Be bold in sharing Christ and in prayer and expect God to use this!”—This was one of the challenges the students of OM Moldova’s ‘Challenge into Missions’ (CiM) training received as they spent their study weeks at the OM centre, getting a deeper understanding of God and of the gospel and learning how to share it with others.
The young believers also experienced this as they went out into villages in small teams throughout the country to practise what they had learnt. It was not always easy for them – being challenged to leave their comfort zone, trying new things, and boldly stepping out with the good news – but they found it deeply rewarding: Not only could they be messengers of joy and salvation for others, but they themselves received joy. They were strengthened in their faith as they saw God honour their trust and use their efforts.
A chance meeting on the road
One participant shared about their encounter with an elderly couple: Meeting them on the road, the team offered to help them carry some bags and as a consequence were invited into their home. After listening to the couple share about their life and hardships, they started to talk about God and eternal life.
“I sensed that I had to pray for them and invite them to receive Jesus, but I also felt I didn’t have the frankness and courage to do it,” the team member shared. “But God gave me victory in my inward struggle and they both received Jesus in their hearts. This experience greatly strengthened my faith and I understood much better how important it is to listen to God’s prompting and allow Him to use me.”
Visiting the sick
Catea*, another CiM student, approached an older woman who had brought her granddaughter to a children’s programme the team was running. As Catea tried to initiate a conversation, the woman said she had to return to her husband who was lying at home, sick with cancer. Catea asked if during their stay in the village, the team could visit this couple to pray for him. The woman agreed and a few days later the CiM team went on that visit, during which both husband and wife turned to faith in God.
“We saw tears in their eyes and a true desire to entrust themselves to God,” Catea shared. “After this we also prayed for healing for the husband. God has not changed; His power is still the same, so we believe He can do much more than we imagine.
A child of God
God’s readiness to answer prayer was also the crucial point of Nicu’s* testimony about this outreach. Nicu was involved in leading youth meetings in the evenings and one time a very drunk young man turned up. In that state he was not able to take anything in, but Nicu challenged him to come again the next evening. He told him to be sober then, because there was something very important he had to tell him.
The young man really came to the next youth meeting and listened as the team was singing and sharing testimonies. In the end they offered to pray about anything the young people had on their hearts and the young man asked for prayer for his mother who was in hospital. When they had prayed and Nicu spontaneously embraced him, the young man started to cry, pulled Nicu aside and told him: “I want to be like you!”
Nicu explained that the difference in his own life is Jesus, and that he needs to receive Jesus in his heart and confess his sins. Not yet sure about this, the young man went home, but he decided to also pray himself, asking God that his mother would be able to come home the next day. The following day his mother really was released from the hospital and when she arrived home, the young man immediately set off to find Nicu. With tears in his eyes he declared to Nicu that God really exists and that he wants to confess his sins and become a child of God.
Throughout the ten weeks of this CiM course, the participants shared the gospel with hundreds of children and adults and saw seeds sown as well as fruit being grown for God’s kingdom. But what may be even more important, these young Moldovan believers saw God use them, and as they return to their own villages and churches, they go with a strengthened faith and trust in a God who acts and with a readiness to be at his disposal, listening out for his voice and prompting. Their ten-week mission experience is over now, but hopefully for many of them their lives’ mission is just about to start.
OM Moldova first started in 1998 with a team which has now grown to about forty people from ten different nationalities. More than half of the team members are Moldovan nationals.
A Summary of the History of OM Moldova
1994 While delivering literature in Romania, Matthew Skirton (working with OM’s Greater Europe team in Austria) hears about and prays for the country of Moldova.
1995 Matthew and Helen make their first visit to Moldova.
1996 Second visit to Moldova and plans made for first evangelistic outreach. Matthew and Helen lead a team of Romanians and Ukrainians on an evangelistic outreach (Tamara and Viorel – both later to work with OM – become Christians through this outreach).
1997 First Love Moldova summer outreach takes place. After a number of other visits Matthew & Helen move into Moldova.
1998 First full time OM team established in Nisporeni
1999 The first Moldovans join the OM Moldova team.
2000 First Challenge into Mission training program. After seeing OM’s ministry grow, OM buys a building in the capital, Chişinău, which becomes OM’s Ministry Centre and a new home for the team members.
