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.