A group of Christian young people, from Kinmel Bay Church in north Wales, led by Jo Matthews will visit Moldova 21st July to 1st August 2016. Here is the account of their ten day mission as shared by the team members:
Day 1 – Travel to Moldova by Sally Jones
We rose relatively early to meet at the church at 7am, had some toast and prayed. Our pastor sent us encouragingly on with the verse, Joshua 1: 9, and told us to be strong and courageous!!! We then, with giggles, made our way to the minibus, loaded up and headed to the airport with a nice support of waves from the church.
Jo Matthews: Team Leader
God was very good to us and blessed us with a very smooth and safe journey (if very long) for 150 kilometres to Badicul Moldovenesc from the airport at Chisinau. The team arrived in very high spirits. Below is Sarah’s blog for today.
First Impressions by Sarah Petersen
We arrived at Badicul at 1.30am, and despite being tired , we were full of energy and excitement. We were greeted by Lucian (the mayor and pastor of the village), his wife Svetlana and our two translators Natasha and Diana who were all so welcoming.
We went into the church , with our 1000’s of cases, and were instantly greeted by a homely feeling both from the people and the amazing effort that had been made to make the church our home for the next 10 days.
We ended our day with a group prayer time and went for a much needed sleep.
Day 2 by Jonny
First full day complete here in Moldova and we are all settling in well by now, with great cooking and flushing toilets helping the transition be a little more seamless.
We started yesterday with a more chilled morning to help recover from our journey, familiarising ourselves with our surroundings and taking a brief stroll around the centre of the village.
In the afternoon we made a short trip up to the woods to visit an American camp being run for the young people of Moldova. The camp was a very colourful, aesthetically pleasing place, as pictured, where everyone was having fun enjoying a wide range of games and activities. We spent a couple of hours here talking to some of the Moldovan children on the camp and some of the leaders and really getting a feel for the place and understanding of their culture.
A personal highlight of the day would be on arriving back at the church after a pleasant walk back down we joined in the youth group for their evening meet up. A chance to join in with sport and games, such as volleyball and ultimate frisbee, and start to make relations with the young people of the church. We then sat in on one of their study sessions and despite the language barrier, got a good sense of how God was working in this place, and a sense of excitement for what us to come.
Day 3 By Sally
Yesterday marked our first Sunday in Moldova. The skirts were out and the labels were taken off the new shirts. We were looking smart and ready for the occasion. An occasion it was because this Sunday also marked the first baptisms in their newly built church. Two ladies were publicly announcing their faith in Jesus Christ.
The international level was strong in this service as the locals were joined by our wonderful team from Wales and also a gentleman from Australia who teaches the scriptures through art. We introduced ourselves and then performed ‘My Light House’ accompanied by some Makaton signing.
It was a wonderful performance of make shifts, including a make shift capo (bobble and pencil) a make shift music stand (me) and a make shift drum (the edge of the guitar which was testimony to friendship between Zach and Jonny when you can trust someone’s elbow that close to your face and still concentrate).
This was then followed by my testimony. The service was amazing, uplifting and a wonderful start to the holiday club starting today. After the service we had an awesome time of fellowship with biscuits and ping pong.
With us eager to learn and the locals happy to help, our Romanian lessons took place and I’m proud to say I can now count to ten, well nearly. We are working on the pronunciation. The evening consisted of planning, which was brought with great excitement as we collaborate with the youth team from the church to ensure a great holiday club.
So far it has been great. We are all slowly adapting to the heat, enjoying the buckets of food and feel overwhelmingly welcomed by all! We are all excited for the holiday club to spend time with the kids, work and have fellowship with the church youth team and share God’s word and love.
Today was the last morning that we did the kids camp. The day involved filling water balloons, getting very wet and singing songs with loads of actions. It was good to see all the children getting involved with the worship and enjoying it. I was amazed to see how quickly they could pick up the memory verse. And it was great to end the camp with everyone having an ice cream.
It was very hot and I was extremely happy when it rained after the kids camp had finished. Never before did I think I would miss rain.
Today we had the amazing opportunity of taking two children from the village into Cahul and bought them supplies for school. We bought the children clothing they could wear to school for both the summer and winter. They were both so happy with their new items of clothing and were so grateful of their new clothing and shoes and it was so good to see the smile on both of their faces.
Whilst in Cahul we were also able to experience Moldovan life first hand. As we walked the streets, hunting for clothes shops, we saw a variety of fruit, veg and fish in the markets and had the most delicious food from a local bakery.
The highlight of the day was definitely seeing Doina’s face when she tried on her new dress!
Yesterday evening we concluded our summer club with a short session where the children’s parents were invited, with 20 to 25 parents turning up and 14 of them being non-Christians which is pretty epic!
We started the evening off with various activities and crafts followed by a bit of tug-of-war which the team dutifully won, flying the flag for Wales. This was then followed by a meeting filled with worship, memory verses and a talk on following Jesus and God’s word, and all the perks that come with it. We finished in fellowship by sharing some food and continuing the chatting and the laughter. My heart was just filled with love and hope that God will move in this place and that the people of this village will continue to grow into him and to lean into his glory.
This morning we had the chance to visit the kindergarten for a couple of hours where we had a lot of fun singing, dancing and playing with the children. In the afternoon we managed to visit the new camp that is being built and it was amazing to see the progress that is being made there and it is exciting to see the prospects that camp brings for so many people.
Afterwards we managed to have a look around the school as well which was interesting to see the pride they have in certain facilities, and to hear about some of the history of the village.
Everyone’s still loving life, loving God and we can’t wait for anything else that is to come!
Day 6 – Holly & Hev
Today we went into Cahul with Lucian and his family. After an early start we made our way to Cahul where we went shopping for gifts and souvenirs, and were then treated to Pizza for lunch by Lucian. After a busy day shopping we then went back to the church for a celebratory BBQ for the events of the week. During the BBQ we had some last chance fun with the young people from the church doing things such as ping pong and face painting.
After a fun and exciting day we all began packing for our departure the next day. Once done packing we all went for some much needed sleep.
Saturday was both a team day out and a celebration of new life in Christ, with Pastor Lucian’s family and the families of the two women who were baptised last week. Much fun was had on the way to see a completely traditional house, with weaving loom, clothes, ovens and artifacts.
It reflected to us the hard working, quiet and beautiful spirit of Moldova that we’ve seen in the village. Then we went to a cool lake to see the storks, water Lillie’s and let Jonny catch tiny frogs. After shopping and pizza it was back for yet more food! While the men made fire and kids played, the women laughed, shared stories of what God’s done in our lives and prayed for each other. The stories showed life following Jesus is sometimes very hard, but we agreed. It’s worth every minute.
Day 7 – Jo
Our last morning in Badicul Moldovanesc
The service was an emotional spirit filled time of prayer and worship which included Zach playing a traditional Moldovan drum. Lucian led prayers for the team and for those who had been baptised. There was also a time of telling each other what the last 10 days had meant to each of us and how we had seen God at work. Both sides felt they had been blessed and that this visit had drawn the partnership into a real sense of love and family.
Svetlana said having the team stay in the church building meant the whole church was involved and felt closer. After the service we shared a meal which everyone had contributed to. Happy birthday was sung (la mult ani) for Sally who was celebrating her 19th birthday. Gifts were exchanged, cake was eaten and many tears were shed.
As team leader I had spent months planning the trip and had been anxious but many prayed during the trip and it was clear through every visit, activity and day to day interaction that God’s hand was in everything. We left with Heavy hearts but also with a sense of excitement at what God is doing in the lives of our team and the village of Badicul.