Monthly Archives: April 2015

Visiting Transnistria

One of the things we did was visit a pastor and his family in Transnistria, which is a region across the River Dniester of Moldova and just west of the Ukraine.  The Russians have taken over this region and made it an underground training base for their army.  Because we were foreigners, they would only allow us to stay for less than 24 hours.  We did not wish to find out what would happen if we overstayed our welcome!   As my hubby was unloading the van, a large group of Russian soldiers came marching down the little street.  The oppression of that area was strongly felt, but the Lord is still doing a vibrant work there.

DSC_0963A real Russian military tank guarding the entrance to their barracks.  We weren’t allowed to take any pictures of the boarder, and there were tanks there and Russian soldiers with machine guns with their dogs.  You did not want to make one wrong move!DSC_0891   DSC_0912On our way to visit the rehabilitation center that our brother started, we drove past Bender Fortress, a fortress that was built in the early 1400’s.   We also passed this man sitting outside his little shack, drinking a large bottle of vodka.  What a sorrowful sight.  The mayor of this region said that they entire village needs to be rehabilitated.

IMG_3872Here we are with the changed men at the rehabilitation center.  All of these men and the two woman were former drug addicts and alcoholics whose lives have been transformed by the power of Christ.  The only reform program they have here is to give them the gospel, the Bible and lots of work.  There is no other physiological counseling or anything of that nature.  They have daily Bible studies and receive guidance  and prayer from a local pastor who ministers there. The men work to raise all their own meat, have milk cows, and a huge garden.  They also have a ministry to the village people by providing them with the extra food that they raise.   IMG_3813     IMG_3811The men singing praises to God in Russian.  They all asked for prayer that they can be reunited with their families.

IMG_3806   DSC_0932

 

DSC_0913                                                       The way the men workout.

IMG_3857  DSC_0947 The milk calf and meat rabbit.

It was exciting to see what God is doing in the hearts and lives of these men and women in that depressingly dark region.

DSC_0922This woman was addicted to drugs for 12 years and has been set free through the blood of Jesus.  She loves the Lord so very much and has such a huge heart for many other women who are addicted to substances and need to know the love and forgiveness of Christ.  She prays everyday for a way to minister and reach them.

” Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.   And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”                                                                                                    ~2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Precious Memories

Below is a collection of pictures that bring back such precious memories from our time.


DSC_0992  DSC_0050Brent inside a small Moldovan kitchen.  The beautiful view outside.  Pictures don’t do it justice.

DSC_0989 DSC_0991                                                     Here is the way most people live.  Homes are very old and falling apart, but there is no money to make repairs.  Also, a picture of a wood stove that heats the home and is where they do all the cooking.

DSC_0028I matched the door of this little house that a sweet Christian couple is looking to buy.

IMG_4040IMG_3918 Brent sent greetings to these churches and briefly shared our story of how God worked to bring us together.  Brother Ghiorghi had prayed for a godly wife for Brent several years ago.

IMG_4067IMG_4061 Precious littles!  How can you not love this darling little face?

DSC_1043DSC_0874Delicious food!  The meal on the left is roasted lamb, cold chicken feet soup, pickled tomatoes, homemade feta, raspberry compote and cheese pies – all made on a wood stove with no running water in the house!  The meal on the right is beet slaw, fermented carrots, corn mush, brown bread, beet soup and fried meat patties.  Such complex and interesting flavors that we don’t have here in the US.  I loved that everything is non GMO and organic.  We felt so healthy over there, even with the cleanliness standards being very different.  Many people would all share the same cup and think nothing of it.  🙂  It was good for us to be stretched in that area.

Devoted Believers

 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  James 1:27

Pacea Domnului – May the peace of the Lord be with you!  This is the greeting the Christians greet one another with accompanied by a kiss on each cheek. Their sacrificial love for the brethren was so evident!  One of the things that impressed us about the church over in Romania, Moldova and Transnistria was just how practically their faith was lived out.  They care deeply for the fatherless and the widows and there is such a need for the church to minister to them as there are so many orphans and widows.  But another thing that really impressed us was they way these dear Christians keep themselves unspotted from the world and their devotion to holiness.

DSC_0574

This dear brother in the green coat is a Gideon who has smuggled Bibles into Siberia and many parts of Russia.

DSC_0592

This family had been very persecuted by the priest and people in their village and they were needing encouragement. They are trying to start a church in an area surrounded by three monasteries.

DSC_0098

This sister is a pastor’s wife and pregnant with their 3rd child. She is due just 2 weeks after me. I greatly admired her strength in living without so many basic necessities, including an indoor toilet!

