When we got married (so long ago!), we both felt like our lives would be full time ministry, which is funny because we both had degrees (math and computers) and careers (teaching and programming). We didn’t look like your average pastors or missionaries. We also felt like our time here in Thousand Oaks was both temporary and a training ground. After our church multiplied into two churches and we became Calvary Chapel Skyline, we felt called to say at Skyline and train under Pastor Manny…it’s been harder at times than we thought it would be but we’ve also learned more than we expected! It’s weird to even comprehend leaving Pastor Manny and Karey and serving somewhere else but we know that they have poured into us and we are excited to take that somewhere else.
We won’t be leaving right away. As of right now, we feel like we should serve under Pastor Manny for one more year (and during that time, pray for others to rise up and serve under him!). During this next year we will be working on learning the Russian language (to some extent, immersion will be the best later on), raising some financial support for living over there, getting our things in order and selling quite a few things that we won’t be able to take (garage sales here we come!). Then next fall, we plan on moving up north and spending some time with our families during the holidays and also building a support team in our childhood churches. Our idea would be to move to Moldova in January 2012, so in about 16 months or so. Yes, we do realize that we will be moving during Moldova’s coldest month but we figure it can only get warmer (literally!).
Why Moldova? Eastern Europe has a complicated and twisted history. Moldova’s is even more complicated and more twisted. Early, early history puts Moldova as part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1812, the Treaty of Bucharest was signed and Moldova went from being part of the Ottoman Empire to part of the Russian Empire. World War I dissolved the Russian Empire in 1917 and Moldova became the Moldavian Democratic Republic and joined Greater Romania, although it only lasted until World War II. During the next few years, Moldova went back and forth between Russia and Romania. From the years 1944 to 1991, Moldova was part of the USSR until it declared its own independence on August 27, 1991. Confused yet?
Because of this confusing history, Moldova also has an interesting language history. Moldovan is the “official” language (which is basically Romanian with an accent) but Russian is also widely spoken. Until the fall of the Iron Curtain, Moldovans were forced to use the Cyrillic alphabet (aka Russian alphabet), even though their language was Romanian, which is typically written in the Latin alphabet. This was an attempt by the Soviets to differentiate “their” territory from Romania. There are many quirks like that in Moldova, largely due to Soviet influence. The use of the universal Russian language behind the Iron Curtain is one of the reasons we chose to learn Russian – most (all?) ex-Soviet countries can communicate in Russian.
So, enough with the history lessons, back to the main question – Why Moldova? First off, the poverty. Moldova is the poorest European country. It’s not 3rd-world poor, but it’s pretty bad. When we were last there, we met a family who lived on the 4th floor of an apartment building and had no running water. Every drop of fresh water they had to pull from a well and walk up 4 flights of stairs. Every drop of waste had to be carried down. Convenient? Not at all – thank you Communism! One thing that can definitely help with poverty is education – something we will be taking part in. The simplest way to start is to teach English. Since we will be living in a University town, this should be fairly easy to start. Every skill can help a family better themselves.
The second, more prominent reason is based on our faith. We need to save souls. Over 90% of the country considers themselves “Christian” but they are bound to the Orthodox church. This was also a holdover from Communism. During Soviet reign, the only sanctioned church was the Russian Orthodox church. The Communists would send spies to periodically check on each church and ensure that no rebellious talk of “freedom in Christ” or anything of the like was being preached. If so, the priest of that particular parish would disappear and a new priest would take over. The new priest would undoubtedly be pro-Communist. That being said, most Moldovans have no idea who Jesus Christ is or why He came to Earth. That is something we have a heart to change.
We believe that God has created each human with body, soul, and spirit. The Bible says that we are “dead in our sins and trespasses” implying that our spirits are born dead. When you believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God in the flesh, came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross and was resurrected, you enter into a personal relationship with Him. This knowledge and belief is necessary to resurrect the dead spirit within each of us. This is the essence of being “born again.” This is the information Moldovans need. We recognize that people everywhere need to know this, but we feel specifically called to share this information with Moldova. We are moving there for the people. Because we want to see more faces in Heaven.
“For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!'” Romans 10:13-15
That is our desire. Please join us in this endeavor. Walking in Faith for the Glory of God.