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.

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