DSC_0794I fell in love with this chunky little man!  He’s only 4 months old and already weighs 20 lbs!  They know how to grow them big in Moldova.  His parents are a sweet Christian couple.

IMG_4159Another dear pastor and his family.  Our missionary friend, Brother Ghiorghi affectionately calls this brother, “John the Baptist”.  He has a church in one village and is trying to start another in a village 5 miles away, but he doesn’t have a working car so he has to ride his bike over dirt roads to preach the gospel.  He and his wife were such joyful people!DSC_0783

The young man in the striped shirt accepted Christ while we were at his house!  He is 17 years old and has grown up in a Christian family and just been a good kid, but Brother Ghiorghi was telling him that God has no grandchildren and he needs to develop his own walk with Jesus Christ.  He told him that he can’t just keep riding on his parents faith and convictions, he needs to have the Holy Spirit and listen to His leading for his own life.  When Brother Ghiorghi finished sharing, this young man had tears in his eyes and said that he wanted to accept Christ and begin his own personal walk with Jesus.  We all knelt and prayed as he prayed to give his life to Jesus.  Many tears of joy were shed!  Praise the Lord!   After that glorious moment, Brother Ghiorghi exhorted him to start trusting God for a wife and to pray for her.  He urged him to pray instead of date, and to be a man of prayer, a man of the Word and a man of faith as he waits for God to work.  Such great advice!

DSC_0647Another precious pastor and his family of seven children.  Their youngest daughter, Sara had been praying all week for a soccer ball and we unknowingly brought them an Energia soccer ball that represents the story of the gospel through the colors.  She was delighted that God used us to answer her prayer, and we were so touched to be used as wellDSC_0632      DSC_0634

DSC_0631This is their oldest daughter, Valeria and her fiance Gregori.  They had a precious testimony of how the Lord worked to bring them together.  The church encourages the young people to stay busy serving the Lord and pray in faith for a godly spouse instead of dating.  It was so beautiful to witness the purity of their relationship.  They were to be married 20 days from this picture!

We are all called to be faithful and fruitful!  May God help us to bear eternal fruit and build up His eternal Kingdom!

 

The Godly Widows

 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  James 1:27

We were privileged to visit some dear widows and take them some groceries.  Most widows in Moldova survive on about $40 a month.

The first dear sister we met was Sister Anna, a precious 83 year old woman who reminded me of the prophetess Anna from the Bible.  This sister could barely walk, she used two canes to get around, but the first thing she did when we got inside her probably 150 square foot home, was drop to her knees and pray a long prayer of grateful thanksgiving to the Lord.   She is so grateful for Jesus and so excitedly looking for His return.  She was so close with Jesus, reading her Bible and talking to Him all throughout the day.  It was evident that He is her best friend.  I marveled at her faith, and her joy in such circumstances.  Tears filled my eyes as she talked to her Savior.  She has nothing, but she has Him!

DSC_0697

I didn’t want to forget anything she said.  Through Brother Ghiorghi’s translating we were able to understand and glean from her deep wisdom.

She told us that great persecution was coming and we must continually look toward heaven for Jesus’ return.  She shared how this homosexual movement is a sign of us living the last days. She said she had heard about a pastor in the US who refused to marry a homosexual couple and was sent to prison and fined.  She shared how she prays everyday for all the pastors who still fear God, that they would stay strong on what the Bible says.

She said,  “I hear America is a very big country with lots of wealth, but they have no fear of God in their hearts. You are very young, but you must stay strong in the faith and always fear the Lord.”

IMG_3724

She urged us to stay strong in the faith, to not give in and she blessed us in the name of the Lord.  She said, “If I don’t see you on this earth again, I will look forward to seeing you in heaven!”  Wow!  Just gave me chills of excitement.  I gave her our family photo so she can pray for us.  I want to be on her prayer list!

We also visited these other dear sisters and took them some groceries. IMG_3728

This precious woman (the one reclining) had 12 children.  She is now 85 and her prayer was, “Lord, keep me close to you until my last day.”  Here she is with four of her children.

IMG_3971

 

This is our missionary friend’s mother.  She is 84 and still milks her cow everyday, makes cheese, cans, gardens and cooks on a wood stove.   She loves the Lord as well.  DSC_0734

Thank you, Lord for these dear women.  Please watch over, protect and provide for them.  Minister to their needs.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Can You Hear the Prayer of the Children?

 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  James 1:27

One of the first things we did during our two week trip was to visit an orphanage in Moldova that our brother’s ministry, GMI has adopted.  There are 76 children that live in this orphanage.   Our brother has worked very hard to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of these precious children, but they still have so many needs.  They don’t have the love of a mommy and daddy, they don’t own anything.  They need to know the unconditional love of Jesus.

