Year three student Annabel Stott brought four young people from St. Francis Church in Doncaster to Moldova with us last week. Here are her reflections on how the trip will transform those who participated:
“…The five of us from Doncaster were part of a much larger group totalling 19 from England; Scotland, Portugal and America…
As this was the first time that we have taken a group from this church away on a mission trip, it felt important to take a group of young leaders who could be influential in our own mission and ministry back home in Doncaster; with the hope that the trip would inspire them to come back and be role models for the younger youth in our church and community. Who knows, hopefully next year we will take even more out to Moldova! For all of them this was their first mission trip, for a few it was the first time away from home and for a couple the first time out of the country, so don’t feel like you have to be well travelled to join one of these trips! The experience has completely changed their lives and they have all come home more inspired and much bolder.
At the start of the trip we flew out to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova to meet with the OM (Operation Mobilisation) team and to prepare for the culture that we were to submerse ourselves in for the next week. The following day we headed out to Bravicea, a village 2 hours away from the capital to join a church which was to be our base for the week of ministry; there were mixed emotions and nerves at this point from the team but we already felt like we had known each other for more than the three days we had been together, with so much morale and positivity going around!
From this base we went out to deliver food parcels and do home visits to vulnerable members of the community in the villages of Bravicea, Schinoasa and Hoginesti. The home visits were a very challenging part of the trip for many of the group as they opened our eyes to the extremely poor conditions that most of the people in these villages were living in.
In the winter in Moldova, people often use only one or two rooms in their houses in order to stay warm and keep the house heated during the freezing months. This presented a challenge when we tried to fit a good 15 people into one bedroom (and some funny pictures too!), but these spaces were also where we had the opportunity to spread hope, hear people’s stories, speak words of truth over people from the Bible, pray for healing and salvations. During the week the team saw 10 healings and 12 salvations…how amazing is that! This was such an encouragement to us as looked at our own communities and ministries back in the UK.
As well as home visits we also participated in church services, youth services and kids clubs where we shared testimonies and a word, did games and activities and prayed for the churches and their members. This was such a fun way to get involved with the communities as we could see how God was working and pulling people together for his common good.
We were blessed with amazing accommodation and food for the whole trip; the OM centre and the church in Bravicea were incredible examples of how to be hospitable. One of the main things we saw from this trip was how generous the people of Moldova are as they continuously wanted to serve us and extend generosity and hospitality to us. For example, a lady in her 80’s who was so filled with joy ensured that all 11 of us were seated in her bedroom before she sat on a tiny stool with us! As well as this, an inspiring group of ladies from the village cooked for us all three times a day everyday to ensure we were prepared to go out and do ministry; they not only served us but loved on us too. One girl on the trip turned 15 mid-week and as the UK leaders frantically rushed out to a local shop to find a cake, they returned to plates of ice cream, baskets of chocolates and biscuits, fizzy pop and TWO gigantic homemade cakes! A definitive picture of love and generosity from such humble women.
One of the biggest encouragements from this trip was seeing young people from three groups across the UK (plus a couple ‘nomads’ and an American!) come together under one name; Reign Ministries UK, without really knowing each other but with one heart and purpose; to love the people of Moldova, to love God and connect the two together. As a leader on this trip, I found it inspiring watching these young people join with one vision and an endless stream of passion to join in God’s mission for a week in a country that most of them had never been to. They served, the stepped out, they showed great faith and most of all they never stopped loving. They never stopped loving Moldova, they never stopped loving each other and they never stopped loving God. Their love just grewI have tried to summarise this trip in several ways, yet the only way I seem to find most fitting is with this statement that we focused on in our devotions during the week; it became the heart beat for our ministry and will stick with us as we continue to serve God back home.
‘I am deeply loved by God, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, powerfully equipped, totally accepted and complete in Christ.’
As this sunk into our hearts it spread out into our ministry and my prayer is that it continues to do that here in the UK.
If you, or a young person you know feels they want to step out in seeing God work across Europe, to be inspired and to become part of a team family, then definitely consider a trip to Moldova with Reign Ministries UK! Our Doncaster team hope to return next year, if not sooner! Get in touch with Reign Ministries UK or myself if you want to know more.”