Sunday, March 20, 2016

Moldova Day 9 - Heroes

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

As Canadians, we walk into foreign countries with our own colored glasses. Our worldview adds a certain tinge to everything we see, hear and feel while travelling. It only becomes more pronounced when we start talking about ministry.

We don't understand the history, culture or nuances of the people we speak to. Their lives are their own, a complex amalgamation of everything that has happened to them. It's why we work with local people on the ground who understand intuitively the challenges that Moldovan's face each and every day.

Above is Sergiu (Sergei), one of the staff members of Beginning of Life. He acted as our guide, our translator and he quickly became our friend. Through the thousands of questions we asked over the past week, Sergiu offered us priceless insights into the unseen currents flowing underneath.

These are workers who open doors, and while we await our final flight over the Rockies, they are ministering in Moldova, working tirelessly in the schools, the urban centers, the House of Change, the Dream House, the Early Childhood Center, the Social Assistance center and more.

Their boundless passion exudes through not only their words but the sacrificial way they serve the people God has entrusted for them. They set a grueling standard for advancing the Kingdom of God and exemplify what it means to move mountains with out faith. By any standard, the darkness that confronts them each day is paralyzing, yet they stand defiantly as lighthouses in an ocean of night.

They have challenged us, inspired us, made us laugh, and acted as our guides. While we are no longer there, we will join in battle with them and lift Moldova up in prayer to see the revolution that is needed. Each and every one is playing a pivotal role in not only the coming social revolution, but claiming the country for the more important spiritual revolution.

Thank you to each and every one for your hospitality, your patience and your passion. You have inspired us to bring that same passion home to identify and meet the needs in our own community.

Lastly, I have to give special mention to Sergiu. You not only made sure we were comfortable and able to encourage those in the country, but you have become our friend. Your jokes, poking and singing pop songs will stick with us. Carry on the good work, and know that you don't do it alone!

And so ends our Discovery Trip. You have followed along with us, and no doubt will have many stories and pictures ahead of you with family and friends. I hope it inspires you to action, to not only take in the beautiful story God is telling in Moldova, but to join with out brothers and sisters and support them in prayer and ministry. Maybe you'll come along next time we go and play your own part in the story.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Moldova Day 8 - True Partnership

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

No matter your experience with trips, God always surprises. I don't think any of the 14 members on this trip could have even begun to imagine what the Lord had in store for us last Friday as we boarded the plane in Vancouver. As humans, we are in the business of building boxes for God, and He is never ceases to blow our expectations away.

We have been broken with realities of Moldova, sharing moments of anger, tears, passion, vision and thankfully so much laughter. We have walked through the emotional and spiritual journey hand in hand as we have sought the will of the Lord. He has gleefully shown us new aspects of His faithfulness and unveiled His heart to us. Each and every one us of us have been left standing slack jawed at the majestic vision unfolding before us.

The road will not be smooth, because we are looking over a battlefield. The enemy has claimed this land as its own, yet the Heavenly Armies are advancing. Satan wants nothing more than for those in bondage to remain beaten, listless and afraid. Yet life by valuable life the Church declares freedom for the captives, comfort for the widows, a future for the orphans. The Lord's eyes are upon this land and his rage burns against the injustices.

How could we not be excited? How could we not invest our hearts?

This is the heart of discovery. We came to see what God was doing in Moldova, and we were inspired about what He could do I'm Canada. We came to serve and give, and we received in return.

God has given a vision of an uncontrolled, indiscriminate wildfire sweeping the cities of Canada. A coming time when the widows, orphans and forgotten of our land are called out of the shadows and given a place of honor in our communities. Where the Church stands as a shining example of the coming and present Kingdom of God on earth, restoring the fractures of our society in deed, speech and truth.

We have been challenged not to observe our culture, but to participate in it. To preach with our actions and love bigger than our skin. Shining like a city on a hill, a beacon of hope and safety for all those wandering in the darkness.

This is the vision God has laid on our hearts. He is already realizing this in Moldova, and we have caught the flame. Now we come as torch bearers to our home, having left to serve, and discovering the barrenness of our own land. That is where our eyes turn to, knowing that in partnership the Kingdom of God will advance ever forward around the world.

