While on Mission in Moldova, Emily brings us a diary account of what the team got up to in the village of Palanca.
Saturday 16th February – Lift Off!
After a smooth flight and safe travel – the Moveolution team have successfully arrived in Chinsinau, Moldova!
On arrival, we were greeted with a warm welcome, and a delicious meal to share. Now settled and ready for some well needed rest, we are thankful for your prayers and support for the team.
Tomorrow we will travel to a nearby village.
Sunday 17th February – OM Mission Centre
We started the morning well, with a filling breakfast at the OM centre – our mission partners in Moldova.
Followed by an inspiring discussion about the week ahead by the OM team; sharing their vision for reaching the lost and sharing the gospel with vibrancy!
Shortly after, we were given a taster experience of what visiting a Moldovan family is like.
Combined with the discussion before, and the real life example, we were able to get a practical understanding under our belts – as home visits will be happening in the village tomorrow.
Quiet time was fantastic as we explored several scriptures and fed back to the team in what God was saying through His word.
We were then kindly given transport (a really funky minibus!) to the Village in which the team will be staying for the week. The minibus stopped outside the church so we went in!
Everyone was welcoming and we introduced ourselves and sang for them. Later that evening, we ate together and got to know the pastor – at a day centre (where the boys will sleep). The girls have a host family they are staying with, 15 minutes from the Day Centre.
Since asking the team their highlights so far, it has been the Moldovan food, hospitality and quiet time where we shared about what God was speaking to us about.
Again, thankyou for your prayers and support. God’s already moving in our hearts.
Monday 18th February
The team gathered together for an early breakfast, quiet time and talk. The focus of the teaching was to trust in God and give thanks in all circumstances. The team felt encouraged to praise God for what He has already done and promised – before the situation! Faith in action!
After that, the team split into 3 groups (along with 3 fantastic translators) where each one would visit a family in the village of Palanca, Moldova. Each house was different, however, we all agreed that Moldovans are extremely hospitable. We were all deeply touched by their need and love for God.
One team in particular were able to guide a family in how to practically follow Jesus, through ways they could understand.
Fuelled by a traditional Moldovan lunch, the team headed to the village church to run the children’s programme, prepared by Fabian, Emily and Sean.
We were delightfully greeted by 40 eager-to-engage children/teenagers from the village. The next two hours were bursting with excitement and energy! The team particularly enjoyed the simple joy of the children singing us songs, playing games and showing God’s love to them. Despite the language barriers at times, the team and children had a blast!
As we thanked God this morning for what He had already done, our trust in God grew and each step unfolded with God’s provision.
On reflection, the team were specifically impacted by the difficult circumstances the families faced in the house visits. Alongside their openness to accepting the hope of Jesus we shared through testimony, scripture and prayer.
Tuesday 19th February
The team came together for another delicious breakfast and joyful conversation. Tom lead the hour quiet time -which we have every morning.
At first, it may have seemed a lot, but has been a divine treasure for truth and talking point amongst the team. It starts the day with God first and our priority, which is a model of life back home. We learnt about God giving us a choice to seek him and that means taking a step of action to walk with God, talking to Him.
Similar to yesterday, the team visited different homes in Palanca, and shared hope and encouragement to families, alongside food parcels. Most importantly we listened, and loved. This is what Jesus would do.
After a very filling lunch (Moldovans are very hospitable!) we began the second children’s program, prepared by Jess, Vicky and Isabel. 65 children came with expectation, and the team have agreed that al in all, it was a great success.
The activities stretched from singing songs, to acting out Daniel and the lions den -to creating their very own lion masks. God showed up as we noticed the children were more open, willing and engaged with the team and each other/
I think the team particularly enjoyed the moment where there was Caleb (a member of our team), comfortably sitting, playing the guitar… in a lion costume.
For dinner we ate a traditional Moldovan dish. It tasted amazing – but catches you out with how full you get! We then had a team debrief where we shared thoughts, and reflections from the whole day.
We sang worship songs, and encouraged one another on where we saw God move in today. It was great to see how the team really worked well together, particularly in the children’s program. Having God as our focus is the best way to be. We know the children are so loved by God and we continue to pray for them.
Wednesday 20th February
This morning, after breakfast, God spoke to the team during quiet time in unique ways.
We had the opportunity to discuss how the scriptures stood out and how we could apply that treasure in today. From this, we were able to intentionally pray for one another in groups, since we had shared openly about what God was saying to us. This is definitely the best way to start the day, and the team are learning to continue this value of spending time in God’s word – for after Moldova!
This time, the tam’s transport to the house visits was not the typical way… horse and cart! A common mode of transport in Moldova. We managed to squash 10 people in the small cart, meaning some were more off than on! What an experience!
As mentioned before, we were again overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of the Moldovans as we visited the families in the village.
As we shared how God shaped our story, one family in particular became more interested in how the bible was relevant for them, in their needs and circumstances. Refreshing and real, the experiences have been a mixture of challenge, and inspiration.
After lunch, was the children’s programme prepared by Carina, Ben and Caleb. It involved many interactive games, convincing acting from audience participants, and joy from energetic games.
The children learnt through am interactive visual that God is enough for them, and more important than earthly things i.e. money.
All in all, the team were amazing at working together to show love to the children, and give them our time. God showed up here.
