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?

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