Monday, January 23, 2006


Zapada is the Romanian word for snow. Along with sub-zero temperatures, we have snow on the ground. It feels more and more like home...
On my way home from church this morning, it was nice to watch the children playing, riding their sleds down the hills. They still have sleds here. Do you remember these?

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Oh good! Looks like I can post photos again... and here is a photo of "my" corner, the one nearest my house. You can see the trolleys and the mini-buses (rutieras). I take the #17 trolley to the OM Centre in the mornings. It is about a 20-minute ride and then I switch to the number 178 rutiera to get all the way to the Centre. I have decided to opt for the trolley bus whenever I am able. Most of them are pretty ancient but there's more chance of getting a seat, they're cheaper, and the stops are pre-determined so there's no stress about whether you won't be able to get the vehicle to stop where you want it to. It stops at every pre-designated station. Less stress - more relaxed me.
So, winter has truly arrived with -18 temperatures and the like. Glad I have warm clothes, hats, scarf, boots, gloves, etc.! In spite of the cold, I enjoyed walking back and forth to church this morning. Yes, I have found a home church right in my neighbourhood. It is a 20-minute walk and this morning in the snow, it was quite lovely. Some of you have been asking about my job description. Now that my first three months of language learning and cultural orientation is over, what is it I am supposed to be doing. Or as my mother asked, "When do you start being a real missionary?" In spite of the fact that I am in the northern hemisphere, I think the image of jungles, huts and pith helmets still prevails in some people's minds. In fact, I would like to think that I have been a "real missionary" ever since I got here. If a missionary is one who brings the good news about the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ, I hope that I have been doing that even before I got here. It's just that now I have to learn how to do that in another language and culture.
Learning the language continues to be a major responsibility as eventually the majority of my time will be spent in teaching and training. In which case, knowing the language is slightly helpful. :-) For now, though,there are quite a few things where knowing the English language is a big asset, and that is where my responsibilities lie initially. I will be working for about 60% of my time in the Public Relations department where I am in charge of all forms of communicating to the English-speaking world about our work here in Moldova. That means I put together our newsletter 'Moldova News' (let me know if your church would like to receive some copies - and how many!), a 4-page glossy newsletter with stories and reports about OM Moldova. I also am gathering all the necessary information for our website to pass on to the web designer. I send out a prayer update every week, with prayer requests from team members, and I keep a finger on the communications with foreigners coming from other countries for our Global Challenge or Global Action programs, although Claudia is the one directly responsible for those communications.
We also publish a prayer bulletin monthly that is sent out to about 700 churches in Moldova with prayer items from all over the world printed in Romanian on one side and Russian on the other. I am responsible for choosing the items for prayer, which I glean from many English news bulletin sources, which are then translated into Romanian and Russian. Ana, a Moldovan team member, pulls it all together, chooses photos, sends it to the printer and mails it out. We want to encourage Christians to have a broader vision of the needs of the world and of our responsibility to pray for the whole world.
The other 40% of my time is in the Personnel and Training Department. For now that means I sit in on meetings and planning for new programs we are developing. I also teach English two mornings a week to some of our Moldovan Global Action team members who are required to learn English, as well as some computer skills. (No, I don't teach the computer skills!) When our Challenge into Missions program starts in March, I will be leading a Bible study and a seminar for the leadership level of the program. And later in the year I will be teaching a course on missions to the (Moldovan) team members who are preparing to be involved in cross-cultural missions. It's nice to have several books of curriculum on my desk that I have to become familiar with so I can teach it. It's also nice that the material is in English! Along the way, it looks like I will also be doing some mentoring and pastoral care and later on I will be able to do more travelling around, visiting our various teams in the villages to provide pastoral care and encouragement.
I know it all sounds a bit complicated but it is falling into place and when I thought about it the other day, I realized that I am doing all the things I love to do. I am writing, teaching, mentoring, pastoring, learning a new language, and will be able to do some travelling and pastoral care. It doesn't get much better than this, and I am so thankful to the Lord for how He has blessed me!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Small Pleasures

