autumn 2012 Helping place Mission at the heart of the Church and the Church at the heart of the community
Andrei (27) has been with OM Moldova since September 2008 and is responsible for the Next Generation department. Can you shortly describe the ministry of the Next Generation department? Our aim is to reach the young generation of Moldova for Christ, at the moment mainly using sport: We now have a Christian football league, made up of 24 teams in connection with about 20 churches. Every team is trained by a local believer who meets them regularly and has the opportunity to build trust and speak into the lives of these boys. We as OM oversee their work, provide further training for the trainers, visit the teams regularly and organize sports camps and championships where these teams compete against each other. During the winter we organize indoor football and table tennis events to help maintain the relationships with the children even when it is not possible to play football.
One year ago Andrei married Mariana, who now works in our relief-department.
How did you become involved in this ministry? Since I was small I have always liked football very much. As a student I was invited to a conference at OM and saw this ministry, which was then just at its start. I returned to my home village and began a football team with some local children. With time I got the desire to get more involved in mission, I participated in OM's “Challenge into Missions” programme with the aim to then join the team and help develop the ministry through sports.
What do you enjoy most about your work? I like interacting with the children: joking and discussing with them, seeing them run after the ball, their joy when they score a goal, their enthusiasm at winning a cup or a medal. Most of them are from villages and don't have many possibilities to achieve anything. Most of all I am happy when I can help them understand that faith is not a set of rules and traditions, but that it means freedom and joy.
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What are the challenges you face? The biggest challenge is to mobilise churches for a ministry involving sports. Many churches in Moldova are very conservative; they might not agree with this idea or simply not yet see that sport can be a great means of sharing the gospel. Sometimes it is also a lack of people, when churches have caught the vision but do not have anybody to do it. Generally it is hard for those who are involved because they cannot dedicate their whole time to this but try to fit it in next to having an ordinary job. Some have even had to move abroad to find work and have left their teams behind.
What is your vision for the future? To have a team that will dream big; developing this ministry so that sport is just ONE way of reaching young people. We want to win children for Christ! Personally I am learning new things every year, often through my own mistakes. I want to continue to grow in vision, in wisdom and in my abilities. I am thankful that I have had leaders who were an encouragement to me and I am thankful to OM for investing so much in me. This I want to pass on: to not only grow myself, but I want to help others grow, to invest in them just like OM has invested in me.
Abandoned, yet cared for! Roman was leading a normal life, he was married and had a job - until one fateful day in 2008 he went for a swim in a lake, jumped in the water and injured his neck. As a result it became hard for him to move, even after an operation, and his wife left him. During this period when he felt abandoned by all, a neighbour gave him a Bible which he started to read. He began going to church, eventually understood that only God could fill the emptiness in his heart and received Him into his life. Once when he went to town he met Dima who invited him to come to the weekly meetings for people with a disability. Here Roman received spiritual food as well as love from people around him. He now benefits from the project which Dima runs in cooperation with OM, helping people with a disability who struggle to pay for electricity bills and other necessities. This August Roman could also participate in a camp for people with disabilities. He said he was especially encouraged by the testimonies of others. And although he still cannot move easily and falls down about two or three times a day, he found great pleasure in helping others who were not able to move by themselves at all. Supporting people with a handicap is one of a variety of relief projects we run. We‘re still looking for people to help coordinate these. OM Moldova is looking for workers! Currently the most urgent needs are:
1) a married couple for member care 2) someone to help develop our Next Generation / sports ministry 3) a business consultant to work with our B4T-project for more details please contact OM!
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Dear Friends, “The Harvest is plentiful but the Workers are few.” This last summer was one of the busiest, hottest and most tiring, yet most rewarding that we have experienced in Moldova. Dozens of teams were sent out to serve communities in partnership with local churches. We were especially encouraged to see how the Lord opened doors for the Gospel to be preached in the least reached villages of northeastern Moldova. We are excited to have begun a new Local Ministry Team in that region now and value your prayers as we have a vision to see churches planted in many of these unreached villages over the next years. As you read the testimonies and stories in this edition, whilst thanking God for His goodness and transforming power, I ask that you also join us in praying for those who serve in key support roles. We need people to serve ‘behind the scenes’ in administration, maintenance, finance, PR and member care as well as trainers, church planters, youth workers and English teachers. “The harvest is plentiful” … and we need more workers! Why not consider joining us and using your God-given skills to help build His kingdom in Moldova?
