Sunday, May 25, 2008

Verrrrryyyy interrrresssting....

Hurrah! Hurrah! It is spring and almost summer! Today on the way home from church we bought strawberries - first time this season. Alida and Katrin helped me to enjoy them - they were sooooo good! We also had new potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes for lunch.

Last week I was so pleased when the mechanic phoned me and told me that I would not need to buy a new car because he had done absolutely everything needed to my car and it was as good as new. I thought he meant it had been resurrected. And he had, in fact, put in a whole new suspension system so it does ride much better through the spring road repairs. But for the amount of money I paid for "everything" to be done, I noticed that the rear-view mirror still is not in place, the back door still needs oiling, and the rear bumper is still being held on by wire and the string from my Tilley hat! So I think 'slightly revived' is a more appropriate term than 'resurrected'. Guess I'll keep looking for a newer car.

The other day I gave you all a quiz but I got very few responses. Prizes will be sent to Dana & Cherise for correctly guessing that the gas is being installed for our new building. And Millie gets points for at least trying. Now for all the rest of you who didn't even try to guess, here's another little quiz. I'm looking for participation here! Look carefully at the metal thing in this photo and see if you can tell me what is its purpose? Sergiu spent some time the other day carefully installing this just outside the gate of our Training Centre.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A place to play

Last Sunday I drove together with a friend from the International Women's Club of Moldova to visit the opening of a playground for which the women's club had given a grant. The interesting thing is that the playground was built in partnership with the organization with whom I work. Partnering also with the local church, one of our visiting summer teams had built this playground for the benefit of the children of the community. The church in this village also run a day centre for the poorest children of the village so I had been here before to visit the day centre and to encourage this tiny church in their care for the children here.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with a few clouds threatening from time to time but never opening up to dampen the event. Driving down a long dirt road through beautiful gently rolling hills of rural Moldova, we arrived to find the children and guests waiting and ready to begin. The pastor of the church had prepared a program, in which some of our workers participated. The woman I travelled with, Kyra, is head of the Grants Committee for the Women's Club and she made a short speech. The children who come to the day centre also contributed some songs and recitations. There were probably about 30 children there, and at the end of the program they all received treats and balloons and stickers which had been sent from a Sunday School class in Canada. (Thanks, Kate!!) Snejana brought a map to show the children where Canada is. :-)
Following the ceremonies it was a joy just to watch the children playing on this new playground equipment. Hopefully, this safe place to play will also be a reminder to them that there are people who care about them, and a God who loves them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A small quiz

What is the answer to prayer that is indicated by these photos? First 3 people that make a comment with the correct response will receive a prize. (if I have your e-mail address, that is!)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

a day with Barb

  So today why don't you join me as I climb out of the rutiera and walk the last leg of the journey to the office? The road's not bad today as the sun has almost dried it up.
  Around the corner it's still a bit muddy but in some ways better to be walking than driving.
  There's some partial roads across this last field, where new houses are being built all the time. As you can see, our building is near the power lines. We climb over a small hill to get to the Centre. There is good reason why we don't drive closer to the building and park in our nice gravelled parking area...
Posted by Picasa
You see - this is the road not taken. It's not too bad today but when it rains.... only Matthew comes this way in his jeep.
On this day, the Challenge into Missions students are back from their outreach in the villages and are giving reports. Later on, it's my turn to teach. The topic for my two sessions with them this week is 'The Father Heart of God'. Victor is translating for me. It was a good idea to wear my shawl today - besides to keep me warm. I'm sharing the story of the eagle and how she stirs up her nest to teach the baby eaglets to fly. Victor does a good job of translating and together, we teach the class how to fly!! :-)
In the evening I invite some of our international students to my home for a break from the stress of language and cultural adaptation. Katrin (Austria), Naomi (England), and Thomas (Germany) seem to enjoy their evening. Thomas has us in gales of laugher as he recounts the story of how he celebrated his 20th birthday in our lovely country. He was detained by soldiers in a small village because he neglected to take his identity papers with him when jogging near the border. Some things we only learn the hard way!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rosie doesn't like the Rain

