Posted onMay 16, 2014
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Over the dates of April 17th-23rd, the Lord fulfilled a lifelong dream in the ministry of Save Our Sisters. We are incredibly thankful for all of the financial and prayer support as we made our journey to Cahul, Moldova. We never would have thought four years ago that God would take a simple dream of raising money to fight sex trafficking into actually standing on our land, breathing in the Moldovan air, and reading the Isaiah 61 on the very spot where our homes will be in a couple years. It was a miracle in and of itself for us able to go, especially during a time of political conflict. Our parents and mentors were initially concerned regarding us going with the tensions in Ukraine. At one point, we honestly thought that we were not going to be able to go even though our hearts longed to make the journey. But He was faithful to keep the door open. After several days of intentional prayer and counsel, we sensed God was still leading us to go. Only later after the trip did we find out that a cease-fire had been called in Ukraine and all rioting stopped. Even the non-believing nations would revere Jesus during that extremely special Easter weekend.
During our brief time in Moldova, the Lord taught us many specific lessons. The first day spent in Moldova happened to be Easter Sunday. Personally, none of us had ever been out of the country for Easter, much less in Moldova together as a team. The power of the Resurrection had never hit us quite as hard during that time. Moldova could easily be described by the rest of the world as a dead nation. In almost every area of socioeconomic issues, they are crumbling under the weight of crime, poverty, and instability. To walk around and see the downcast faces, seemingly void of purpose broke our hearts all over again for the hurting nation. But there is a glimmer of hope in the darkness- Emanuel Baptist Church. We were thrilled to celebrate Easter Sunday among our Moldovan brothers and sisters. To sing in Romanian, watch their faces light up with joy, and worship with abandon was truly incredible. Kristie and Elise from our team shared personal testimonies of God’s working in their lives, while “Uncle” Phil and Greg Burton preached messages of the hope of Jesus’ Resurrection.
They further affirmed that Jesus didn’t come to earth to make bad people good or good people better. Rather He came to bring the dead to life! As Ephesians 2 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
We felt full from our time with the congregation, eager to see what God would have in store would for the rest of our time in Moldova.
That evening, we were given the opportunity to share in a traditional Moldovan feast with Tanya’s family. Tanya came to America in March with a team from Moldova to share her testimony. She was saved at the camp three years ago and continues to be discipled under Emannuel Baptist Church. Her parents and two siblings however are not Christians and thus our dinner with them was a huge opportunity to bear witness as to why we celebrate Easter. We loved our time of fellowship with them, but God had bigger things in store as Phil was able to thank them for allowing Tanya to come to America and even greater openly share the gospel with them. We praise God that He opened that door for them to hear and they even came to the church-wide picnic the next day. Tanya’s father has since considered taking English classes at the church and we pray he will follow through with the classes.
Monday we participated in a picnic with the nearly 80 English as a Second Language students, many members of the church, and 15 World Racers who were visiting Moldova. The day was absolutely perfect, not a cloud in the sky as we enjoyed fellowshipping, praying over our piece of land, and rejoicing in God’s work. What hit us so hard during our time at the land is that God has been working in so many ways even before SOS was a thought. As Henry Blackaby says, “Find where God is working and join Him in that work.” We learned that we were simply joining Him in something He has done completely. We are simply vessels. Catalysts of His mercy. We are so thankful that He allowed us to experience that as a team and grow even closer as a result. Seeing the property firsthand for a couple of our team members only fueled our passion more and encouraged us to continue in the work God has called us to!
Tuesday proved to be another full days of His spirit moving. We were able to visit a preschool in the village of Ana*, a previously trafficked woman who also came to the states to share testimony in March. We rejoiced in meeting her precious children and visiting her home. To see how God has brought “beauty from Ashes” (Isaiah 61) in her life was a huge testament to his faithfulness and grace. She lovingly welcomed us into her home as we watched her daughters dance with joy and prayed for girls still stuck in trafficking. Our hearts were burdened with the need for Christian counselors to help women like Ana to work through her continued struggles even though the trafficking occurred seven years ago. Only through the hope and power of Jesus has she been restored.
God also allowed us to meet the town mayor of that village and visit a home for very young single mothers. Throughout that day, the Lord continued to impress upon us the need for Jesus in Moldova. He has called us to continue in this pursuit of justice and shalom for his precious children in Moldova. Tim Keller sums this point up perfectly in his book ‘Generous Justice’.
“In general, to do justice means to live in a way that generates a strong community where human beings can flourish. Specifically, however, to do justice means to go to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric, and to repair it…
How do we do that? The only way to reweave and strengthen the fabric is
reweaving yourself into it…
Reweaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others.”
We are so thankful for your love and support in this pursuit of justice. We pray you would continue to pray for the people of Moldova, actively seek justice in your life, and love as God has called us. As Nadia, Pastor Anatol’s wife repeated to us in Moldova, “We know that we cannot do everything, but we can do something.”
For the past two weeks, God has been doing a mighty work in the life and ministry of SOS. Four of our partners on the ground from Moldova have been here to share stories of hope, joy, and freedom. We are thankful for the time that we have had to speak about our passion and how God is furthering His kingdom through Moldova Mission. Some of these opportunities included luncheons, our home church’s Global Impact Conference, and a screening of the documentary Nefarious.