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Breaking the cycle of neglect “Their children will again be orphans!”–This must be the saddest statement I have heard about the children from Moldovan orphanages. They have never experienced love, they do not know how to show love... but it is possible to break that cycle! Looking at some photographs you get the impression of a large and happy family: Eight children looking into the camera with broad smiles, singing at church or playing happily in the garden. Nothing suggests that these are some of the most neglected, most heart-broken children of the country: Corinne, leader of our Local Ministry Team in Rezina, is running a home where children from the local orphanage stay every weekend and throughout the holidays. They receive love and attention and learn what it means to live as a family, caring and taking responsibility for one another. Most of all they learn to love and trust God, who cares for the orphans and the rejected. This summer eight of these children had eleven weeks of true holidays before returning to the orphanage. “We had a prayertime before the children left. It was so special to hear them thanking God for everything He did for them.” Corinne shares. She will readily admit that it is tiring and often challenging work - but absolutely worth it, seeing the change in these children! Corinne remembers seven-year-old Ion's first stay Nothing suggests in April this year: “His head was bent down and two these are some of frightened, timid eyes looked at me. The first few days the most hearthe was very cautious and hardly ever looked at me. broken children of He had the typical children's home behaviour: the country. destroying whatever he could lay his hands on, not reacting when spoken to and not accepting any attention, care or love. These first days were difficult, but it also made me hopeful because I recognised lots of things the other children had done when they first came and I realized how much they had changed! With time I detected small changes in this frightened little boy; his eyes started glowing and occasionally there even was a smile on his face. One evening Ion suddenly rose from his bed to give me a good-night kiss!” Over the following months Ion adapted well, although every time before returning to the orphanage he still had nightmares and panic attacks. “Those are difficult moments”, Corinne concludes, "but I'm very thankful for all the positive changes in the children and that I can see them grow.” Our Local Ministry Teams are living and serving within local communities in different parts of the country, being able to directly meet the needs where they are greatest. Please pray for strength for these workers as they share God‘s love with the people they meet daily.
...and the Church at the heart of the community
Helping place Mission at the heart of the Church...
Love Moldova 2012 Camps for children and Teenagers One day during the children's programme one of the team members noticed her camera had gone missing. The only plausible explanation was that it had been stolen and there immediately was a suspect: a young girl who was known in the village for her tendency to steal. When questioned, she denied having taken the camera and although the team was almost certain she was lying, it seemed like nothing else could be done. However, on the last day of the camp two boys came over to the team to give them something – it was the missing camera! One of the boys was the brother of the suspected girl. This confirmed that the young girl had stolen it, yet why would they return it? The brother, too, was known to have stolen before and this camera was a very valuable item. Could it be possible that God's Word had had this effect on these children? Sasha was a quiet girl who did not really know how to play. When the children sat down on the parachute, she started picking up all the rubbish, sweeping the twigs off and tidying up the shoes. Seeing how much Sasha and her brothers enjoyed the camp made it clear that they lack a lot of love and attention as well as food and clothing. But at least for one week they didn't have to worry about what they would eat and were able to behave as children. We played football against some Teenagers. At half time someone from our team gave his testimony and after the game we invited them to church for tea and coffee. As we sat around the table I heard God prompt me to give one of them a Barcelona football T-shirt I had. In my heart I replied, “But I do not even know what team he supports”. However, I offered him the T-shirt and he was thrilled! ”Barcelona!” he exclaimed. I explained how God had spoken to me and that the shirt should remind him that we will not stop praying for him.
