January Newsletter

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     In the last several months, God has opened the doors for our outreach in Soroca to expand to several neighboring villages.

     The town of Soroca, where I live, is the region’s capital city. On one of the two main streets in town, we have our church plant, and are greatly encouraged to have a small but growing number of regular attendees. As of yet, we do not have any whole family units coming – we have widows, unmarried people, and partial family units with one spouse of a different belief or unsaved. Please continue to pray with us for those in our church, that they would remain faithful, and that families would desire to come. Looking back over the last year, we are thankful for several believers who have begun coming to services and who have been godly examples of faithfulness and Christian service.

Moldova, and the communities within our outreach.

     Several months ago, we began a project of collecting funds within our church to purchase Bibles for a missions program in another country. It has been a joy to see the excitement those in our church have had of contributing their change to this project. Almost every person in our church has the limited income of being a pensioner or unemployed, and yet, our first collection was able to purchase seven Bibles, and we are close to filling the collection container a second time.

     In addition to our Sunday and mid-week services, we are able to use our church building for outreach with adult English lessons and a Bible study on Tuesday evenings, and a children’s English class that I teach on Thursday afternoons. This last week, four new students joined my class. While the class is not evangelical, when I informed the new students why I open every class with prayer, it was good to see them agreeing with me that God is the One who directs our lives, that we need Him, and that He can help us, even in our academic studies.  From relationships built in the class, we are able to invite the children to our VBS programs, Sunday School, and other outreaches.

Taking a test in English class

     In September, we expanded Sunday School from one week a month to every Sunday. I teach the first half of each month, and my missionary partners teach the other weeks. The analytical side of me has been enjoying putting together the curriculum (with the help of my teammate Viola for the Russian portion). The monthly Russian Ladies’ Bible Study that Viola has been leading since autumn has been well – received by the ladies in our church, as well as several of their friends and family members.

     On the other side of the ridgeline that parallels the Nistru River is the village of Zastînca. There, our coworkers, David and his family live, and every Sunday evening at their house is a Bible study. It has been encouraging to see those who come expanding their participation in the study.

Christmas at Concordia

     Following the river north from us is the village of Cosăuţi, a small quarry village of about 3,000 people. We are continuing our weekly program at the center there. The youth and young mothers who live there have nowhere else to go and have come from heart-breaking circumstances. Many are hardened from their past while others are becoming open and receptive. Please pray that they would receive the truth of the Gospel. We held a Christmas party there with the Christmas story, carols, games, pizza (and much more food).  It was so good to have extra time to spend with these children and the staff at the center, in a more relaxed and personal setting, and with fewer time constraints than we usually have.

     This fall, the men of our team took on the leadership of an existing house church in the village of Bulboci, about 40 minutes west of Soroca. Those in the group come from several religious backgrounds, and our prayer is that they may grow in unity and the true Gospel rather than existing religious tenets that are not always aligned with Scripture.

Candlelight service

     New News: Our candlelight service before Christmas was a time of reading passages of the Christmas story and singing Christmas carols in both Romanian and Russian. It was good to see several people who do not normally come to our mid-week service come for this event.

     Last month, we held our first Winter VBS, for three days of the Christmas break. While not as many children came as we had hoped, we were encouraged to see children from our summer Vacation Bible School come.

VBS game

     Over the Christmas break, I spent several days in the capital city due to illness and needing to be close to medical facilities. I am so thankful for good friends that I was able to stay with, decent medical care, and swift recovery. For those of you whom I informed about this during the course of events, thank you so much for your prayers. A nice part of it all is that while the impromptu stay was not in my plans, because it was over Old Christmas weekend       (Jan. 7), I was able to see and attend a few traditional Christmas events that I would not have been able to see in Soroca.

December 31 service

     With New Year’s Eve being on a Sunday, we expanded our usual fifth-Sunday fellowship dinner to include a time of Bible-related games and trivia contests. We invited those from the church in Bulboci to join us and were greatly encouraged to have thirty people almost filling the church to capacity for Sunday School, worship services, dinner, and the fellowship time after.

