Friday, 25 July 2008

Moldova 2008

Last night, after nearly 40 hours after leaving Chisinau, the capital city, I arrived home after three weeks in Moldova.

My colleague and co-leader, Cathy, always speaks of how Moldova makes you appreciate your weakness. It's true. There's no place to run and hide from your weaknesses in Moldova. It's a culture where everything is very different from our own, where poverty is very obvious, and where even the simplest tasks can may you feel uncomfortable. All this means that you have no choice except to pray like mad and trust God. Maybe it's this 'enforced humility' that has led God to bless this trip year after year.

Once again, I was amazed by how God had prepared so many people before the trip even began. I was impressed by the teachable spirit in which so many of our own team arrived for our week of orientation in Chisinau. And upon arriving at the camp, it was noticeable how many non-believers had already been prepared too. Moldovan people are very spiritually aware (despite increasing pressures of materialism), and there were good gospel-based conversations even from the first day of the camp.

It was also very noticeable again at how Orthodox culture has deeply affected the outlook of so many Moldovans. I'll write in future posts about some amazing individuals I met who are involved in the Orthodox church. Yet nominal Orthodoxy has left many Moldovans confused about the nature of faith, the nature of repentance and what it means to be a Christian. And whilst many people know the formula that 'Jesus is the Son of God', many are genuinely surprised that Christians believe that Jesus is God in human form.

Perhaps the thing that impacted me most from this particular trip to Moldova was the faith and perseverance of persecuted Christians. I was really moved by the accounts of some Christians who are holding firm to Jesus and his gospel despite intense institutional pressure to recant. It was amazing to see those who are carrying their crosses and following Jesus, even despite losing much.


gazleaney said...

Quality. Glad you're back safe and sound. I love the picture on your post - Andy Worsop definitely looks like he's considering it pure joy...

peterdray said...

Ha ha! Yes I'd not noticed that before!