Visiting those in need One family we visited had absolutely nothing edible left in the house, not one bit of bread, and as it turned out they didn't even have dishes, except for a tiny pot. The bag of food we brought was a real blessing from the Lord! One of the elderly we visited was a Christian lady, lying at home with cancer. She was visibly suffering and told us about her pain, but after we prayed for her, she responded with her own prayer full of such thankfulness and grace that it brought tears to our eyes. When she thanked us with shining eyes, we could see that she was really encouraged through our visit, prayers and songs - but all of us remained deeply touched and challenged by her faith and attitude.
“Remain in Me and I in you. Just as a shoe is unable to score goals by itself, unless it remains on the foot, so neither can you, unless you remain in Me. You can do nothing without Me.” The Next Generation department continues to reach out to young people through sports, sharing the gospel in a language these young people understand. Whether using the illustration of that shoe, looking at training practises of professional football players or discussing about what road signs can teach us about God's advice for our lives: this summer hundreds of boys heard about the change only God can bring and the chance of a new beginning. A special surprise this summer was that among those visiting to help with the programmes was a former Manchester United player – not an everyday encounter for a football-enthusiastic Moldovan village boy! And it made the boys even more ready to listen as he shared how getting to know Jesus had made him much happier than scoring any goal in a match.
football > friendship > faith
This summer we again organized a number of Football Camps. These are the most important evangelistic events in the football season. It is a great opportunity for the trainers to deepen their friendships with every single child. It is also a time when the boys are together for Bible studies and are challenged to think about their personal lives. This summer one football camp was held in the village of Troita, where we worked together with Stepan, pastor of the local church which meets in his house. Already when I got to know Stepan I appreciated his openness and passion to serve, but this camp gave me the chance to know him even better and I was encouraged to hear about the way he is working with the children of that place. Already when he began planting a church, he loved to go out to the village's sports field in the evenings to play football with the boys there. After a while some of the boys suggested that he should train them. After he had taken this responsibility, the boys also began to show an interest in what kind of church was meeting at his home and in the end started coming to church themselves. Two of them, Pavel and Sergiu, stood up front with Stepan as he was sharing God's Word on the last evening of the camp. These boys had started to know about God through their friendship with Stepan and the bridge connecting them had been football. Our prayer is for more evangelical churches of Moldova to catch the vision and realize that sport is a great means of sharing the gospel with the next generation. (Andrei, MD)
If you would like to know more about the ministry of our Next Generation department, read the interview with Andrei (last page) and check out our website: www.md.om.org You can also watch a short video with more impressions of their activity this summer: http://youtu.be/HY13EqXd2o8
Here I am, send me! Encouraging local believers Ana, a 21-year-old girl from the local church, helped us a lot. Once I told her what I saw in her: “You are such a lovely woman. I can see God's love in you and it's a joy to be with you!” Ana was surprised and the next day she thanked me again, explaining: “I still think about the words you said to me; many people have told me what is not good in my life, but nobody ever told me anything like what you said yesterday!” How easy it is to do much with so little! I met a 19-year-old girl called Viorica and even though her faith seemed to be rock solid, she kept repeating how happy she was that our team had come: Meeting others who are following the same God comforted her, knowing that she wasn't alone and confirming to her that her faith was real!
Participants challenged for change “It was crucial that despite the busy schedule we set time aside each day to seek God together and simply prayed about all kinds of things that arose. I was challenged to make a conscious effort to set aside time for God at home, too!” “I saw how important these camps are: it might be the only time in a whole year that these children hear about God. It also made me think how many children at home never hear about God. Do I care? I was challenged to do more at home - I don't have the language barrier there and now I also have lots of new ideas!”
Love Moldova 2013: Love Moldova A: Love Moldova B: 26 June - 09 July 10-23 June Village Outreach Construction Team Adventure Trekking Sports Outreach River Adventure
Village Outreach Construction Team Adventure Cycling Sports Outreach River Adventure
Love Moldova C: 15-28 July
Love Moldova D: 05-18 August
Village Outreach Construction Team Adventure Trekking River Adventure
Village Outreach Construction Team Adventure Cycling River Adventure
Be part of our Love Moldova outreaches next summer! You can come alone or as a group, or maybe motivate your church‘s youth group...