Monday, April 13, 2009

One Fine Spring Day... the midst of all the upheaval in the capital city, I went for a drive through the countryside. I was on my way to a village in the south to visit one of our teams there. I had with me a young woman from Austria who recently joined our team, as she was going to participate with that group. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and driving past the fields and blossoming fruit trees one almost could believe that all was well with the world. Moldova is a beautiful country. The team I was visiting was involved in a variety of work, including a program for children. I joined them for lunch, which started with fish soup. The guy across the table from me got the head, eyes and all! It's not easy pulling fish bones out of soup but I was glad I didn't get the head. The main course consisted of 'grutchka' (a barley-like grain served plain) with cabbage salad.
After lunch everyone went back outside in the warm sunshine. They played some games outside and then went inside for some songs and a puppet show.
Everyone was thoroughly enjoying the beautiful spring day.
With a 2-3 hour drive ahead of me, I left late in the afternoon and enjoyed driving back through this land where spring is such a glorious time.
Next week we will be celebrating Easter here, a week after the usual western Easter. I am thankful that we are able to help make sure that the children of Moldova are learning about more than spring in the country. They are learning about the Creator who made all this beauty. He is the One that can bring hope where there is so much despair, and peace where there is strife. Jesus can give new life to anyone who trusts Him, because He has overcome Death itself. Now that's something to celebrate! Have a blessed Easter and a glorious spring!

Suffering Parents

The student protest that became a violent rampage through the Parliament and Presidential building on April 7 resulted in many arrests. The next day police visited high schools and colleges asking for lists of all those who had been absent from class the previous day. All were suspect. My understanding is that over 200 young people disappeared, presumed taken by police but families desperately sought information and word of their children's whereabouts. Three days later one family received a phone call, telling them to come to the morgue to identify their son. Officials asserted that he had died of poisoning presumably from tear gas but there were clear indications on his body that he had been beaten. This video shows the funeral that was held yesterday for this 23-year-old, whose death his parents feel was caused by police violence. (This also gives you a very good idea of what a Moldovan funeral is like.)There have been other images and reports of physical violence so this is not an isolated case. Other videos can be seen on .

Meanwhile, officials are reviewing the electoral lists to determine whether last week's election had some irregularities or not.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What?? No Facebook!

In face of the protests and riots going on, much of which is being fuelled by the communication technology easily available to young people, the communist government of Moldova has shut down access to Facebook within Moldova. So if you don't see me on Facebook - it's Vladimir Veronin's fault! (Moldovan president for just a little while longer) If you want to find out more about what's happening in this country, you can search for Moldova protests on YouTube and find a lot of footage giving a very clear image of what's going on. Please pray for Moldova during this time of instability and upheaval.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Blame Game

So yesterday we heard there was some real violence in the protests. Since then we have seen and heard and been much dismayed by the actions of a contingent of the protesters. Ultimately, both the presidents palace and the parliament were attacked and even burned. So from the time of the violence Veronin has been seeking to lay blame on somebody for what happened. Initially the opposition leaders were accused of inciting the protesters to violence but it was clear that that was not their intention. Today for some reason the president chose to lay blame on Romania and declared the Romanian ambassador a 'persona non grata' who must leave the country. At the same time the border was closed to Romania and it was ruled that Romanians will be required to obtain a visa to enter Moldova. This raises a lot of questions and complications for many people who frequently come in and out of Moldova.
Stories are circulating about how the election was fraudulent, including rumours that over 1,000 dead people voted! That is, the mayors in the villages, it is purported, held off on completing paper work for individuals who had died recently. Therefore, officially on paper there was nothing to indicate their decease so those names somehow were used and votes were cast in their name, I suppose for the communist party. And of course the Orthodox priests were instructing their people to vote for communists but then, the Baptists were encouraging people how to vote as well.
News reports indicate that about 180 people were injured in yesterday's violence, 100 of whom were policemen. They also said that 200 people have been arrested and the news showed distraught parents at the police headquarters, trying to obtain information about their teenagers who never came home last night and whom they haven't heard from. Other reports imply that there has been beating of suspects by police.
So it's been an interesting day, and I suspect the saga isn't over yet. We certainly hope not. If this is a revolution, there's a long way to go! Communism is still alive in Moldova. But then, a revolution needs a leader and of all the political leaders I have been watching on TV these days, not one is the charismatic type who will really be able to win the trust and allegiance of the people. That's my take on all of this, anyway.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Moldovan Youth - not apathetic!