Tomorrow we awake early in the morning to begin our journey home. We leave a piece of our hearts here, and bring a part of her with us. True partnership.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Moldova Day 7 - Discovering Change

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

There is a nervous energy whenever you are preparing to head on a trip. Questions rifle through your mind as you attempt to grapple with the gravity of what will come. The vast unknown nature of discovery stands in contrast with our natural desire to be in control.

Compare that to the exhausted nature of your heart and mind towards the end of a trip. You have seen and experienced things that break your heart. Met people who are nothing short of inspiring in the way they live out their convictions. The highs leave your breathless, and the lows can make you question in you will ever see daylight.

You learn to savor every moment.

It may be a conversation with one person along the way, a small sign from God which confirms His voice or a moment where heaven and earth collide with the subtly of an asteroid. You will leave completely changed by what God has shown you, and there will be a part of your heart that does not beard the plane home.

We groggily awoke at the wee hours of the morning to drive the bumpy Moldovan highways to Balti în the North. Rolling hills layered with rich, black, fertile Moldovan soil speak of a richness in the country that it's people do not know. Picturesque landscapes that a master painter would struggle to convey unfurled before us.

The landscapes sung stories to us of the people who tilled their slopes. One of a well to do farmer who has equipped himself with all of the latest technology. Acres exactingly tilled, leaving a black blanket rolling out into the distance holds hope of future wealth.

Beside the clear organization of a modern farmer is a small, haphazard plot of soil that has been tilled by a manual plow and oxen. A family hopes to feed themselves and maybe have some leftover to take to market. It speaks of wealth unrealized, perhaps for a plethora of reasons; health, ambition, age.

Balti itself again reveals Moldova as a place of constant change. A land that hangs in the balance of its past and future. A region of Moldova that clearly loves it's country, yet longs for Russia to solve her problems. A people that remember the days of communism and continue to subscribe to many of her tenants. Difficult soil for ministry.

It is here that Beginning of Life sees potential and need. Here where workers have spent three years earning their due in schools. The honor to share with students about needed topics, moving relationships from distrust to welcoming arms. We had the opportunity to piggy-back on that relationship to share about Canada and let Christ be bigger than our skin.

Through games, the English language and relationship, we come as foreigners into a temporary situation to help these workers build relationship. They build it long before the kids could come to the ministry, so that when the time comes, they have friends at BoL.

In the evening, we joined with the Way to Success program with students that already give of their time to help with the ministry at different stages of the year. Most do not yet know Jesus, yet are engaging on a deeper level with the workers and ministry.

As usual, it was all serious business. Games, laughter and community permeated the evening. We sang O Canada, led some worship and then challenged the youth to give their lives over to Jesus, no matter where they are in their journey. None of us come from a perfect life, yet the Holy Spirit pursued us.

Seven days into the trip, we wrap up the major parts of viewing Beginning of Life ministry. Yet our hearts will forever be changed. The passion with which every worker exudes, whether it be speaking or spending time with youth is challenging. The fervor and urgency to the ministry is a wake-up call to our faith in Canada.

We came to give, but I believe we received something much greater in return.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Moldova Day 6 - Collecting Our Thoughts

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

What most people don't know about trips is that they can be a marathon carried out at the pace of a sprint. Before you leave, you train and prepare so that when the time comes you can compete at the highest ability. Once you're off the line, every part of you is being taxed. Physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. All are being stretched and pulled in new directions.

Today was a natural lull in the schedule. A chance to catch our collective breaths, reflect on what we've seen and experienced and gear up for a long day tomorrow. Even though we're not throwing ourselves into the throws of the front lines of ministry, God is sorting through the experiences with us and growing each team member.

We started the day going to a local market. Sifting through the different stalls and giving the team a chance to bring home something to remember the trip by. It's also a great chance to listen and sense the rhythm of a city. The gentle banter, the sense of the stall sellers, the cars rolling by the nearby street all have their own part in the symphony of a city.

There is a hospitality to Chisinau, a deep seated culture that welcomes people in. Yet there is also a great deal of brokenness from the centuries of mistreatment at the hands of occupiers. A underlying hope eroded by the cruel master of uncertainty. Even 25 years after declaring independence, their hearts remember what it means to be enslaved.

We spent the rest of the morning visiting the museum in Chisinau, learning of the natural history and culture of Moldova. Soil that is world renowned and woefully under utilized, a rich diversity of animals, and a people that come from a wide spread of backgrounds amalgamated into modern Moldova.

