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February 2006
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April 2006

Assumptions

Disappointing.

That is the best way to describe yesterday, when our guests were stranded in Frankfurt.  Their flight had been delayed two hours out of Lithuania, and that was that!  They missed the connection into Chisinau.  It was just a short trip, but we were looking forward to seeing friends, making new friends, and showing off our country.

All because of a late flight.

But it challenged me to once again to lift up the upcoming teams in prayer, that flights and connections will all work smoothly.  Air travel is not what it used to be.  Planes are packed, flights are fewer, and airlines are less flexible.  We need to remember to cover that travel time in prayer.

We would appreciate your prayers.  We have a full April, and we want these teams to actually make it!

  • Great Falls--April 3-15
  • Ireland--April 18-24
  • Florida--April 21-27
  • Indiana--May 15-24
  • Plus other guests for teaching and projects
    • April 14-20
    • May 2-4
  • AND...another missionary to Moldova--Terri Griswold--mid-April

Pray for those flights, connections, and that ALL the baggage will arrive!


Adventures in Eating

Missions is an adventure in eating.

I have eaten all kinds of things, from chicken heads in my soup, to goat cheese; congealed chicken fat to strange smoked fish.  These things are never normal, some are surprisingly delicious, while others are downright gross.
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But I try to eat them all...with a smile on my face.  And I avoid some of the others, like the plague. The key is to eat those things that look good, keep your plate full, and enjoy it all. 

I can't stand when visitors come and act picky, refusing to eat what is put before them.  If you come visit, come ready to eat, smile, and be a proper guest!  It might not be your cup of tea, you might prefer only vegetables, but just be a good sport....and eat.  Eating is a part of ministry, and you can do the same.

If God promised to protect us from any poisen, He can protect your stomach from bread, soup, and potato salad. 


Spring!

Spring has finally arrived!  I hope.....

March_19_2006_girls_and_nina_006I have announced the arrival of spring four times already, only to see snow fall the next day.  But I think this one is really the real one!  The snow is nearly melted.  The streets have simply a nice dry coat of dirt, rather than a river of mud.  And the temperature is warm enough to turn the heat off!

Our girls have nearly cried after the last three snowstorms, asking repeatedly whether spring will EVER come.  Now, they are living outside, doing all the pent-up activities they have been dying to do.

Rejoice with us. 

(And pray we see apricots and raspberries before we head to the States for itineration!)


Driving a Donkey

Yesterday I was in the south part of Moldova, in the village of Baurci.  That town in located in the Gagauz region of Moldova, and the church and language is distinctively Gagauz.  That language is similar to Turkish, and totally unlike either Russian or Romanian.  It is another sub-culture to Moldova, with many other distinctive features.March_18_2006_superbowl_and_gagauz_106

I taught a lesson on relational evangelism, ate lots of soup and bread, and then my interpreter and I left to return to Chisinau.  That is when I came across this scene in the middle of the road.

This boy was trying to get his donkey to move.  Yet there they sat, parked in the middle of the road.  That little donkey was doing his best to live up to his specie's reputation! 

The boy yelled, cracked the reins, and.....got nowhere.  That donkey wanted his rest, and no amount of discussion was going to change it.  When it was time to move, he would move.

What a picture of the way we often live.  We want to get moving, and we yell at our circumstances, beat our heads against the wall, and......get nowhere.  Often God will give us a vision and a dream, and we see that vision up ahead.  But when we try to drive there ourselves, we get stalled, forcing our lives to move.  We try to push forward on our own, ignoring the timing of God.

Moving with God's timing is always the best, rather than trying to move ourselves. 

Relax.  God's in control.  We need to work, press forward, and remember-------when the time is right to move, God will continue to open the doors, move our cart, and bring us home.


Of Messy Desks

I'm staring once again at a cluttered desk. I know...I know...cluttered desk, cluttered mind.

In my situation it is more like, cluttered desk, too many projects all at once.

