Donald J. Morrison continues his report on gospel ministry to Romanians and Russians in Moldova’s rural countryside..
As we went around the village of Baurci Moldoveni with gospel materials, it was evident that the folk there had their own problems. Some of these, sadly, they have brought upon themselves. I found that alcohol addiction is as much widespread among the poor in rural Moldova, as it is among the affluent in urban Scotland.
Many of them find out, to their cost, the truth of the Scripture, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise’. A few of us went through the village of almost 3,000 people, giving out literature and testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
To those who were drinking out of the ‘broken and empty cisterns’, we assured them that their thirst would be forever quenched if they came to drink deeply out of the ‘wells of salvation’. Drink having ruined them and some of their marriages, they knew that only Jesus Christ could change them and bring true and lasting joy into their hearts.
We made the most of all the opportunities presented, as we spoke to all those who were either feeding their two-footed and four-footed animals, selling fruit and vegetables by the roadside, transporting goods by horse and cart, or just sitting having a friendly and neighbourly chat.
The gospel was presented to them all. Curiosity brought many to speak to us, as going around with gospel literature is not a common thing. Thinking we were politicians, the question was sometimes asked, ‘Care face parte, luați partea?’ which translated from Romanian is, ‘Which [political] party do you side with?’
This prompted the most appropriate of answers, ‘We are on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel’. All quickly realised what we were about, with some folk happy to ask questions or enter into conversation about spiritual things.
People, in general, were warm, friendly and receptive, as we went from door-to-door with literature and invited them to come and hear gospel services in the ‘house of prayer’ (see picture), built a few years ago.
Recognising that the ‘foreign accent’ was not a Moldovan one, many were puzzled as to why someone from Scotland was so overly concerned about souls living in such a rural and remote corner of a far-away country. Their enquiries brought about an interesting exchange of spiritual dialogue, and enabled us to speak personally and pointedly about many ‘salvation and gospel truths’ in God’s Word, which we did with joyous enthusiasm.
You can appreciate our sense of joy to see some of these ‘new faces’ that we witnessed attend the afternoon gospel service on the Lord’s day, where we preached and proclaimed God’s Word.
We earnestly pray that blessing will follow and that, through the conversations and literature given out, many will yet come to personally know the Lord for themselves, ‘whom to know is life eternal’.
The Bible instructs over and over again to remember the poor and to not turn away those in need: ‘For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore, I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land’ (Deuteronomy 15:11).
Under God’s direction we endeavoured, in a small way, to provide financially for some of the disadvantaged and vulnerable families, according to their specific and particular needs. In the process, one came to appreciate more, and with deep joy in our heart, the meaning of our Lord’s words when he says, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).
While many people in Moldova suffer through no fault of their own, because of great poverty, the Bible reminds us that it is no sin to be poor. As J. C. Ryle reminds us, ‘the Saviour of sinners knows what it is to be poor’. Support was given to meet the costs of medicines and medical expenses, fuel and heating costs, food, clothing and footwear.
Support was also given for the spread of the gospel. A large consignment of 6,500 Trinitarian Bible Society calendars in Romanian and Russian was distributed in three of the villages that I visited.
Funding was also made available to acquire good quality evangelistic literature, booklets and tracts, along with a quantity of Bibles in both languages. We pray that all these soul-saving materials will be richly blessed to all who have received, and will yet receive, them, and that many souls will yet be caught in the great gospel net.
The large Giok family are all, by the grace of God, faring well in the midst of their own particular providences. Ekaterina, a godly, widowed mother of eight children, has her priorities in the right place, giving God first place in all things.
‘He is the Head of our home’, she told me, ‘and we bring everything to him in prayer. The Lord has been a wonderful Husband to me, since Vasilli [her husband] passed away, and a faithful Father to my children. Not only has he provided for us as a family, he has also met our every need over the past six years’. This was a most touching testimony that stirred my own heart.
The children — five boys (David, Pavel, Stefan, Vitalic, Victor) and three girls (Diana, Victoria, Aliona) — attend different classes in the local school, where they are all making steady progress with their studies.
Along with the salvation of their souls, their mum’s prayer is that they will all be mightily used in the service of the Lord, either in Moldova or elsewhere. Her hope is that the five boys will all become ministers or missionaries one day! We pray that her spiritual cravings for them will be answered.
Their appreciation, love and respect for mum was quite evident, as I enjoyed warm fellowship with them in their home. They faithfully follow a daily schedule of particular household chores and tasks, which she assigns to each of them. Regardless of the job that was allocated to them each week, the children, without exception, were always happy to take on the responsibility.
With winter fast approaching, I was quite sure there were some essentials that they as a family needed, so I offered to help. Clothes, jackets and shoes were their greatest need. The following day, I took the four eldest boys with me on a shopping trip and fitted them all out, according to their requirements. They were delighted with their purchases.
Be assured, the rest were not forgotten either! I left a gift of money with their mother, to kit out the remaining siblings and help with household necessities. With sincere appreciation, they said: ‘We would like to thank you, from our hearts, for all the kind and generous support that your friends give you to help us. We also thank God for remembering us like this’.
Donald J. Morrison is Home Mission Worker for the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)