Last night Dana and I went to an English movie. OK, it's true that there are frequently English movies on the TV in between the Russian and Romanian news and an occasional French movie on the Eurovision channel. But there's something about going out to a movie with a friend that's just nice. And Dana was kind enough to buy popcorn for us while she was waiting for me at the Stefan Cel Mare statue (because I was late, if you can imagine that!). The popcorn they sell on the street here in Chisinau is as good as any movie theatre popcorn and way, way cheaper - like about 10cents (1 leu) for just the right amount for one person. The movie is shown in an upstairs room that I would never have found by myself, but the seats are very comfortable, the screen is big and the six of us who were there enjoyed the movie, which was a romantic comedy I hadn't seen before. Then we went out for supper and just had a very pleasant Saturday evening. So, folks, this is life in Chisinau!
What else exciting has been happening? Well, not a lot, which is why I haven't written too much on my blog recently. The most exciting thing this past week was receiving four of my Christmas parcels in the mail finally! My dear sister sent me what amounted to "Christmas in a Box", complete with warm polar fleece pajamas that keep me cozy at night. And there was a parcel from my niece as well, with cozy warm socks!And dear Susan Carlen sent me a care package of Second Cup treats - oh, how I miss Second Cup!! So in case anyone is still thinking I'm cold, I'm not! I have coffee,hot chocolate,warm PJ's, and warm socks! Life is good!
So trying to think what else to blog about I realize that I didn't have time to tell you about some of the things that happened before Christmas. Matthew and Helen were moving into their newly built house a week before Christmas (brave souls!). They gave us a wonderful opportunity to spend a work day in manual labour instead of at the office when they invited the whole team to come and paint the rooms of their house. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun. I've got a couple pictures but for some reason I can't post them right now. So... I'll leave it for now and try again soon. Sorry, folks! Matthew and Helen's three daughters were given the opportunity to do some painting in their own rooms before others finished the painting. It was very cute. The girls are expecting a new little sibling in March and will be returning to England with their parents to await the baby's arrival. I won't tell you what colour they painted the baby's room. :-)

Thursday, January 05, 2006


First of all, Happy New Year! I wish every one of you all the blessings of the Lord in this new year 2006.

I have been nesting. You know, feathering my nest, making a house (apartment) into a home, settling in. That's why you haven't heard too much from me the last few days. It's not like I haven't had time... the OM Centre closes over Christmas so we have lots of time 'off' between Dec 23 and Jan 10. But I guess I am beginning to settle in on several levels - in my home, of course; but also in my relationships. I am starting to get to know people. In fact, one of the wonderful things about having my own place is the opportunity to invite people over. And with a more relaxed pace of life,- especially in this season - that seems to be happening a fair bit.
So if you are expecting to read my blog today and hear exciting missionary news about valiant endeavours for the Lord, or needy people that God has called me to help... you'll have to wait for another time. Today I want to tell you about the sweetness of life lived at a gentler pace, and new friendships being forged.
Since Christmas I have started baking and cooking again. For our New Year's Eve gathering I decided to take a chocolate cake. So I had to go to the store, buy a cake pan, find cocoa and icing sugar and baking powder (not an easy task!). Then I went on the internet to find a recipe, since I gave all my recipe books to my daughter. And I had to estimate measurements as I don't have a measuring cup, and then guess whether the oven was hot enough or too hot and how long to leave the cake in because it is a gas oven...but the cake turned out really good!
Now that I am living on my own, I have to start cooking for myself again - it's been awhile! Even when I was in Toronto I would be more likely to eat out or zap something in the microwave than to cook a meal. But here those options aren't quite so simple. So - I am making big pots of soup of various kinds, eating it for a couple days and freezing the remainder for another time when I want some variety. I wanted to make spaghetti - something I haven't had since I've been here - so I called Dana and the Brazilian family that I work with and invited them over for a spaghetti dinner.
Vittor & son Joao

We had a lovely relaxed evening and at the end of it all, I realized that we had spent the whole evening conversing in our common language - Romanian - and I had understood almost all of it! And participated too!
So I am feeling more relaxed with the language, being in my own home, and having more easily accessible internet.

On Monday, Claudia called and we went for a walk in the park across the street from my building. Another woman, who is Swiss like Claudia, joined us for our walk and we went to her apartment afterwards for tea, cake and a game of Rummikub. On Tuesday I went shopping with Jeanine for furniture for my apartment - and bought a desk and chair. Yesterday it snowed - so beautiful and in the evening was the spaghetti dinner. (I should mention that Ivanir, the mother in the Brazilian family, had participated in building her first snowman ever yesterday - and loved it!) The view from my apartment window this morning
And today I was relaxing at home and Matthew and Helen phoned and asked if they could drop by to see my apartment. So they came up, along with their three girls, and we had a nice visit. And tonight I made curried potato,mushroom and onion soup for my supper.
It's been nice having some vacation time. Monday we go back to work... well, for me that means Romanian lessons for one thing, but it also means I am finally going to find out exactly what my job responsibilities will be! I'll keep you posted about that.
I like having my own little nest. And I like that when you come to visit me in Moldova, there will be room for you to stay in my house. Just let me know what kind of cake I should bake for you!