Break time involved a group of 4, going into the local school in the village of Palanca, to invite the young people to come Thursday evening for a youth program.
Whilst the rest of the team worked on their talks, testimonies and programs these would later teach. The team then headed down to the church again, for a service completely run by us!
It was incredible to see how everyone brought a unique perspective of God, through song, testimony, talk and encouragement.
The Moldovans were inspired by the thoughts and experiences of the team and were incredibly thankful that we wanted to spend our evening sharing the gospel with them.
We learnt as a team, that we do our best, and then need to leave the rest up to God. He is bigger than us, and it’s not our job to move people’s hearts. It’s out choice to love and share our story. To end a wonderful evening, we arrived home to a hot meal, which then led to a final debrief of what seemed a full day.
From fun transport, to courageous moments of sharing testimony in front of a whole church – the team thank God for walking with us today and the week.
Thursday 21st February
Our last day in Palanca, Moldova. We thank God because it has been the most incredible experience, living in the wonderful village of Palanca.
We ate breakfast together and spent an intentional hour with God, reading scriptures based on forgiveness. The team would agree that this quiet time is a particular highlight of the mission trip.
It’s not often we get a whole hour to intentionally spend time in Gods presence and word- so we really treasured this, and will continue valuing time with God in the everyday at home.
Our smaller teams again spread out in the village for home visits, and were touched by inspiring stories and hard backgrounds from families.
One mother was able to clearly understand how God loved her, with regards to her son. He was 4 months old, and as you can imagine, she “would die for him”. He showed up because this love was only a fraction of the unconditional love that our Father has for his children (us).
When we explained this is similar to the love she had with her newborn son, she saw God in a personal way. It’s moments like these when our team is so encouraged that our God is good and on the move.
This is only one example of where God moved in one of the team’s visits. Our final children’s program of the week involved everyone in the team. We saw how God’s given us each different gifts to build his kingdom, and serve the children according to their needs.
One team member highlighted that since we have been known for the week, now the children were even more open and touched by our deep love for them.
It was touching to have the opportunity to individually pray at the end, for each child who came to the children’s program (roughly 50), and we beleive God is truly working in them.
We believe God has so much love for every one of his children and so this so beautifully reflected His healing heart. We stayed on to prepare a Youth program for this one evening. On reflection, the team were pleased about having specific time with the youth.
This is because, as you can imagine, during the day children’s program, they couldn’t quite relate with the content. However, our team made space to prepare and deliver a while evening for them.
Many of the village teenagers of Palanca came, it was wonderful.
From the beginning, to the end, each teenager was incredibly engaged and accepting, with what we shared. There’s something incredibly powerful about teenagers reaching teenagers. We reflected a generation that was listening to God, and how that impacted our lives was evident in our testimonies and sermons. Not only this, but the Moldovans interacted too.
Despite the language barrier at times, the team enjoyed playing games, singing, and talking with the young people. We spoke truth into their lives, hope into their present.
It was an unforgettable moment to be able to partner with God. The team were so encouraged by how the teenagers listened, and we are so thankful for them. We have watered the seed and the rest is up to God.
When we arrived to the day centre for dinner we were so thankful to be served PIZZA! After a delicious meal, we gave our gifts to the sisters and pastor who cooked and served us during our time in Palanca. Tom shared with us during our evening debrief that leadership is exercising Gods gifts in you and engaging in that.
This is the closest description of what we’ve seen the team develop in. It’s drawing upon the strengths and talents Gods given each of us- and using that in a team for His glory. To make Him famous.
Each day we grew more and more closer with understanding each other. We all brought a different flavor to the team dynamics, and God is lifted up higher because of it. (see 1 Peter 4:10)
22nd and 23rd February
Friday morning the team left the village Palanca. We set off for a 2 hour journey to the capital of Moldova, Chisinau. Since it was our last full day, we ended the week with a spot of tourism!
An hour into our travel to Chisinau, it snowed, and by the time w arrived, everything was covered in white. The team were so excited to step out into the cold snow!
We walked to a souvenir shop, and filled up on a delicious McDonalds! Public transport in the city was an experience. Such as seeing how many people can fit into one small mini bus.
Then, we visited the city’s Orthodox Church. What stood out was how beautiful and detailed the paintings were, all around the walls and ceilings. Each one displaying a significant bible story that anyone could see, no matter what language you spoke. This is how the Bible can be accessible to all.
Next, we travelled to the OM mission centre, the buidling we first stayed at on day 1. Here, we took time to debrief and reflect on the week gone by. The team had quiet time reading scripture, and listening to what God wanted to say to us.
The talk that evening was based around forgiveness, and the power of choice. Tom encouraged us that before we make a decision, consider God. Followed by many captivating stories, the team soaked up all that was shared and related to different areas in the talk.
The team really benefited from this time of reflection, because during the busy week in Palanca, it;s often difficult to stop and think, what does this mean for me? How do I feel about that? etc…. The team encouraged one another for the remainder of the evening, and shortly headed to bed.
The next day, we had one last talk/debrief from the OM team that were a huge part of our mission here in Moldova. They arranged parts of the trip such as the village we stayed at, and the small details in the expeirence.
Altogether we were able to gather our thoughts and reflections in a discussion, which really helped process the whole experience for the team.
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