A Moldovan pioneer leads people from their sadness

Pastor Victor faced communism with courage. Nearly 20 years ago he defied the authorities in his Soviet-eera Moldovan village and held an open air presentation of the gospel. Thousands of people came. Life in his village changed forever. Here he shares the short version:

About a year later, his church became the first officially sanctioned in the Soviet Union…it’s approval came from the top. It’s now a large mother church that has planted churches across Moldova.

While the country is in great need (Eric Weiner called it the “least happy country” on earth in a Newsweek article), people like Pastor Victor are seeing to it that people learn of truth. He’s not sad. The elderly people who’ve moved from their cold in the winter/no running water homes to the retirement center his church has built are not sad. The men at the Teen Challenge weren’t sad. Still, many others are.

I’m excited to work with our team and Pastor Victor there this fall…and to see some sad people find joy.

Hoping to get water to the Yezide Kurds

Yezide Kurds are scattered around the northern mountains of Armenia and other places. In this village, where missionary Nick Puccini has made some great connections, they struggle to find clean water.
We’re strategizing the best response of not only getting them water but helping them filter it, which would help keep them well, etc. This is their only consistent water source, and it’s over 1 km from the village.

 

The area was absolutely beautiful, looking more like Ireland than what I pictured Armenia looking like…at least before it starts snowing here again. It’s hard to imagine we’re only 450 miles from Baghdad.
Here, you see Nick explaining a bit of the situation. I’ll let you know what role our interns will be able to play in helping these great people.

An island of Christianity in a sea of chaos

That’s similar to a phrase used in a missions video I saw on Armenia back in ’03. I first learned of this tiny country on that day and have been excited about possibilities since.

I’m here now.

This country is full of history (saw a 1600 year old monastery today),

Beauty (I see Mt. Arrarat each morning…it’s where they believe Noah’s ark is),

Strategy (I was in some rooms where pastors go over some courageous strategy…and I won’t say more about that on the web),

and Need (I saw a group of people hoping with all in them to receive a home so they can move out of the container…much like a shipping container…that their families have lived in since a massive earthquake 20 years ago that killed 25,000 people).

 

I also see opportunity. Here’s a short word from our missionary host, Nick Puccini.

Some wonderful people who live near a dirt farmer.

So over the weekend I met some absolutely wonderful people in Bonifay, FL. They love Jesus, they’re fun, they have good inside jokes, (i.e. “SimbRos”) and we’ll get to work together in El Salvador this summer. It’s gonna be an amazing time. Here, these friends from Northside A/G are flashing their “Northside” gang symbol.

They told me about the residents of a town we drove through, Vernon, FL. Wow. Back in ’82 some people made a documentary about Vernon. Hysterical in that “If Footmen Tire You, What Would Horses Do?” sort of way. If you’ve seen that movie, and not many of you have, you know what I mean.

The documentary highlighted some of the colorful Vernon residents, like the guy who’s killed thousands of turkeys, or this nice couple that is very interested in starting a dirt farm. Seriously, check this out (it’s from YouTube).

The Bonifay residents are quite upscale and proper…not like their next door Vernon neighbors. It’s gonna be a fun trip with these great people.

Michael Roe of the 77’s. A fun night.

My friend Jorin introduced me to the 77’s in 1991 when I had the (what to me was about the coolest privilege ever…because it was) opportunity to fill-in host at KADI’s Saturday night “The Rock Cries Out”. He stopped by with some cd’s (they were a new fangled thing then) and suggested I play “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life” from their Sticks and Stones CD.
It’s now absolutely one of my favorite 5 cds of all time. Incredible stuff.
Since then, I’ve somehow (via ebay, used stores and more) purchased just about everything they’ve ever done.

I met Mike Roe (lead singer) at the GMA Conference in about ’96, but have never seen him or them live…until last week.

Thanks to my good friend Bret, he played a solo living room show here in Springfield. I had just had surgery 2 hours earlier on my leg, but knew that not many things (was in W. Africa last time he was here) could keep me from that concert. Was valiumed up…(but that had no effect on my enjoyment) I LOVED THE SHOW!
He’s incredible. They had been signed to Island Records in the early-mid 80s even though they were a Christian band. Island was going to push them big time because they were so good. Then…Island scored another band to their label and funneled most of their promo money that way. U2. Joshua Tree. Wow.
The 77s are in that category if you ask me.
One of my favorite parts of the show was watching it with my friend from church, Brian. He’s been a fan for a long time…and has played music for years himself. We loved the show. Here’s Mike with Brian.

Finally…here’s a video of a song I requested…that first 77’s song I heard, “The Lust,…”. I’ve heard Mike is cool with people posting his stuff, but I’ll glady delete this if anyone tells me he doesn’t like it. Just let me know.

Enjoy this tune…