You would think that on a rainy day you should be able to count on a friend. But a friend who lets you down and leaves you stranded in the rain - well, I guess that's a fairweather friend. Not much help when you have places to go and things to do on a rainy day. And today, Rosie, my car, was just being ornery. I drove through a puddle and just because she got a little bit wet (the sook) she refused to continue. So there I sat.... played some nice music for her and prayed a bit and eventually she started again. Later on, went through another puddle and Rosie stalled on me again. That's it! Rosie stays home on rainy days. And I think we're going to have to find Rosie another friend and find me a better friend - one who I can depend on in foul weather as well as fair. Sorry, Rosie.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Orthodox Easter video

After the procession the people stood with their candles at the door of the church as the priests and choir sang a beautiful liturgy - Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Easter in Moldova

So I decided that I should go to an Orthodox Easter service just to see what it is like. I had been told that the Orthodox faithful usually gather before midnight on the Saturday night. So at 11 pm I headed out to a nearby Orthodox church. When I arrived I was surprised at a very heavy police presence. This is not the main Orthodox church in Chisinau but maybe someone important is coming. This church actually also has a monastery associated with it and I had recently read an article about all their renovations and a new building for the monastery (a yellow building which you may see in one of the photos). On the outside of the church there is a plaque that says 'Cathedral of the Ministry of Interior Affairs'. Hmmmm... I wonder what that means... so different to be in a country where there is a state church. Especially curious considering the current elected government is the communist party. Aren't they atheists?
Anyway, I put my headscarf on go into the church and stand among all the other worshippers. In the Orthodox church there are no pews, just a bench or two along the outside and back for the elderly who may need to sit. There is a priest at the front of the church chanting and occasionally another priest comes through the iconostasis (I am told this is the correct word, not iconoclast, for the big ornate screen at the front, which has doors on either side that are part of the ornateness). The choir is in the balcony at the back of the church with responses to the chanting of the priest. One of the things I must say is that any time I have been in or near an Orthodox church I have been impressed with the beautiful choir music.
So this goes on for awhile and more and more people are arriving all the time. It's getting closer to midnight and there is a sense of anticipation. I notice everyone has candles and they are getting them ready. Then at midnight all the lights are turned off. The people stand in darkness and silence for a few minutes - long enough to reflect on the darkness of the tomb and the fact that Jesus died and was buried. Then at midnight the priest starts chanting 'Hristos a inviat!' (Christ is risen!) and the people all respond 'Adevarat a inviat!' (He is risen indeed!) The liturgy is repeated with another phrase that I didn't quite catch and then the priest holds up a candle from which the people can light theirs. There is a real scrum to get close to the front and have your candle lit by the priest's candle. I wasn't surprised when I smelled singed hair and a woman went past me with her friend batting at her head to put out the sparks. People were crowded together and candles were at all levels, including those held by children. I was surprised there weren't more accidents than that.
So once everyone's candles were lit, the priests headed through the crowd and led the procession outside the church. Fortunately it was a mild, clear, beautiful night. I followed the procession outside as they circled the church once, twice, three times. I was curious about the baskets that a lot of people had brought with them. Looked like picnic baskets to me. Being a good Baptist I figured maybe they were going to have a potluck supper after the service. I found out later that people bring their Easter food with them to have it sprinkled with holy water and blessed by the priest.
After three times the priests stopped at the entrance and there was more chanting and beautiful music from the choir. But not only the choir, the priest themselves formed a male choir that was deep and rich in their choral liturgy in concert with the mostly/all? female choir. (I have posted a video of this on the next post.) Eventually the priests led the people back inside. I followed and stood in there for a while but it was pretty tiring standing and stuffy after being out in the beautiful clear air. I wandered outside and sat on a bench next to a woman with a basket. I asked her about the baskets and she explained to me about the holy water and the blessing. She also told me that the service would continue until 5 a.m. Then everyone goes home and has a big feast and then they sleep all day.
I didn't stay. I left around 1 a.m. so that I could get up on Easter Sunday morning.
and go to my own church. On the way to my church I picked up one of our newest team members, Katrin. Nobody had told me that they changed the service to 9 a.m. instead of the usual 10 a.m. service. So we missed the children's program but we did get to see the Easter drama presented by the youth. In the afternoon we were invited to Sora Maria's for Easter dinner, along with the Brazilian family. Maria and her daughter, Antonella, served us lamb and mashed potatoes and salad. Lamb is the traditional Easter dinner here in Moldova. So tender... mmmm. I told them about the baskets at the Orthodox service. This food hadn't been blessed with holy water, but it was blessed by the Lord as we remembered the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for our salvation and celebrated together with thankful hearts the resurrection of our Saviour.