelism. It was a big step for me to go back to my village, gather some children and start to train them. At the beginning it was really hard because I didn't know much about football myself, but as I studied and practiced I became more and more confident as a coach. Three times a week I met with the boys for training and every session also included a Bible lesson. We started to participate in different tournaments and even won several times! As time passed, the boys grew up and a new generation of children followed. I started all over again with them and by now I have already been able to invest in three generations of boys. This ministry is marking my life and I thank God that He has given me this opportunity to use sport as a tool to teach children about God. (Viorel, football coach in Cahul, southern Moldova)
The ”Next Generation” ministry is reaching young people through sports: a network of church based football-teams, table tennis tournaments, action-packed camps etc. At this time please pray for the sports camps that will be held over the summer months!
The ”Bus4Life”, a multifunctional tool: selling books, conversations over a cup of tea, doing children‘s programmes, reaching the youth ...
Watching fruit grow Iura is 22 years old and used to be a drug user. He now says, “I was ready to commit suicide, but with your help I now know that there is a new life full of love and happiness. I know that only Jesus can give us freedom!” Iura is from Ialpug, a small village where three members of our OM team started working two months ago – and in these last two months eight young people accepted Christ in their lives! The OMers work with the youth and teenagers, visit people in need and share the gospel with them. Many of the young people who used to live without hope now start to understand their purpose in life. Twice a week they study the Bible together and talk about each other's problems. Ana, who is in 6th grade, said, “After we discussed about God as a Father, I understood that I am loved and that God cares about me. I know now that I live for Him.” Saşa is 12 and was raised without a father. She shares, “I am very happy that I have God in my life. He is my father and the church is the most wonderful place I can be in.” The team also took the young people to visit some nice places together, using the opportunity to talk about how God is an amazing creator. “Our hope is that through these activities we can show the love of God to the people of Ialpug and share how He is a great creator and He is our salvation!” The „Action Team” is made up of young Moldovans who serve in one place for a few months, being involved hands-on with all kinds of ministry to young and old alike. However, our Moldovan workers struggle to raise financial support. Would you consider contributing towards meeting this need?
...and the Church at the heart of the community
Challenged to live the Gospel
other participants of this spring's CiM share how the programme has impacted them:
Irina (22) and Vasea (28) have a little boy. Not only is their family a young one, they are also young in faith. Irina got baptised only a few months ago; Vasea was very much against her faith at the time but God worked in his life and he received Jesus shortly after. Together they decided to take part in the “Challenge into Missions”-course, mainly with the aim to get to know God more. “We learned so much and we are very happy that we came here together to study and to learn how to serve God with a heart of love, patience and forgiveness.” both of them testify. Vasea feels a calling to preach God's Word – knowing this has to affect his whole living: “At this course I learned that to be a good missionary you need to preach the gospel as well as to live it, to be able to serve others and to love them.” Irina tells us about her vision to start working with the children of their village: “In the villages children don't have many possibilities to really understand God's Word and we would like to show them the love of God. We would be so happy if with God's help we could open a Day Centre for children in need.”
“I have learnt what it means to have a servant's heart, to love people and to be patient – and that it is these qualities that really make a true leader. More than everything else, I‘ve drawn closer to God and I hope that in future God will give me the possibility to serve Him in different countries of the world.” (Ina, MD)
As they prepare to return home it is obvious that they can't wait to get started...
”Challenge into Missions” (CiM) is a ten-week practical missions training held twice a year for Moldovan and international believers. Why not participate in this course for a life-changing experience?
