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!

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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.

May Newsletter

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Bible story outside at the children’s home

    Last month, we celebrated Resurrection Sunday with a fellowship breakfast before our morning service. It was a time to join in communion and get to know one another better. It was good to see regulars, casual attendees, and first-time visitors joined together in fellowship. The church here has been slowly growing, and we both thank the Lord for the individuals who are coming, and pray for them, in their spiritual growth. The Sunday night Bible Study in the village of Zastinca has also seen growth these last few months, and we rejoice for the people hearing the Word there.

     We are still going to the children’s home weekly, and sharing with the ever-changing group of children the steadfast love of our Savior. The closure date continues to be pushed back, and I am thankful for the extra months we have been able to have with these children.

With several of my ESL students

     Last week we began a Family Conference during the time of our regular mid-week services. The number of disrupted families in this country is overwhelming. Because many families have one or both parents working abroad, as well as high rates of divorce and unmarried households, the family structure here is very broken. Our desire is to teach a Biblical perspective of strengthening family relationships to help preserve and restore families under Christ. We were encouraged by those who came last week, and are praying for more in the remaining three weeks. Please pray with us to reach our community through this outreach. While our team leader, David, is leading the main discourse in Romanian, and a man in our church is translating the same in Russian, I am working with the children, covering the theme of Daniel.

     As summer comes, we are looking ahead to different ministries in the community. For me, with the summer break from teaching ESL, I will be immersing myself in studying Romanian more. Our team is planning to hold Vacation Bible School in Soroca and at least one of the neighboring villages, and our prayer is for no opposition from the political and religious leaders in these areas. Please pray with us in this endeavor.

March Newsletter

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Seeing the local sights while visiting friends in Germany and Belgium

        It is a mildly chilly spring day as I sit writing and thinking over my first year here in Moldova. The power is out, which lately, is not too unusual at all. But now that it is no longer the harsh cold of winter, it is a much lesser inconvenience than it has been. Rather, it allows me to slow my pace down a little, recheck my priorities, and today – listen to the birds chirping outside as they discover the tiniest of buds in the trees and the freshly uncovered garden.

     Amidst the Romanian language studies that make up the bulk of my Monday schedule, I am reflecting on what the past year has held. A year ago, I was a week out from departure and had just found out that two months’ worth of packing for a shipping container would have to be abandoned. Instead, I repacked, arriving here with an excessive amount of baggage for traveling solo – ten suitcases. Five days of travel from my hometown in Washington state, and I was finally at my new home – a cement and stucco house nestled behind my neighbor’s garden, and between his garage and chicken coop. Those five days of travel had many adventures of moving all ten pieces of luggage from one end of a New York airport to the other in multiple trips, an unscheduled layover of a day and a half in Istanbul (which enabled me to see the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapו Palace), and a final late-night arrival in Moldova. All ten pieces of luggage and three people fit tightly into my coworker’s car, and we drove to the night’s lodgings in the capital city. For safety concerns, the luggage was taken into the building, up the tiny elevator in several loads, and into the apartment overnight. The next day, the process was reversed and everything was loaded up for the trip north to my new home. Three hours later, I opened the door to my 18th home. And here I am, a year later, still reveling in the goodness of God and where He has brought me through Him.   

With several children at the group home

     Lessons continue with my second Romanian teacher, the first having moved out of town last summer. With progress these last few weeks, I am feeling much more confident in my comprehension of the language, and my opportunities to use it in ministry have increased, but I still feel completely inadequate in my knowledge many times. Please pray for me, that I may fully learn the language for clear communication with those around me whom I so desire to serve.

     Sunday School, which we started in the fall, is taught in English, as presently our church attendees are mostly singles or older couples without children. Often, my coworkers’ children are the only attendees, but we have conducted dual-language Sunday School, with either Romanian or Russian translations provided with the wonderful help of the two other women on our team.

View of the town from downriver, February

     When I arrived last March, weekly English classes were being held at the church, with a following Bible study for those who wished to stay. We still teach these classes, and in the furlough absence of part of our team, I am now teaching the advanced English class. The children’s ESL class has had many children come and go, with a faithful core of about six students and one mother. This week I will also begin teaching my Romanian teacher advanced English.

     Bible club in Zastinca has seen its highs and lows. Currently, it is in the lows, and we are praying for the Lord to work in the hearts, lives, and families of the children who have come and heard the Truth of the Word.

Group picture at the children’s home

     We continue to follow the village Bible club with another at the nearby children’s home. Each season has had the director telling us that it will be the last and the children will soon be disbursed, but as of yet, that has not happened, and we continue working with the children there. With several recent additions in the last two weeks, there are about 21 children at the home. Please pray that what time we do have remaining with them can be fruitful.

     These last several months, the Lord has blessed, with people coming to our little church on the corner every service. It has truly been a delight to begin forging relationships with these people. The majority of those who currently attend are Russian speakers, and this language is one that David, our team leader, is still learning. Please pray for him in this, as well as for “T,” a young man who is able to translate for David from Romanian to Russian for our Sunday services. Many who attend walk or come via public transportation from outlying villages, often for upwards of one hour, and the roads have finally cleared up from the last months’ worth of snow, ice, and then mud which has precluded several from coming. We are looking forward to seeing them again and are thankful for their dedication to the Lord.

     With the passing of seasons, we are looking forward to and planning for upcoming ministries this year: a family conference in late spring, and Vacation Bible Schools mid-summer. Please continue to pray with us for the people of Soroca to come to know Christ, and that our outreach may be an example for Him.