My heart wasn’t prepared for seeing so many little souls, with so much potential, but so in need  of love.  I could hardly keep from breaking down and bawling my eyes out as I snapped these pictures in the slide show below.  My heart yearned to love each one.  Our little Skipper loved the children and they loved him.   These little ones all wanted me to take their picture and then they wanted to see it on the viewer on my camera.  It hit me that nobody ever takes their picture and they wanted to see themselves.  They were just so precious!

Brother Ghiorghi through his ministry  has been able to bless this particular orphanage by providing heat, running water, (they used to have to haul all of their water by a hand well), washing machines, (the workers used to have to wash all the children’s clothes by hand), Bibles, Bible story books, devotional books for the workers, and once a year they provide shoes for all the children, plus they give them little treats when they come to visit.  I appreciated seeing how they try to meet the spiritual needs, but also minister to the physical.  They really try to witness to the staff and pray for them to get saved so that they can reach and minister to the children.

Who will love these little ones?  Who will help them?  Where will they go when after the age of 14 they are required to move out of the orphanage and are on their own?  How will the make it in this hard world?  Who will love them enough to tell them about Jesus?  Who will open up their hearts to them and show them the love of Christ?  Where is the church?

The church over there is trying.  They are trying to adopt them, to love and support them, but there is only so much they can do because of limited resources.  GMI helps to place orphans in what they call Homes of Hope.  These are Christian homes, who have a heart for these children, but they don’t always have the resources to adopt or add on to their home to meet government regulations in order to receive more children. We must band with them and be the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to minister to these precious, eternal souls.  Rise up, oh church in America, the time to help is now.  God didn’t bless us so abundantly so that we could all just live comfortably.  He wants us to help bear the burdens of the orphans and other fellow believers.

DSC_0872

 

 

 

IMG_4088 On the left is a Home of Hope family.  They have 5 adopted children and you can’t tell which are their biological and which are the adopted.  They all love Jesus!  Then the couple on the photo on the right both grew up as orphans and then were adopted by Christian families.  Now that they are married, they want to start a Home of Hope and adopt little ones.  Praise the Lord for the legacy that is being carried on!

Mission Trip To Eastern Europe

Hello Friends, this blog has been silent for way too long.  I’m excited to share about the mission trip our family just went on in early April.  My life will be forever changed from visiting Romania, Moldova and Transnistria.  We stayed with some dear missionary friends of ours who are stationed in Iasi, Romania.   Brother Ghiorghi and Sister Christina Cazacu are their names  and we got to witness firsthand their ministry to orphans, widows, and believers through Gospel Ministries International, the ministry they started.

Thank you to all of those who prayed for us!  Traveling with a toddler, while 6 months pregnant is always challenging, and it is especially difficult when you are traveling overseas.   We could feel the prayers and see God’s hand upon us throughout our trip.  We didn’t get sick the whole time we were over there and our little son, who we affectionately refer to as, “Skipper” adjusted so well.

CameraZOOM-20150331084421435

We arrived in Iasi, Romania (pronounced Yash) after 18+ hours of travel, making for one very long day and short night.  Our flight out of St. Louis was delayed and so it was going to be a really close call to make our connecting flight from Newark to Vienna.  Thankfully, the Lord ordained that the man who sat behind us on the flight to Newark was from that area, and he told us that we must take the bus to our terminal.  He proceeded to tell us that if we would take the tram, we would have to go through security again and we didn’t have time for that.  Without that information we would have most certainly missed our 8.5 hour transatlantic flight.   As it was, we were the last ones to board the big jet plane headed for Vienna.  Thank you Lord!  It is in the little things like that, where you know that He is watching out for you.CameraZOOM-20150331084635283

We were amazed at the strength and faith of the church.  People have nothing, from a material stand point, but they have the joy of the Lord and a close walk with Him that we don’t often see in a land of plenty.  The average wage for a Moldovan in US dollars is $3000 per year, and that is more than most of the villagers make.   We were greatly impressed that the believers pray for everything.

IMG_3731  —Very common sight.

Some additional statistics:  94% of the population of Moldova identifies itself as Orthodox.  There are so many villages still without a Bible-believing church.  Moldova also has the highest rate of alcoholism per capita in the world and ranks number 6 on the scale of countries with the most human trafficking.  People are very needy, but their greatest need is to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

DSC_0680

Sheep, goats, cows and horses all roam without fences.

DSC_0625     —– Just a normal village road in Moldova.

DSC_0506  —–Typical housing.