Last Thursday evening, we were invited to join a few friends to go to the ballet. Chisinau is definitely European in all of the theaters and artsy culture that it has. However, the ballet sold out before we could get tickets, so we decided to meet up for dinner instead. It eventually turned into a group of 12 Americans going to an English (ie: British-style) restaurant downtown.
We were mostly complete strangers, the only connection being each other, Christ, and the work that we're doing on this side of the world. But, it's weird how you can be among American believers and feel like you've known them your whole life.
I took a picture of our group because there are 5 missions agencies represented here. I wanted to introduce the ministries that we were newly acquainted with.
At our gathering, we met Tanya Velardo, who works with Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) here in Moldova. She's been here for 6 years and speaks fluent Russian. CEF has an amazing ministry of doing correspondence Bible courses for kids, they have over 6,000 children who subscribe. They also work with orphanages, schools, and local villages to put on summer camps and also train local churches in how to do Sunday School and children's outreach. She's the only foreign worker with CEF, the rest are Moldovan. I was quite impressed with their ministry. I think some of the church planters reaching adults could learn a lot from how they do Bible correspondence courses. Tanya is from NY City, complete with accent.
We also met Kelly's new roomate, Shauna Caldwell, who is here for a 2-year commitment with Assemblies of God, home-schooling a missionary family's children. She's from Memphis (also complete with accent) and joined me in ordering "liver in cheese sauce" at the restaurant. (BTW-- it was delicious. Don't ever dare say I'm not Southern. The next day I went somewhere else for lunch and ordered a big crepe stuffed with liver and onions. Mmmmm...liver and onions).
Also pictured are several people from Word Made Flesh ministries in Romania, who just happened to be visiting Moldova. These folks serve in various capacities, mainly doing outreach to kids and running a community center in Bucharest. Several of them were on 4-month stays but were already decent enough in Romanian to order for themselves at the restaurant and get around Chisinau, thus I was impressed. One of them used to live in Moldova in the bad old days (pre 1998), has been living in Romania for several years, and married a Romanian. It always impresses me to find people who lay down permanent roots like that and seem genuinely happy.
Please check out the linked blogs and websites to learn about the awesome things God is doing in Eastern Europe. It's always great to hear about other ministries here in Moldova! Speaking of which, I hope to post an update very soon on the strides we're beginning to make on our website project.