It seems that although the communists somehow obtained more than 50% of the vote, the youth of Moldova are not prepared to sit idly by. There was a huge protest rally in the city centre today with over 20,000 youth filling the square. The opposition parties are accusing the government of rigging the election and there is a call for an electoral review of some kind. In any case, through text-messaging and internet a huge crowd of young people gathered in the centre square this evening in declaration of a national day of mourning in view of the election results. Word is that there will be another protest tomorrow morning. Much prayer has gone up for this election and for new blood in the Moldovan parliament. Christians are rejoicing that the Bishop of the Baptist Union, Valeriu Ghiletschi has obtained a seat in parliament. Ghiletschi said on his Facebook page: “I finished the first day after the election X in the center of Chisinau attending a 20.000 youth protest. I was thinking that the battle was over, but it seems it's just the beginning...” (Valeriu Ghiletschi, newly re-elected to parliament)
Find out more about the election at these links:

"The election results were based on a final vote count from Sunday's ballot. Turnout was more than 59 percent. There are two days to consider challenges.Opposition parties raised the specter of a new election by saying they would not join a coalition with the Communists. If the Communists fall short of 61 seats and no president is elected in three ballots, another parliamentary election must be called.Three opposition parties passed the 6 percent barrier to enter parliament. All three are broadly in favor free market policies and closer ties with the European Union and do not object to membership in NATO.
… The election was monitored by some 3,000 observers. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election was fair, but there was a need for "unbiased news reporting by the public broadcaster," said Nikolai Vulchanov, head of the long-term election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.In the ethnic Moldovan town of Corjova, inside the breakaway region of Transdnestr, some 300 people jammed a polling station, preventing residents from casting ballots. Election observers were investigating the incident, and the town's residents voted in a nearby village.Moldovans living in other areas controlled by separatists were prevented from traveling to polling stations.No ballots took place in the separatist-controlled areas of Transdnestr, where Russia has 500 troops stationed. "(from the Moscow Times. Com -
It's well-known that there is a LOT of cabbage in Moldova. I laughed when I saw this poster from the voting campaign whose title means: "Don't be a cabbage! Vote!"

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Big 90 Wahoo

Well, praise the Lord! I had the opportunity to go to Canada last week to see my mother. She has been in the hospital for over a month and has at least another 2 weeks to go before they expect to discharge her. But she is improving and is looking forward to going home. I was glad I went as I was really uncertain of what to expect in regards to her health. She seems to have been happy to see me and was also glad to be able to celebrate her 90th birthday! "I made it!!", she said, as she lifted her arms in victory! The hospital wasn't her first choice for location of the party but the fact that she achieved the 90 and that she was able to have a party seemed to be enough for her in her somewhat weakened condition. It was great to have friends there as well as relatives, including my aunt and cousins who drove from London, Ontario to join the celebration.

This is me and my aunt Audrey.>>>>

Mom cuts the cake! (hope the video works)

My son Ben and his girlfriend also celebrated with us. Another joy during my brief time in Canada was to spend time with my son Ben and to meet his girlfriend. They not only came to Mom/Grammy's birthday party but took me out to lunch the day I was leaving. Thanks, guys!

The day I left I also had breakfast with my brother Bob and his wife, who came from BC to see Mom. After breakfast we went to the hospital so I could say goodbye and pass Mom into their loving care for a few days. It was great to see you two!

God sends angels everywhere and some of the most wonderful angels go to my mother's church. Thelma and Jim helped to organize the birthday party but have been continually assisting with caring for my mom since they met her at church a couple years ago and found out they were related. There is another couple, Betty and Al, who also take it upon themselves to help care for Mom, visiting her and meeting whatever needs they are able. The minister of pastoral care at the church has also been very faithful to visit her. All these blessings mean so much to me and my siblings when we are unable to be as close to Mom as we would like. Whether we can be or not, we know that God is watching out for her. I look forward to seeing Mom in the summer when I go for a vacation, not a hospital visit!