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.

January Newsletter

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                                                                                                                              a-azimut-collage                                                                                                                                               January 1, 2017

 Dear Friends,

         Wishing you all a blessed New Year from Moldova! Here, with the Orthodox traditions, Christmas is just around the corner, on January 7th. However, Christmas ministries for us started earlier than that, in the week before the 25th of December.

            Our midweek service just before Christmas was a candlelight service, with a melding of Christmas carols and Scripture reading to tell the full Christmas story. We were pleased to have several newcomers who had been invited come and participate in the service.

  A candlelight service.jpg

           Both the adult and children’s English classes, the final lessons before Christmas break, were Christmas – themed. Following the adult ESL class, David and Jacob presented the truth of Christmas as the birth of a Savior, who came for all. The Gospel and man’s need for It was clearly presented to those in attendance, and we pray for His Word to work in hearts.

         A esl class.jpg

           While we have not seen as many people coming to church these last several months as we had in the spring and summer, it was encouraging to have several families come to the Christmas morning service. I teach Sunday School the last Sunday of every month, and we had seven children in class. We had a time of refreshments after the service, and spent the time fellowshipping with one another.

             The day after Christmas, the children’s home we frequent had its Christmas program of songs, poems, and a short play, and we were invited to attend. It was enjoyable to hear the children sing about Christ’s birth among their various holiday songs. The next day, we gave a Christmas party for them following our regular Bible Club. We had begun the Christmas story the previous week, and will continue it for two more weeks. Please pray that the children understand the simple yet glorious message of Truth. Pizza and sodas for the children, and a small goodie bag with fruit, chocolate, and crayons absolutely made their night, as well as did the extra one-on-one time we were able to spend with them. (We thoroughly enjoyed it, as well.)

           This week, I will be traveling out of country for a belated Christmas visit to some close friends who also live in Europe. Prayers would be much appreciated for travel safety during this time. Mid-January, shortly after my return, ESL classes, Viola’s and my Romanian lessons, and our village Bible club will be resuming. We are looking forward to fresh beginnings with the new year.

             May God bless you in your continued service for Him. Thank you much for your prayers and support.

                                     In His Service,

                                                   Sarah Bodaly

A lada love.jpg

 

Winter around Town

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A glimpse around town from this last week –

Christmas lights in the town center, puppy who followed me down the road, Christmas tree on an old Lada, frozen fog on an excursion outside of town, and the cetatae (fortress) with a dusting of snow.

Happy New Year!

 

November Newsletter

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Children's ESL class

Children’s ESL class

Dear Friends,

Our new ministry, of Bible clubs to the local children, is in its tenth week. Our club in the village of Zastinca has seen lower attendance this last month, but whether it is from colder temperatures of the advancing winter season, or pressure to not attend from families and the local priest, we are not sure. Please pray for the children, and their families, in this community, that we may be able to reach them.

 These last several weeks of being at the children’s home, it has been very encouraging to see a change in many of the children. We are continuing to plant the seed, give personal applications from the Bible stories, show them our love, and pray for them. As with any large group of children, there are still those who can be disruptive and discourteous, but on the whole, most have been paying more attention to the stories, with genuine interest and spiritual curiosity even, and opening up their hearts and personalities to us.

English classes this year have brought us quite a few more students than we had last year. Following the adult classes on Tuesdays, David leads an optional Bible study. Every week, we have one faithful lady who stays and participates with us in this. We are encouraged by her interest and faithfulness, but are praying that others would likewise have a desire to more fully know God.

 The children’s ESL course that I teach has been going well, and it has been a pleasure to work with the children. Attendance fluctuates each week, but most times there are seven or eight children in the class, as well as the occasional mother. Please pray for spiritual inroads to families through this outreach.

Moldova’s first Presidential election was last week, but as no one candidate received the required percentage in order to secure the position, there will be another vote this coming Sunday, the 13th. We are praying for Moldova to continue to uphold and protect religious freedom, and for alliances with countries who would do the same.

Romanian lessons with our new teacher are continuing. Lessons have improved to some extent, but not quite to the degree that Viola and I have been hoping. On the very positive side, our teacher has continued to ask spiritual and theological questions in most every class, greatly stretching my Romanian vocabulary to its limits. Lately, she has been asking us to tell her a Bible story each lesson, and asking for the application from each story. We have been blessed with this opportunity, and pray that God would use it to bring her to Him.

Thank you much for your prayers and support, and may God bless you in your service of Him.

In Christ,

Sarah Bodaly

Spent a day in Chisinau, the capital city, for its annual City Day

Spent a day in Chisinau, the capital city, for its annual City Day

Fall view over the river

Fall view of the Niestre