We naturally took the time to be somber and reflective. 

The late afternoon was the key of the day. A chance to meet and visit with Vladimir, the director of Beginning of Life. After spending the week seeing the ministry and meeting so many of the tireless workers, he conveyed the broader vision of BoL.

In the West, we can get so focused on a single mission that we never pull back enough to see the broader movement at work. We'd be satisfied with participating and changing Human Trafficking. Yet as Vladimir says, BoL is a social change organization.

The restoration of Moldova is a long term investment.

A Moldovan is so steeped in the tradition of their lives, they will actively avoid innovating. People are are afraid to change, less it lead to a failure. Piled on top of this is the bureaucracy and corruption of their government. Bribes and insider relations are the norm, actively holding down what could be a bright future.

The people are unwilling to invest in their own country. After 500 years of occupation and constant changing of hands, the attitude of the immediate permeates every decision. They wonder why they would invest in a twenty year venture when they could cash out immediately.

Between the Ottoman, Russian and Romanian empires, Moldova was a country on which others settled their conflict. Moldovan's fought their wars, funded their campaigns, and fed their armies. When you put it into perspective, the attitude of here and now is quite logical. Broken, but logical.

Lastly, Moldovan's lack initiative. The same problem that keeps them from investing in their future has planted a deep rooted weed in their hearts. They wait for someone else to come save them. The European Union, Russia, even the United States; someone else should come solve their problems.

It's these things that BoL combats through their social change. The kindling of Moldova is tinder dry and piled high, but the people have been told that they will never burn. They need a cultural revolution to spark a wildfire through the country.

We can talk in political terms, but we know this brokenness will never find wholeness without the gospel. To take care of the social problems without Christ is fruitless. This is the beauty of Beginning of Life and how the workers go where they are needed and constantly live Christ bigger than their skin.

They are being the city on a hill, and shining forth for all of Moldova to rally towards.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Moldova Day 5 - A Different Perspective

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

Every country has its own dividing lines. Places where two humans who share a nationality diverge in significant ways. It can be hard to discern these sometimes deceptively subtle cues from a short visit. Working with a local partner affords us the great privilege of having not only a language translator, but also a cultural one. Minute variations in the cultural fabric are brought to vivid life when a cultural native interprets them for you. 

The team left the capital of Chisinau today, and drove South to visit the Comrat Urban Centers ministry. Driving through the rural fields, the difference in landscape acted as a precursor to the people we would meet. We traded a concrete landscape for pastoral rolling hills being prepared for a future harvest.

Mirroring the countryside, the younger generation also shares a very different outlook on life. Unlike the Capital, life is built around tight knit community. Similar conversations around bullying from yesterday went in completely different directions because the values they hold.

Yet the need is no different. In many ways, it is greater. These areas are untainted by the cynicism of Chisinau, and there is opportunity to grow deep relationships that will reap harvests later.

Workers like Sergei are the lifeblood of the ministry. The passion exudes from his every word, the care he has for the community practically dripping off him. This young man wants to see a better Moldova, built one relationship at a time.

The opportunities to tend a fresh vine are endless. The branches are still fresh and able to be molded to the desired purpose. The harvest is coming, but the workers are few.

The youth in the south still have hope for the future. Their desire is to leave their pastoral villages and move to the Capital, where life will chew them up and spit them out. They have not yet cast their dreams outside of Moldova, and so maybe, just maybe they can be a part of the revolution.

It makes programs like the Urban Center in Comrat so vital. Here, the same students that we taught in the schools have an opportunity for community and to be introduced to the Gospel. Love is the name of the game, building life skills for the future and providing an open door to share the reason the center is a safe place: Jesus.

We had a chance to figuratively let our hair down and play some silly games with the youth. While those of us upstairs were laughing and exploring why God has given us different emotions, a small group of ladies downstairs were involved in a divine appointment.

A few members of the team had the opportunity to join in with a young women's mentorship group. The Spirit used the story he's telling in each of us to crash through border walls. Stories of brokenness made whole, and a tale of a Godly relationship peeled back the cataracts these young women had grown towards love.

They were so hurt, their hearts so hard the first reaction was one of disbelief. But in the safety of that room and the presence of a long time worker, God opened the floodgates of heaven to further His relationship with these young ladies.