     Spring brings continued ministry, an extra hour a week of Romanian lessons for me, and the annual process of renewing my residency permit. My last two have been single-year permits, and I am praying for a two-year permit this time.

                Thank you much for your prayers, and may God bless you in this new year.

                               In His Service,

                                       Sarah Bodaly

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November Prayer Letter

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Transportation to the clinic

 

In the last letter, I wrote about the closing of the children’s home where our team had held a weekly Bible club. This last month, we have been able to begin outreach at a new center that is a group foster home and women and children’s shelter. It is a different venue, with the majority of the children being older, and David, our team leader, has begun a study about who God is.  We have been encouraged by the number of children from the village who come each week to the program, with numbers increasing each week. For the past month, I have been working to purchase needed winter clothing for the youth at the center, and have spent many hours searching through the second-hand market. My prayer is that while the coats and hats, gloves, scarves, and boots will keep them warm in the months to come, that the children will see that they are loved not only by us, but by the Savior.

In September, I was able to help with a clinic in the nearby village of Bulboci. Doors are opened and people there are interested in the Gospel. We have been praying for the Lord’s will concerning expanding our ministry there, and this Sunday we will hold our first service in the village. Please be in prayer.

Since the last letter, I have begun lessons with my new Romanian teacher, and I am very encouraged already. She is dedicated to teaching and ensuring that her students learn correct grammar, and I can already see progress since beginning under her tutelage.

 As we enter this season of thanksgiving, I have much to be thankful for with my house. Two weeks ago, after multiple delays, my house was connected to city water instead of the well that had been giving out since July. At the same time, my landlord completed some necessary repairs on the radiator system, and I can already tell the difference in house temperature between this year and last. I feel very spoiled now with both of these in full working order. I am so thankful for all with which God has blessed me. Above these physical comforts, thank you much for your prayers and notes of encouragement. They really do make a missionary’s day.

Ladies’ Bible Study, led in Russian, by my teammate, Viola

Praise of the Day

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This last month, our team has had the privilege of going to a nearby village and sharing God’s Word with children who live at a center there. There has been a great need for winter clothing for the children, and I have been spending several mornings a week at the local second-hand market, trying to economically fulfill their needs.

This week has been such a blessing with seeing how other people have desired to help. Thursday and this morning, two shopkeepers not only drastically reduced their prices for me, to a loss on their part, but also helped search through their entire inventory, for multiple pieces of clothing. They both said that they wanted to be a blessing for the children at this center.

This morning, I “just so happened” to run into a woman from our church. She wanted to be a blessing, and gave monetarily, to help with purchasing the coats and boots and pants and sweaters that I have been accumulating. It was moving to me to see how the Lord laid it on her heart an amount that in this economy means much to a pensioner.

The final blessing with this endeavor, is that after almost six weeks of multiple shopping trips, hours of searching through piles of clothing for just the right price and size, and more loads of laundry than my landlord can understand, I purchased the very last items this morning. My house is adorned like a Chinese laundry, with drying clothes on every rack, radiator, door frame, and shower rod, but I am so looking forward to getting these clothes to the youth. More about this new ministry at the center in the soon upcoming prayer letter!

Praises

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I debated whether or not to post again so soon, but how could I not share how good God is? This week has seen several blessings and answers to prayer:

  • On Thursday, I began lessons with my new Romanian teacher. I am very encouraged already.
  • The pump for the well that supplies water to my house was repaired yesterday afternoon. First hot shower in over a month this morning!
  • Was able to do outreach in a nearby village this last week, and shared the Gospel with several people.
  • And if I want to add a fourth, my young ESL students all got 100s on their first test, so something at least is clicking with them.

September Newsletter

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Sowers in Soroca team

    The Lord has truly blessed us. Our second week of Vacation Bible School saw an increase of children from last year (some of which had come before), as well as help from several people in our church. But most encouraging of all, on the last day, after the Gospel presentation, four girls trusted in Christ for salvation.

