Mark 16:15 “Go into ALL the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”
Dear family, friends, and mission partners,
This was my fifth year to go to Moldova as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Rehoboth team. There were eight team members that went north to the village of Beltz and four team members stayed in central Moldova in the village of Anenii Noi, to serve at the Philadelphia church. I was on the central team.
We had difficulties as we arrived at the airport in Chisinau, Moldova. The authorities withheld the suitcase that had our glasses for the Northern Team. We also were missing 10 other suitcases. One of which had the glasses for the Central Team and many other cases that had our gospel tracts, gospel bracelets, VBS supplies, toys and candy and much clothing items for both teams! However, there was nothing we could do except head to our quarters and leave the rest up to God. We trusted He would get them to us in His timing.
Our team sat in the old sanctuary that afternoon, (it was about 10pm Georgia time and we had been without sleep nearly 24 hours) brainstorming ideas for the next day VBS. Everything I had planned, bible story, crafts, games, even small gifts for the children, were still in the suitcases somewhere in Frankfurt Germany! I was lost for ideas without my Oriental Trading Company STUFF!! It was so wonderful to watch God move that night as we depended on Him to move us forward with His ministry of VBS. First we came up with a craft idea using the very limited supplies on hand. Jon Peacock had an idea of an anchor on a half sheet of construction paper, then glue various sizes of pasta on it, and the children could then color the pasta if they wanted. We raided the kitchen for pasta and found various shapes and sizes. Were we thrilled! It was such a blessing to watch three grown men cut, trace and paste to bring the craft together for God’s glory. Brother Tim Millwood was going to do the Bible story of how Jesus is our anchor in life’s storms. I lead the craft and the guys helped the Philadelphia church team with the games. The kitchen staff made small sandwiches and had water for the children afterwards. The first day of VBS was a success, thanks to God’s provision, and our team’s willingness to serve Him.
After lunch, we had several home visits. We presented the Gospel to all we visited. Most received the Lord Jesus with gladness of heart! A recorded 16 professions of faith on day one. We also gave a large bag of groceries to the families we visited.
The airport called and said the 10 suitcases were at the airport. Nine of them went through customs without incident, however the suitcase with the valuable eyeglasses, which would go to Central Team, the authorities would not release! This frustrated us Americans and we wanted to scream of the injustice of it all. Pastor Igor took it all in stride and in his mild and humble manner, went along with their control over the situation. It would be late afternoon the next day and more of American dollars spent before either team received the eyeglasses.
It was late evening on the second day when our supplies arrived. I was so overjoyed to unpack all the items from home that had been lovingly donated for the people of Moldova. And YES, the Oriental Trading Company supplies came through!
The third day of VBS was amazing. Our Bible lesson was on heaven and God and what it took to get there. The OTC craft was a brilliantly detailed kit of golden sparkling glitter design of heaven’s gate. With Jesus welcoming home His children. It was amazing to watch the children as they put together this craft. Many had never seen such glitter!! Most of the children would not throw away the scraps of gold, they took it home with them! When the invitation was given that day, over 30 children made professions of faith! God held that story and craft for the last day of VBS. He was most glorified through it.
John 1:12 “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God”
That afternoon we again went out to visit homes in the nearby villages. One young mother of two and baby number three
due in July, later told Mariana that she was out of food for her family and did not have money to buy any. She told her how happy she was to see the groceries. This mother, Dorina, came to our VBS the next day her young child had on a new outfit from that we had brought from the US! It made the delay at the airport dimmed in importance when we saw the brightness in this mother’s eyes! The harvest from this day’s visits were 10.
On Thursday we traveled to a faraway village of Delacau. Our team shared the Gospel and gave out the reading glasses (Yes we finally got them via a taxi) There was a team of doctors that gave up their time to provide a free medical clinic. The villages knew we were there by word of mouth. We were busy non-stop all day! Recorded professions that day was 24.
On Friday we had medical clinic at Anenii Noi .We had two glasses stations and Gospel presentation centers set up. One with a Russian interpreter and one with a Romanian interpreter. A recorded 20 professions of faith. Our team was still administering glasses as the youth started arriving for Friday night youth group. Brother Jon Peacock led the large group of teens with the help of our wonderful Russian, Romanian and English interpreter Sergio.
Saturday, our team was able to go visit a brand new orphanage in the village of Hiltop. It took about two hours to get there. It was such a blessing to meet the pastor and his wife who are running the facility. It was more like a home. The pastor grew up an orphan, so it was obvious God selected this man for such a time as this - when the need is very great to give children a home who have none. There were six children in this new home.
Sunday is always a special time of worship, fellowship and meeting familiar faces. Some of which we met earlier in the week at home visits. After the service, Mariana came to me ask if I would pray for the young mother that we had visited earlier in the week. I followed her to where Dorina was waiting with her two young children. She was crying uncontrollably and very distraught. Through Mariana, she explained to me that her husband threatened her and pulled a knife on her that morning. He warned her not to come to the church. She told him she knew it was where she was supposed to be. That she and her children felt loved and cared for. And that she was not going to stop coming. She said he beats her when he is drunk. As she was telling me this I was asking God to help me give her Biblical answers and Biblical hope. Dorina had no one to turn to. Her mother died at age 34. But, she knows Jesus is her provider, protector, and her salvation. As I close this letter, please pray for Dorina; her oldest daughter, Loredana; the youngest daughter, Lonela; the baby boy she is expecting; and her husband, Slavik. Mariana told me a truth that I still ponder over. She said, “This is ok (Dorina’s situation), God has used it to show her the need of a Savior.” Pray that this hard truth will lead to her husband’s salvation through the witness of his wife! This is but one of the many stories we encountered. The harvest is indeed full and ripe. Pray for those who seek.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You Will Seek Me and Will Find Me When You Seek Me With ALL Your Heart”
Blessings and many thanks to you and for you as you helped me GO…..Mark 16:15