The love of Christ in Moldova
The Moldovan word ‘to reveal’ has the sense of ‘uncover’. In recent days and months we have had a sense of the Lord ‘uncovering’ wonderful plans that he has had from all eternity for the people with whom we are working.
It would be our testimony that we have seen him working mightily. He uses earthen vessels, ‘that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us’. We worship him for the wonders he has done and look to him for still greater things.
Hincesti is where our work began about eleven years ago. It is a large, isolated, closed institution for women and girls with disabilities. When we first started visiting, the conditions there were very poor indeed.
We went with practical help and friendshipâ€†’â€†and the gospel. Each year we organised a camp there for a week. The Lord began to save a number of women and we began to dream of moving some of them into the community to live more normal lives and have the opportunity to be integrated into a local church.
This began to happen in November 2006 when Casa Bucuriei (‘the House of Joy’) opened in Truseni and six women moved there.
The six have made rapid progress emotionally, socially and spiritually since moving there. They have been a source of great joy and encouragement to us and we praise the Lord for each of them.
In August 2007 they were all baptised at the local church in Truseni, where they have been warmly accepted. They all have health problems of one kind or another due to years of neglect.
They are now producing a number of hand-made goods for sale. They also have the care of the house and the animals and poultry and gained a good deal of independence. We are so thankful for the staff and the Lord’s protection and great blessing on this work.
For the last few years we have been visiting a large institution of 500 men and women with disabilities in the north of Moldova.
Again it is an isolated, closed institution and living conditions are far from good. Men and women live in abject neglect; and in winter it is particularly grim. We take clothing and food to distribute when we have it, and the gospel. There are a number of Christians living there.
We have organised two summer camps there assisted by a number of friends from Cardiff and we have known the Lord’s blessing in this work. Pray for the Lord to save many and for a continued open door for the gospel.
Casa Matei (‘the House of Matthew’) opened in November 2008 in a village called Sofia in the north of Moldova. We chose this name because Matthew means ‘the gift of God’.
Five men from Badiceni, with a range of disabilities, have moved in. The story of the funds needed; the renovation of the house; the provision of the furniture and fittings; the top-level government permissions that were needed to move the men out and the provision of good staff was all a miracle of the Lord’s own doing.
The house has a large plot of ground at the back leading down to a beautiful lake. The men all had their first holiday ever in spring 2009, when they went to a Christian camp for people with disabilities. They all so enjoyed this time. One of the men, Slava, who has Down’s syndrome, told us when he returned that he had been to heaven ‘to Jesus’ house’.
Mai bine acasa
Mai bine acasa (‘It’s better at home’) is a project through which we work with Christian adults having disabilities in their own homes. We offer practical and spiritual support so that they will not need to consider entering institutions.
We are helping a small number of people in this way in different parts of the country and have been blessed by our fellowship with them. They are living in generally desperate circumstances.
All these projects are continued under the auspices of Casa Mea, the name of the registered NGO we have established in Moldova. As well as my involvement with Casa Mea, I teach at the Bible college in Chisinau and enjoy immensely my contact with students from countries all over Central Asia and Moldova.
Moldova is today in a better position economically than in the 1990s, but it remains the poorest country in Europe. Many are still leaving to work abroad; unofficial estimates say that almost half the population are abroad. The political situation is unstableâ€†’â€†the communist president stepped down in the summer of 2009. Russia has an occupying army in part of the country, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union.
We are spiritually blessed here and it is a time when the Lord is still bringing a number to himself. Christians use every opportunity to take the gospel to others after years of harsh persecution.
We are looking to the Lord to continue to do the seemingly impossible and are convinced that no human hand can achieve what needs to be done, but our confidence is only in him. ‘With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26).