None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of the local workers who have tended the soils and, Lord willing, will reap the harvest. They have built trust and relationship long before, and continue to build solid structure into these youths lives long after we are gone.

This is the beauty of the local church. We are able to come, encourage and support how the Spirit is already at work. We are not the show, not the saviors of this country. It would be an overstatement to call us workers in these fields. We are mere day laborers, here to encourage the permanent staff. Remind them that they are deeply loved and that we will forever lift them up in prayer.

Our job is elsewhere, in our hometowns, our neighborhoods, our homes. We have a local field, but a global perspective. We fight locally but wage war globally as one family, bound together by a crazy thing called grace.

That Jesus would love us so much He would use our inadequate words to touch one person in Moldova.

How great is God?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Moldova Day 4 - Changing the Current

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

How do you change a country when it's people have lost hope? The fundamental ingredient of change is hope for a better future, but in Moldova, the people's wills have broken. The young people are hoping to flee the country en masse to pursue a better future. Nothing brings that to the forefront than teaching a group of students and interacting with their hearts.

Beginning of Life runs a wide variety of programs. From aftercare to a psychological art studio; youth programs to social workers teaching in schools. The scope of the entire ministry is staggering, and it becomes nearly ludicrous when you consider it is barely a decade old.

Today we split into two groups to see the social work in Moldovan schools first hand. I had the privilege of teaching with a smaller group in four different classes, grades 9 to 12.

We introduced Canada, played some games, answered questions and then dove into the meat of the morning: bullying. Moldovan students couldn't believe that we struggle with the realities of the human condition in Canada, but through the half hour we explored how despicable human beings could be to one another.

Each student agreed that bullying was something that needed to stop, but the shocking reality settled in when we asked them what they could do about it. Each of the classes echoed the same lie, "Nothing." The claws of discouragement and abandonment have already sunk so deep that the students believe nothing can change. At an age when we would expect them to be chomping at the bit to transform their worlds, they have given up hope.

I was able to use the metaphor of fluid dynamics in a pool to illustrate my point. When a group hops into a pool and all run in one direction, the water begins to spin with them. Then, when one person attempts to turn and change the flow of the current, they have to work exceptionally hard. It's almost impossible.

But if a group turns and works together to change the current, it will still be hard and still require a great deal of energy, but they can slow the current and reverse it so that it gets easier and easier.

Despite the inertia that drags Moldovans into the pit of despair, I pray the analogy will help the social workers in the future. I was able, along with the group to challenge these young students to be leaders. To stand up for their fellow country mates and make their home a great place. Moldova needs cheerleaders.

In the afternoon, we learned about some of the horrific realities of human trafficking in the country. In the house of change, women are being restored and given a new hope for their own future.

These are women that have been physically abused or sexually exploited and need psychological psychiatric help to move beyond the wounds of their exploitation. In the home they are given the space to rediscover who they are as a woman and rise above the scars of their abuse. Then they are transitioned into everyday life over a period so they can successfully live the rest of their lives.

With a difficult task like this, the nearly 60% success rate of the program is staggering.

Finally, we visited the Dream home. A typical home where ten girls are being given a chance at life. Each of them come from rural Moldova from homes where they were physically abused or their parents were alcoholics. The dream home lays the basic life skills that parents would normally endow on their children.

Then they go above and beyond. The girls are taught budgeting, self care and given a measure of independence to begin living their lives. They finish their schooling or are taught a trade and after three years move into the world with all the skills they need to be strong women in this broken country.

They are heroines, stepping out of a home that offered little opportunity to take on a new life with Beginning of Life staff and make something of themselves. We had an opportunity to spend the evening with them, playing games, eating and sharing stories. Some of the women from the team brought makeup and styled their hair. Something to show them they are special, just the way they are.

Today we saw the whole picture of Moldova. A generation that seeks only to flee from this country. The results of a people without leadership, and finally how holistic work can transform the lives of young girls who otherwise would be left without options or hope.

This is the Gospel at work. Transforming hearts and lives together. Would you join us in praying for Beginning of Life, and for Moldova? They need the Spirit of the Lord to work here in mighty ways.

As you read this, know that you can be a part of partnering with Moldova. Take a look through Partners International's site and consider how God might be calling you to be involved.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Moldova Day 3 - When Your Heart Breaks

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

The sun rose on our second full day in Moldova. There was a nervous, but excited sense in the air; a growing familiarity to the country laced with a healthy dose of ignorance. After a day seeing how Light of the World church ministers to the needs in Chisinau, we dove into the ministry of Beginning of Life.

