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.

I’m not from here (and good food)

I don’t know why I have such a strong desire to learn the phrase, “I’m not from here” but ever since that day in the market in Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea (when we were the only westerners within 100 miles except for a few missionaries) I just have. Here, I had Sara Tady (who often mentions she’s on Facebook) teach me and you the phrase in Romanian, one of the prominent languages of Moldova. Watch this:

 

There were some wonderful hosts during my time in this country, Andy and Nancy Raatz and their girls were very hospitable, Troy and Heather Darrin were as well, Wendell, who’s a missionary in Lithuania happened to be around and that was fun. Sara (who happens to be pretty good friends with my grandmother and cousins in Duvall, WA) was a blast and will help host the team this fall…and finally, Jessie who will soon head back to North Central University and Shonna who’s heading back to Springfield, MO (near the College of the Ozarks, her alma mater) were great guides.And I ate well…thanks Nancy.

My first impressions of Moldova

What a place. After some rest I’ll post some more thoughts, but I’m really enjoying time here in Moldova. I’ve met some amazing people, seen some amazing ministry and have begun the dreaming process for what it could look like as our Convoy of Hope Interns come here this fall. Andy hosted me during my stay. Here he is in front of the former Soviet Union’s first officially sanctioned Pentecostal Church.

I’ll share more later about this beautiful place, which tragically is amongst the world’s poorest and was recently listed by a major U.S. magazine as being the “saddest” country in the world. Can’t wait to return this fall.

Almost there

I’m on my way to Moldova and then Armenia to do some set-up for our fall intern teeam. It’s been a long process of delays/cancelled flights and stuff like that. I’ll skip the details. I’m on a rerouted journey, currently in transit in Frankfurt, Germany. I grabbed a Starbucks (Americano with 2 sweet-n-lows and cream) which is what’s keeping me awake to write this. While in line, I saw these two shelves…

It’s the largest collection of Starbucks mugs I’ve seen outside my kitchen or Jeff Nene’s office. I only have carry on bags…no checked luggage. Won’t waste my space on them,
and purchased none, but it got me to thinking…
1. This world is getting smaller. It’s sad in some ways, cool in some ways, but regardless of the implications, it’s getting smaller. I wonder how long it will be until this tribe will have their own Starbucks…sadly, it may be quicker than we think. Globilization.
2. I like to drink coffee.
A few moments ago, I met David, a new Facebook friend. He’s returning from Iraq where he was injured as a gunner in the National Guard. Good talk.I’ll write more from Moldova when I’ve had a bit more sleep!