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.”