The morning started with hearing about the work of the Way to Success program, and the unique challenges Moldova students face. Over 90% of students want to leave the country and work abroad when they graduate. They are fleeing the country like deer fleeing a forest fire.

They do this without any planning or long term goals. They have one goal: get out. This leaves them open to exploitation and trafficking. It doesn't matter if the promised job is credible, it will get them out of the country.

Combined with an education system stacked against them, there seems to be little hope for Moldovan teenagers. Last year, the minister of education changed the final exam to greatly increase the difficulty without warning, leading to a 53% failure rate across the country. These students are faced with the choice to start over and throw away 3 years of their lives and give up hope, trying again, or (as many choose) leave for a foreign country to work as laborers.

The taxi cabs of Moldova are filled with lawyers and accountants. The future is grim.

It's not only the students who face reality in Moldova. Young mothers are raising children without any proper role models who can teach them the skills of rearing a child.

Enter beginning of life, with their early childhood center, combining both the theory of parenthood with the practice of raising children. The mothers will learn a skill with a worker, while their kids are cared for and then immediately spend time with their child to practice it.

In the basement of the same building are the staff who meet the practical needs of the widows, single mothers and orphans. Here, staff gather food hampers, clothing and more for each of the families. Four times a year, a family is given a ticket to pick out a few outfits from the 'store.'

Here is where our heart begins to break. The team split into three groups, each going to visit a widow's home and give them a special hamper of food. I'll share from my own experience, but each was equally as powerful.

We jostled down a dirt road into a back alley of Chisinau, rolling past a derelict, abandoned former circus stadium. Squeezing the van into a tiny parking space, we unloaded to a stray dog deciding if we were worth chasing. The cool winter breeze cutting through our clothes, we squeezed into a gated yard to view a tiny little home where the mother, Olga greeted us.

Entering into the home, there was a pungent smell, the lights poorly arranged for light. She invited us to her portion of the home, a small bedroom down a short hallway.

Over the next 20 minutes, Olga shared with us about her husband. Pictures of the couple adorned the wall, smiling faces telling a tale of happier times. He passed away last November of a drug overdose.

Her eighteen month old toddler waddled past us, her gait clearly off as she teeters from foot to foot in a bow-legged fashion. Cute as a button, Inga shyly peered out from the safety of her mother's arms.

Olga came to Beginning of Life a few months prior when her childhood friend, now a secretary of staff heard about her husband's death. She was understandably distraught, unable to purchase even diapers for Inga, let along keep the lights on.

Olga's a fortune woman, as her father in law allows her and Inga to stay in the room. She's been estranged from her own family for years, and otherwise would be out on her own.

A young woman of 21, Inga only finished grade 9 and depended on her husband to provide for the family. Now he's gone, and she is left to fend for herself. Already, Olga's life would break anyone's heart, but the story isn't done there.

Inga, the little angel, isn't developing properly. The doctors believe that she had a growth in her head. Her skull plates are not fusing together properly, and no one knows what the prognosis will be. She goes in to see a specialist in the next month, but Moldova does not have health care that covers more than the basics. Any follow up will need to be paid for by Olga, and if Inga requires surgery, it will easily run in excess of 3000 euros.

We prayed for them both, knowing that unless the Lord steps in to heal Inga, there is little hope for her. The Beginning of Life social workers, Ana shared with us how it breaks her heart daily to spend time with these women. How could it not?

There are 50 women and 70 children enrolled in this portion of the Beginning of Life program. Each with their own stories.

As Canadians, we come as observers to what is happening. We're powerless to affect change in Chisinau, leaving that portion to the cable hands of the Beginning of Life workers. But we cannot merely put our hearts out for people like Olga and Inga. Our hearts break because God's does the same.

Our calling is to effect change. Working with the local church to see these areas transformed for Christ. Abbotsford changed by local churches that live out the social gospel while preaching Jesus. Influencing holistic change in every aspect of our communities lives.

There is so much to process from today alone. How can I be a better citizen of the Kingdom? How do I open my heart to the people around me at home that are struggling just like Olga? What is my role in supporting Beginning of Life in their vital work being the gospel in these communities?

