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December 2005
Next month:
February 2006


Cold.  Corruption.  Inefficiency.
I don't know what is more frustrating, but I wanted to write a quick post to ask you to pray for our friends, Sasha and Natasha.  They have paid for heat in their apartment, in order to get the gas hooked up.

But the company keeps wanting more money.  So they have live in a one-room apartment with their three children, their mom, and another sister. 

Life in Moldova.  You have to hurt for those caught in the squeeze.


I've been doing some interesting reading lately and ran across the following quote:

When we change ourselves, we change how people see us and how they respond to us.  When we change ourselves, we change the world.  This is the legacy of people who operate in the fundamental state of leadership.  (Quinn, Building the Bridge As You Walk On It)

Elena As a missionary, I see so opportunities and needs.  I see things in the churches that need change, and I struggle with how to build a healthy, effective church.  But I realize that to truly make a lasting impact in Moldova, God has to change me.  I have to become the man of God and the leader that He desires.  I can do no change, unless I have first experienced change.

I guess that is my prayer this week.  That I will be able to change as a person, with values and standards that truly reflect who I am, deep down inside.  I don't want to be the missionary or person that others expect me to be, but rather the person God wants me to be.


One of the biggest challenges I've discovered in missions is the rotation of hats I'm forced to wear.  I feel like an obsessive multi-tasker, and my office portrays it.  As of now, I have two computers on my desk (my old one and my new one).  I haven't moved everything off of my old laptop, so it still serves a purpose. 

I have both of them open, connected, and I bounce back and forth between the two.  I am typing e-mails on one, organizing a project on the other, and doing administration with a pen and pad between the two.  And that last task is the reason for it all---administration.
The thing that causes the greatest grief to me is the administration; financial reports, mileage logs, accounts to manage.  I am amazed at how much time gets sucked into those tasks! 

So if you remember us today, pray for patience and that God would provide someone to help!  Your simple gifts of administration would be a tremendous blessing to the multiple church building projects, Convoy of Hope outreaches, missions teams, and multiple ministry opportunities.

As you can see from the picture, I am now training my youngest to do the same, but we still have some years to go.

The Frozen Tundra

I am thankful to the Lord that He did not call us to Moscow. It has been 30 to 40 degrees below zero.

We are cold, but a mere zero to 10 below is nothing in comparison to that temperature! The snow has been blowing, the temperature has remained bottomed out, and we are all wearing sweaters. Houses made of cement are always cold, even when they heat is cranked.

Last Friday, we drove up to Ungheni, enjoying snowpacked roads and a handful of icy corners. We went to visit with Gheorge, a young pastor in the city. His church is doing a good work, growing and maturing. They have a program every day for kids in need; a hot lunch, lessons, games, and time with someone who loves them.

January_20_2006_ecc_141_1As we were leaving, on this 4-year-old girl was standing outside, with her bare hands pulled up into her sleeves. We found a pair of kids gloves for her (which they then had to quickly show her mom). But my mind was thinking about those challenges.

For most people, winter is a time to snuggle into a warm house, put on warmer clothes, or even hit the ski slopes. But winter here is serious. In the villages, the only heat comes from wood or coal. Your only water comes from the well a block down the icy street. There isn't enough clothes or gloves or boots to keep you warm.

So in a little way, be extremely thankful for the blessings you have. And pray for the people of Moldova.


Moldovans have too much time on their hands:

BBC News reported in September that Sandra Luchian, 15, from Moldova, managed to hand-copy the 607-page "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," filling five notebooks, after borrowing it from a friend in the U.K. (since it was not available anywhere in Moldova and she couldn't afford to have it shipped to her). She said it took her about a month. [BBC Newsround, 9-23-05]

These are great team leaders!

I thought I'd post a great picture of our area directors, Omar and Pat Beiler. In missions, as in any organization or ministry, an empowering leader is absolutely vital for enjoying life overseas. We are thankful for their leadership and friendship. Dsc_0026_1
We area directors like these, who wouldn't want to go to our are of the world! (CIS/Baltics)

PS: This photo was taken at the World Missions Summit on December 30, 2005. We were all dressed in national costumes as he gave 3000 university students.

Tough Times

Yesterday I received tough news.

It has to do with church planting, church division, and outside pressures. It is an interesting situation, and it is in my prayers continually right now. A close friend and brother from the church is leaving our church to go start another. That in itself isn't bad, but it is the means and method of the church plant that bothers me.

He spent three years working in Korea and got tied into a church there. They sent him back as a missionary, and have helped him in some fashion. Now they tell him he can't work with our church but must go start his own. So he is doing that...right next to our church.

My heart hurts because church dissension/division is so anti-Christ. Anytime a church starts out pretenses of division, escape, or outside pressure, it starts with the wrong motivitation and foundation.

I know missions is supposed to be full of stories of miracles, successes, and joys. But there are tough times too. We aren't immune to the tragedies of the church.

We appreciate your prayers.

Jet Lag

The joy of jetlag.

Actually, we were all so tired from lack of sleep, that we all crashed at 10 pm last night. I woke up at 9:00 am to a phone ringing, but the rest are still sleeping.

It is cold, white...but it is home!

Now if those last two suitcases would just show up!

Wandering Home

It hasn't been the fastest three weeks and the slowest three weeks. I can't believe we are already heading home tomorrow morning. Before we came back to the states, it seemed like so much time. Now I see how short it really was.

Part of the problem was with all that NEEDED to be done. Our days were full calling, visiting, scheduling services, buying items to take back, and so much more. But we are ready to go home.

Everytime I return to the states, I realize how unsettled our life has permanently become. Moldova is the best because it is the place we can unpack our suitcases, relax in our own home, and work with purpose and minister to our calling.

America is fun to visit. But I'm ready to go home.