“I have discovered how much I like working with children and young people. I have grown closer to God especially through our times of outreach in the villages. I have seen so many needs for prayer and action. Many people have even less than we have, but their greatest need is God. For the future I really want to know and follow God's plan for my life!” (Valentin, MD) “I had received a lot of Bible verses before coming and I saw there was a lesson in each that I needed to learn. I arrived with my own convictions, but during my time here I got to see my limits. Leaning on my own understanding I made things worse, my own nature didn't solve my issues - only through bringing it to the cross my burden became light. I learned I have to trust God‘s ways which are higher than ours, because He knows us better than we know ourselves. I also realized there are always questions that remain open, but we cannot keep asking these questions all the time. Sometimes it's better to just go and work with the things that are clear to us.” (Wiebe, NL)
Years that mark & change lives Andriana is twelve years old and has been coming to the Day Centre in Paicu since it was opened in 2008. Together with her little sister Lăcrimioară she used to attend the children's programmes organized by local believers, who also helped to prepare Andriana for school even before the church had the possibility to open an official Day Centre. However, there repeatedly were periods when the girls would not turn up because their family would not allow them to come. Many times Andriana Andriana (second from left) at the children‘s club 5 years ago had difficulties to come to the Day Centre because her father wasn't a and more recently Christian. Sometimes her mother would come to church, but never the dressed up for the first day of school after the holidays father. One time we wanted to give her a gift of school supplies but when we visited, her father was home; he spoke harshly to us and told us to leave. Many times Andriana said “It would be so good if my father became a Christian!” We prayed a lot and a few months ago he started coming to church. He became a Christian and we see so much change in his heart – he has stopped smoking and drinking and it's amazing to see how every Sunday at the end of the church service this man is going around to everyone saying “Peace to you” and “God bless you”. Andriana's family has changed, there is peace now, and these days Andriana is not only allowed to come to the Day Centre, but she attends with her father's explicit blessing. The centre has had a positive impact not only on her family, but also on the girl herself. Andriana is a cheerful girl who gets involved in church, is ready to help and is doing well at school – a characteristic she shares with other children of the centre: Since there is no school in the village, the children go to a neighbouring village and recently there was a parents' assembly in that school. On that occasion the children from Paicu who attend the Day Centre were praised for their learning progress and good behaviour. Our Day Centres all over the country have a lasting impact in the lives of needy children and their families by providing food, care, help with schoolwork and a spiritual education. We have a need for more workers to coordinate our growing relief projects - please pray with us for this need!
Albina (30) is currently overseeing our personnel department, which is responsible for about 50 team members and hundreds of short termers. Tell us about your work with OM! I‘ve been involved with personnel ever since I joined OM in January 2007. For the last year I have been responsible for that whole department. We do recruiting, orientation, member care, evaluation and re-entry for the OM teammembers as well as participants of short term programmes. We also organize team events, send people to international conferences, teach English to Moldovan team members and have a special training programme for those in their first two years with OM. I am specifically responsible for administrative needs: helping foreigners get visas and residency permits and doing the work documents for the Moldovan team members.
What do you like about your job and what is rather a challenge? The answer to both is people! I really enjoy doing member care because I like helping others, but this can also be the hardest thing: Sometimes people do not have a good attitude and it makes me sad when someone does not appreciate or even recognize I have done all I can to understand and help. Often I have to act as a mediator and of course neither party will feel you are really on their side.
o c u s
This is not what many typically think of as mission. How do you see your role as part of mission work? Billy Graham once explained his success by pointing to the room below where people were praying - I see myself in “the room below”. Those who are more directly involved in evangelism need others who invest and believe in them. For many young people OM is the starting point where they discover their vision and direction in life. I think of Slavic who was with OM for two years and now helps to lead a small village church. Or I see Radu who joined our team only months ago but has a real desire to go into world mission – who knows where he will end up?
Bricks to build God‘s Kingdom Since he was a child, Slavic (27) has dreamt of building houses. After some years of doing unofficial construction work he decided to legally open his own business, producing construction material. In 2009 he attended a business course at OM and received a loan. He started off with a brick making machine in a garage, going weekly to surrounding villages to post advertisements. People started to buy bricks and word got round, so that soon Slavic received more orders than he could actually produce and he planned to expand his business. After receiving a second loan he rented more space where he started to produce flooring tiles. Because he had so much to do he was able to give work to five other people and is now taking care that they, too, are legally employed and insured. The dream of building his own house remains, but Slavic is happy he can help build God’s kingdom: “I really feel that God called me to serve him in this way. Through the work I do I can be a blessing for others and a few times I was also able to donate bricks to a church in construction - another way of taking part in God’s work.”
How have you seen someone grow and develop in their time with OM? I think of Rita who was extremely shy when she joined our team. She has become much more confident, has learned to express herself and to take on responsibility. I am also very encouraged by her determination and progress in learning English. Ianoș also comes to mind: He joined years ago as a young man who was not at all sure of himself and had been rejected by a Bible school for being too “simple”. Being treated with trust and being allowed to grow in responsibilities made all the difference to him, and today he is a self-confident, faithful and reliable man. How have you yourself grown? Most of all I’ve learned patience! Though I still have a long way to go, I have learned a lot about working with people; to listen, to have grace and to give a second chance. At the same time I have grown in leadership skills and have become more confident. How can we pray for you? I need a lot of wisdom for my responsibilities and all the decisions I have to take and patience as well. Pray also for the whole personnel department which is going through a time of transition and many things are not clear yet.
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