God breaks our hearts so he can institute change. He crashes over us like a tsunami so he can rebuild us.

We serve a God of hope. For Inga, we will continue to lift her us and entrust her to our loving Father. Even in the darkest night, we are gifted with the promise of the sunrise.

After the visit, we went to see the Psychological Arts Center. This is where victims of human trafficking, and other vulnerable and broken Moldovan's come to explore healing through art.

Julia shared with us the history and methodology of Beginning of Life. How they are called to seek out the hurting and lost and enable the Spirit to bring healing in their lives.

Stories of women so broken that they won't accept hugs, allow photos or take any form of love, transformed after a few hours working the pottery clay. Discovering that no matter the mistakes, you can always smash it and start it over. It's never useless.

Altogether, today was a powerful day seeing a fraction of the brokenness of Moldova, mixed with the hope that the Spirit is unleashing through the passionate staff of Beginning of Life. I'll leave you with this prayer:

Lord, would you continue to break our hearts for the things that break Yours? Show us how Your Spirit is at work in Moldova and Canada so we can move with you. Reveal to us how you would have us involved both individually and corporately. Gift us the courage and tenacity to stand up to the demons that haunt our culture and fight on behalf of the defenseless. May our battle be your battle, our sword yours and use us to cut the chains of injustice and declare freedom for the captives.

Lord, use us.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moldova Day 2 - A Global Family

This week, I'm on a trip with HillCity Church to see the work of Beginning of Life, one of Partners International's ministry Partners.

If you are a follower of Christ, you are part of a huge family. One that is so much bigger, more diverse than you could possibly imagine. It's likely that the most effective arms of that family you've never heard of. They're head-down in the work of proclaiming the gospel and setting the captives free.

Today we joined with Light of the World church in Chisinau to worship. Three times we joined with them to see how God is working. If you believe that would be a ton of Church, you'd be so mistaken.

The morning service is what you've likely come to expect from a church service. A group of people gathering to worship God and discover what He has in store. The pastor spoke about what it meant to be a Light in this world, and how each of us is called to it from 2 Timothy.

Deceptively normal, for what is burning under the surface begins to boil through the thin surface layer. You have to be watching, but they are a people of deep passion, understanding the plight of their nation and willing to stand up for her soul. The people sitting in the chairs are warriors, gathering to renew their souls for the battles the week will bring.

Its refreshing. There's something we can each learn from a church that understands the trajectory of its nation... And it stepping out to redeem it.

It didn't end there. We had a quick pizza lunch and went back to the same room. The layout and heart of the place changed. Catchy beat lines welcomed us as we were plunged into organized chaos.

What only 30 minutes before held a traditional, yet passionate church service now was home to over 100 teenagers. Equal to the size of the whole church, it's a ministry that would shock most communities in Canada.

Within this room, over 70% of the youth come from at-risk homes. Only 19 of them are professing Christians, yet they call this community home. Coming week after week for friends, games, pieces of Moldova history, singing, testimonies and scripture.

They're rough around the edges, needy in ways that we can't even begin to hypothesize. Their homes are beyond broken, and their hearts and actions show it. Young woman desperate for attention from the young men, and the boys happy to give them the attention they seek.

It's exactly the kind of people Jesus loves. The people that the church needs most to drive her forward and keep her rooted in her mission. They are thirsty for everlasting water, and the church knows that.

There's a deep love for Petr in each of these youth that tells of a deeper river of relationship running through their lives. Seeds are growing and the harvest is coming.

After a quick jaunt to the Soviet memorial to world War 2, and the eternal flame that burns in remembrance, we were back at the church for one more service. This one for the young adults of the church.

Again, a totally different feel to the same heart that beat in the other services. The topic for the evening was relationships and three couples offered their perspective on what made a healthy marriage.

Three different perspectives from three different couples in different places in their own relationships. One newly married, one with a young child, and one seasoned couple. Each with wisdom for young adults who likely never had an example of marriage in their own lives.

These are our brothers and sisters, living out the Gospel in Chisinau (Kees-nau). They need your prayers and support. They should be an inspiration for what healthy church looks like, and a challenge to be the church in our neighborhoods.

All it takes is a heart that seeks the Gospel first, laying aside our wants and pride. Easily put to words, and incredibly challenging to live.

I hope we can rise to it.