2001 A national board of church leaders is appointed to lead and hold accountable OM’s ministry in Moldova. First prayer bulletin is printed and sent out to all the evangelical churches
2003 With OM’s ministry expanding, OM Moldova buys the house next door, providing more team accommodation and larger training facilities.The board of OM is established and OM Moldova is registered as legal entity. OM Moldova becomes a separate field within OM. 150 Moldovan church leaders visit the OM ship Doulos in Odessa. OM becomes nationally recognized and the pioneering phase of OM’s work is ending. Local Ministry Team starts in Telenesti
2004 The number of full time workers reaches twenty. Separate departments are established in literature, training, relief & development, financial development, local ministry teams, sport and short term outreaches.
2005 The first micro-business training course takes place. The first Elderly Care Project starts in Paicu. The World Mission Centre is bought and starts to be renovated. The first playground is build. First day centre starts in Crasnaseni.
2006 First woman’s group is established. The first people receive an official loan to begin a small business. Renovation of Mission Centre continues.
2007 The dedication of the World Mission Training Centre, a new facility by which OM desire to offer more opportunities to train and equip believers from Moldova and internationally for world mission. Church based football teams begin to be established. The first “train the trainers” football conference takes place. Start of a local ministry team in Nisporeni.
2008 Start of a local ministry team in Rezina. The first DELTA programme begins.
Micro-business training courses continue and now over 100 people have started small businesses. First Christian Football camps. Love Moldova 2008 attracts 175 foreigners. Bus4Life visits Moldova for the first time. 185 children receive daily a hot meal through ten day centre projects. 70 elderly people are cared for and receive daily a hot meal through seven elderly care projects.
2009 144 elderly and poor families receive monthly food parcels. Through the business Training course around 200 people have now been trained and 133 families have now begun small businesses. Local Ministry Teams continue to reach out in Paicu and Rezina. Literature ministry continues to develop.
2010 We started the year with forty team members from ten different countries: Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Indonesian, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania and Moldova. Bus 4 life visited Moldova four times. In each time it traveled around in another part of Moldova and stayed one or two days in each village. The 20th Challenge into Missions course took place. A record of six OM weddings took place. Three new options for the summer outreach: Love Moldova; River Adventure, Cycling and hiking. The oldest Challenge into Mission participant “Sora Paulina” joined OM Moldova at the age of 61. In December all Moldovans who participated in the last ten years Challenge into Missions are invited to come to a big reunion. In the winter of 2010-2011 local churches and local ministry teams distributed monthly 630 food parcels to poor families and elderly. Many people who never went to an evangelical church heard the gospel because of these visits.
2011 The Love Moldova Outreaches continued to grow, with teams ministering through trekking, river and cycling outreaches; 190 people served in several locations. The Relief department also continued to grow with nine elderly projects and 13 children day centre projects and they helped 265 families with wood and 220 children with school supplies. The Next Generation department trained 30 Christian football coaches to use sport to reach into their communities. Three extreme camps took place reaching 175 young people. Development helped four churches to build playgrounds in their communities and many families were helped with practical needs. From 25 communities, 2200 people visited the Bus4Life and experienced the Gospel in action. The team continued to grow – ten new people joined and seven people moved on to another chapter of their lives.
2012 The Business for Transformation department helped 56 families to begin businesses this year, in total 198 people were helped to start Microbusiness. For the first time a group of foreign investors helped seven businesses develop. For the third year running, a group of ten farmers were helped to start a business. Local ministry teams continued to serve in the Rezina area and the Cahul region. Six people continued to serve in key positions behind the scenes in the Administration department. Challenge Into Missions prepared 35 youth to win people for the Lord.
2013 53 adults and 20 children made up the team from 13 nationalities continuing to serve in Moldova. A new local team formed with seven people starting activities in the centre of Moldova. One person from OM Moldova participated in an international project ‘Freedom Climb’ with the aim of raising support to prevent and combat human trafficking in the Republic of Moldova. The Literature Department developed two new connections where they can sell books at accessible prices, especially in the North of Moldova and in Transnistria. The Next Generation department started to develop the vision of a branch in Arts. In the summer we had 288 participants from 15 countries who were involved in 42 different places sharing the gospel.