We were especially excited to spend time with Ana*, a woman previously trafficked from Moldova to Russia. She shared her testimony for the first time here after her dramatic rescue from trafficking seven years ago. Her story reflects that of 400,000 women that have been trafficked from this country is the last few decades. We were blown away to see her gain strength in sharing her story and by yesterday’s luncheon, she was sharing with complete confidence and grace. If you are interested in hearing the details of her story, please follow this link:http://www.c2athisweek.org/CMS/podcast/georgetaavictimofhumantrafficking
We were also blessed to travel to Moorhead city to speak with Parkview Baptist Church. They graciously dedicated their entire Sunday morning service to Moldova Mission. Two of our Moldovan team members shared their testimonies and SOS shared briefly of how God has interwoven these two ministries for His divine purpose. The congregation welcomed us graciously and we pray that they will continue in the fight against slavery.
Yesterday, we spoke at a luncheon courtesy of Stu Epperson. It astounds us how God works everything together, truly bringing his investment in our ministry full circle. Four years ago, when we began the ministry of SOS, Mr. Stu was the first person to allow us to share our hearts via his radio talk show. Our ages ranged from fourteen, thirteen, and twelve at the time, thus his investment was taking quite some faith in teenage girls. But he allowed us to share our hearts, despite our inexperience or young age. For us yesterday to share our hearts again was immensely encouraging. This time we had our four friends from Moldova, the Moldova Mission Leadership Board, and a full presentation of our project. Purely by the grace of God has he allowed us to continue in this work against trafficking.
God has shown us that He is always working, even when we cannot see the connections that He is forming. Like He says in Isaiah 61, “They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His Splendor…” Notice the LORD didn’t say flowers or grass, but rather strong, enduring oaks. Trees take a long to mature and flourish. They are growing even when you can’t see the progress because the roots must take hold. In the same way, God has established these “roots” in Moldova for us to join at such a time as this. Throughout this journey, we have learned that God is always good and that He is always, always, always ever faithful.
*Name changed for security purposes.
Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your ORDER! We would love your support!
In addition to all God has been doing through our last event, we are so excited to announce that Save Our Sisters will be taking a team trip to Cahul, Moldova this spring! This will be the first time for three of our team members to travel to Moldova and we are thrilled to visit the land of the future SOS home. This is such a sweet opportunity, a day we’ve been dreaming of since the beginning of this project is finally giving way to becoming reality! We would like to give YOU the opportunity to join our experience and impact in Moldova by helping to SEND OUR TEAM in April through prayers and financial support. During our time in Moldova, we will be ministering to our partner church in Cahul, collecting video footage and photos of the camp land, and speaking in local schools about Save Our Sisters. Two of our moms have graciously offered to travel with us as we all embrace this endeavor. The dates of the trip will be April 17th -23rd. We ask that you would pray for us and with us as we fundraise and even consider donating towards our trip. Each donation is tax-deductible and a part of bringing freedom to the captives. If you are interested in donating towards our trip, please send us an email at email@example.com. God is so good and we can’t wait to join Him in His work in Moldova!
We are so thankful to all those who participated in our last event Autumn Abolition. Close to 200 people attended the event, enjoying a wonderful night of fellowship and fundraising on behalf of the SOS home! Many donated cakes towards the bake sale, pots of chili for dinner, and a wonderful selection of items for the silent auction. We praise God for His provision through $3,600.00 raised through Autumn Abolition! He continues to confirm His will and purpose for Save Our Sisters and events like these encourage us greatly. Please enjoy a few picture highlights from the event:
As the leaves change and Fall rolls in, refreshing change floats through the air. The time for all things pumpkin, tea, and cozy has arrived as summer officially draws to close. This change brings hope, excitement for the next season, and joy for what is to come.
In the same way, there has been much change for the land of the SOS Safe Home and the ministry of Save Our Sisters. Working alongside Dr. Alvin Reid from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, we have been working diligently to finish an eBook—a simple re-telling of our story and of His Faithfulness. Through months of churning out sentences, critiquing every detail, and seeking His guidance, we are excited to announce that we will be publishing “Save Our Sisters” within the next couple of months! We are hopeful for God’s purpose and plan to use our story to magnify Him through every story of grace.
Along with the eBook coming out soon, we are thrilled to host another fundraiser next month. SOS is hosting a Chili Fellowship & Art Auction on November 16th to raise funds for the water line put in THIS WEEK(!) in Moldova for the safe home. Dreams are becoming reality bit by bit, His grace abounding to teach us through each step of this journey. The Moldovans are working diligently to run the water to the land and electricity will be the next step, would you join us in praying for provision for those funds as well?
We anticipate the Fellowship to be a rich time together—full of advocacy, hot chocolate, singing around the bonfire, auctioning off Freedom focused items, praying for the captives, and raising funds for the water! Our goal is to raise $4,500.00 at this event. For more specifics on this event, please see the flyer on the event page.
While you may not be able to be physically present at the Chili Fellowship, we encourage you to get involved in YOUR community. Maybe you would like to host a prayer gathering, car wash event, or chili cookoff at your home. Maybe you are creatively gifted and would like to donate a piece to auction off at the event? Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your information and we would absolutely love to partner with you!
Finally, be in prayer for this December as four members from our partner church in Moldova will be coming to give testimony and share about the project. They will be in the US for approximately 10 days, speaking and sharing testimony of God’s goodness. He is surely doing a new thing in Moldova. We trust that the Lord will iron out every detail of travel as they venture here. We praise God for the abolition that is rising up out of both America and Moldova. We believe he time for reviving change is today.
“It is not those who merely acknowledge the darkness that bring change, but rather those who march directly into the darkness with their lives to bring life.” ~Jefferson Bethke
Water Line Progress on the Land: