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.

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