Friday, April 06, 2007
As part of our Challenge into Missions program, we send the students out to the villages to proclaim the gospel in action and in word. We not only train them how to present the message of salvation but we also teach them that our actions are just as important, if not moreso, to demonstrate the love of Christ. So before they begin singing or passing out literature or sharing testimonies, they are expected to care for the needs of the people in the village. This can take many forms: helping to plant a garden, chop wood, clean up a yard, build a fence, paint a wall, visit the elderly, feed the poor. God's love expresses itself in meeting the needs of those God loves. The people whom the students serve are often the ones who then come to a worship service at the local church with whom we partner and want to know more about this Jesus who cares not only for their souls, but also for their bodies and who understands the sorrows and challenges we face in our everyday lives.
Those of us who work at the office in Chisinau can easily forget that missionary work is practical as well as spiritual. So our field leader, Matthew, helps us to remember by regularly giving us the opportunity to be involved in "lucrul practica" (practical work). These past two weeks we have been working hard at the office and also at the construction site of our Mission Training Centre. Last week the students spent a day over there with us painting the main meeting room, the personnel offices, and the kitchen/dining areas downstairs. This week, while the students were away, our regular team turned off the computers for a day and went back to the new Centre to build stairs, to clean and to prepare the floors for installing carpet. It's coming along - slowly but surely. There are still two more levels up above that have a lot left to do, but the main two levels are almost ready to move into. The only problem is that we are still waiting to be hooked up to water, gas, and electricity.
Last Saturday a group of us went to the nearby village of Malcoci to help our team-mate Corinne (from Holland) to prepare her newly rented house for liveability. Some of us painted, others repaired concrete and we all enjoyed the fun of working together and eating together, hosted by Corinne's next-door neighbour. Corinne's house is more basic than my accomodations in Chisinau. She has no running water, but there is a well right in front of the house and an outhouse up in the corner of the back yard. She has no gas to heat the house, but there is a woodstove, the kind that heats the whole central wall of the house. The nice thing for her and her dog Silas is that they have a nice big yard in front and in back. The challenges of simplicity will be worth it for her to be able to grow a garden and have a safe place for Silas to relax.