     In the middle of August, a friend from the States came for a week-long visit. In six days, we managed to see all the sights that took me quite a few months to visit. Even though our time was not quite restful, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Following that week, our team held our annual planning meeting in Romania. It was a time to get away as a team, pray together, reflect on the past year, and plan for the upcoming year. We are so excited for the ministry opportunities God has placed in our lives, and are looking forward to starting several new outreaches.

Gardening with my friend

     When we began Bible club at the local children’s home last year, it was “just” going to be temporary, as the center had plans to close last October. October turned to February, which turned to spring… and the children were still there. However, just before school started this month, the children’s home closed. Right now, it seems a void in my week, and I miss the children, but am looking forward to other ministry opportunities that have been given to us.

     As more people have been coming to our church these last several months, we made the move to expand our Sunday School program. For the last year, Sunday School has only been on the last Sunday of each month, but starting this month, children’s Sunday School will be every week. I will be teaching half of the month, splitting the time with my missionary partners.

First ESL class of the fall

     The children’s English class that I teach started up again last week, and adult classes, this week. It is encouraging to see both new and returning students. Also in the realm of language, I am currently in the process of finding a new language teacher, and prayer would be much appreciated in this endeavor. Thank you much for your prayers, and may God continue to bless you.

July Newsletter

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Listening to the Bible story in VBS

 

        Summer is halfway over, and we are in the midst of children’s ministry and planning for the upcoming year.

        In May, we finished the school year and the English as a Second Language classes that we have offered. May also held our weekly family conferences, with practical and Biblical advice on strengthening families, geared towards a culture that currently has disintegrating family ties. Our team leader David taught the adult lessons, while I worked with the children. While not as many people came as we had hoped, it was encouraging. Since the conference, we have seen more regular church attendance with several people who had been coming to services, and gained to our circle the addition of “L,” a sweet lady who has been such a blessing to us in just the last few months.

        June was a time of increased language study for me, and Vacation Bible School preparation for the entirety of our team. During this time, I also had the opportunity to guest teach an English class at a local high school. I enjoyed the time, as well as the opportunity to foster new contacts in the community.

        With July came a day of fellowship on the 4th with other missionaries from around the country. The next day, we had a praise in that a woman in our Zastinca Bible study who had earlier been considering abortion, safely delivered her daughter. That Sunday, mother, baby, husband, and older daughter all attended Bible study. Please continue to pray for this family, that they would come to know our Savior.

        Last week, we held our first Vacation Bible School for the summer. The Lord blessed with good weather, a great group of kids, and additional workers from our church. While sheer numbers are not our goal, more children coming means more children hearing the Gospel. This year saw a good increase in the number of children who came, as compared to last year. Most came almost every day, and returned with friends. We are praying for the seed of Truth that has been planted to continue growing in their hearts. It is heart-wrenching to hear a child state with conviction that the only way to heaven and acceptance with God is by their good works, and that Mary is their intercessor to the Father, but we cannot forget that the message of the Gospel juxtaposes what they have been firmly taught the entirety of their lives. Pray that children will choose Christ and the message of grace, and that the Gospel will triumph over generations of false religious dogma. July 31 – August 4, we will be having our second week of VBS at our church in the town center. Please pray with us that children would come, and that they would have open hearts to the Truth of salvation.

Enjoying an orange at the children’s home

Children’s Ministry

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     Another general update on life here in Soroca. This time, a view of the children’s home where we hold a weekly Bible club.

     Every week, we get to spend time with these precious children. We sing songs, tell a Bible story, memorize verses, play games, eat snacks, and have one-on-one time with the kids. While their life and world may be in complete turmoil, we can show them the incomparable  love of the Savior. It is a joy to visit these children and share Christ with them.

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Vacation Bible School, Week One

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Vacation Bible School

     We are praising the Lord for all the children who have come out to this summer’s first first week of Vacation Bible School. Monday, 17 children came and were able to hear the story of Adam, Eve, sin, and the necessity of a Savior. Tuesday, almost everyone returned, and several brought friends; 25 children heard the first part of the story of Noah. Please pray with us that more children will come, and that they will be receptive to the wonderful Truth of redemption and their need for a Savior.