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.

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