I want this desk to be clean! I want everything to be in a proper place, well-organized, color-coded, filed. Of course, I can't buy a file cabinet in Moldova. I had to bring a pack of file folders from the US because you can't buy them here.

And I'm living with two or three jobs right now...as a missionary with ministry in Moldova; as a team organizer, with 5 teams in the next two months; as an event scheduler, calling and preparing for life in the States; as an accountant, with far-too-many reports to be filed with our beloved organization; and as a webmaster, with 3 different websites to update and manage.

I'm living with my clutter for now. And shooting to clear it off by the time I hit forty!


Hitchhikers

Yesterday morning, I left the house early in order to drive north to the village of Corjutsi. It was only about a 3 hour drive, but the roads were icy and snowy. Combine ice with a dearth of snowplows, terrible roads, and you get a less-than-enjoyable situation!
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But it was nice to have three hours to just think, pray, listen to sermons and Russian worship, and to meditate on my message. I was going to speak at an evangelism seminar, and was to share on the process of moving people along the path toward God, preparing the ground to receive the seed.

As I drove, I passed scores of people standing next to the road, hitching rides to the next town. In Moldova, every vehicle is public transportation, and people always hitch rides (and pay for them). I rarely stop, due to the language barrier and because I'm still too American! It is hard to overcome the mentality of hitchhikers being dangerous. Yet I was praying that God would lead me if ever I needed to stop.

But five minutes later, I drove up to intersection and saw a woman holding a child. It was cold, snowy, and windy, and I felt like I needed to stop. So I did! My first hitchhiker in Moldova, and it was a chance to talk with this woman and her small daughter. I found out she was from a village that I had been too. I learned she had been married for 3 years and that she had heard of the church in that village. I shared with her about our purpose of living in Moldova and our dream to see life change. And I invited her to church.

So if you read this blog, would you take some moments and pray for Alla and her daughter, Sorina. Pray that my 30 minute conversation will have moving her further along the path to God. And pray that my next time preaching in that village, I will see her and her family, sitting there in the front row!


Torn

I'm feeling very torn lately. Maybe it has something to do with the upcoming move back to the states. Maybe it is the schedule and pace I'm keeping. Perhaps it is because I've let expectations push me too much.

I am not sure I understand myself.

It just seems as if I have a full-time job preparing for life in America; scheduling services, finding housing, closing up ministry here. And I have a full-time job here in Moldova, with so many open doors, opportunities to preach and ministry, teach and train. I have things I am passionate about, people that I desperately want to mentor and touch. And I have requests from the national brothers for areas that they would like my input.

I think I am struggling with the multi-faceted demands on my time and my energies.

Pray that I will have wisdom and grace to manage these last 3 1/2 months in Moldova before we head back to the US for our one year.

I will need them all.


Snow

Snow.  Beautiful Snow.

We awoke this morning to another foot of snow.  Moldova is once again draped into a marshmallow layer of moisture, with its trees and houses looking like Christmas scenes and gingerbread houses.  The snow does make everything look so clean and beautiful, but I cannot help but think about what this means for most of Moldova.

In the village, more snow means more difficulty, and most likely, some more deaths.  When there is no wood or coal left to heat an already cold house, snow can be viewed as a blessing but as a curse.
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Poverty looks so different in a northern climate, but it is still poverty.  In India, you can see people sleeping on the streets, on a small mat or piece of cardboard.  In Mexico, people will construct plywood shacks and keep a roof over their heads.

But in Moldova, we have winter.  Below zero temperatures create a situation that changes the face of poverty.  In Moldova, people freeze to death in their homes, because they have inadequate heat or because they are trying to heat their apartments with a gas stove.    In Moldova, poverty is reflected in the child wearing summer shoes in a foot of snow.  In our country, people can't afford to buy juice or fruit for the six months of winter, and instead live on bread, potatoes, and canned peppers.

So pray for Moldova.  These snowfalls look so peaceful and quiet, yet without the resources, they are deadly.  Pray for our people, our neighbors, and our friends.