Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming to an end

This might possibly be my last blog entry as a missionary in Moldova. Tomorrow is my last official day as a member of this mission team. It's been an amazing five years! Last week I travelled with my team to Romania for our annual team retreat in the mountains of Transylvania. We had a wonderful time together and an opportunity to see some beautiful sights.

We travelled to the village of Sinaia and went up a cable car to the top of the mountain there. We took a team photo on the mountain top. Many of my team members walked back down the mountain - and the next day almost all of them were very sore. I had the good fortune of accompanying our guest speaker back down the mountain in a cable car and then doing a bit of shopping in the town. (Picked up some very cute Romanian things for my grand-daughters!) I also had the opportunity to go and see the nearby Castle Peles - one of the most beautiful castles I have ever seen! I took the regular tour which was just the ground floor - and that was well worth seeing. Someday I would love to go back and see the whole thing!

Besides sight-seeing we spent time in Bible study with our guest speaker, Dave. Dave is an old-timer with our mission and he has a lot of wisdom. His presentation of Scripture is always provocative and challenging and we were blessed by a look at Jonah with him. On the last evening he told us some stories from the "old days" when he was involved with smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union. Arrested many times, Dave is full of fascinating stories of the adventures of earlier missionaries who took great risks to provide Bibles for the underground church.

Our last evening was not only Dave's stories but some hilarious skits about those of us who are leaving the team. I was in stitches over Matthew's portrayal of me (with his British accent!), with enough truth to make it embarassing but enough exaggeration to make it hilarious. After the laughs there was prayer for those of us leaving.

Can it really be true that the time has come to say farewell? Over the next weeks I will be doing some travelling and visiting in Europe before I leave for Canada early in October. It will be good to get home and see my mother and my darling children and beautiful grandchildren, but I will so much miss my friends here. I'm glad for this in-between time to be able to process some of my experiences and debrief a bit with my travelling companion. But I will always hold in my heart those who have journeyed with me these past years.
Five years ago, Dana and Claudia and I arrived in Moldova together.

A sad note to add: my friend Corinne left her dog Silas with a friend rather than bringing him with us to Romania. Silas ran away in the middle of the week and there has been no sign of him since. Please pray that he will find his way either back to the friend's place, or home to Corinne.

Come back, Silas!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Inga's day!

Little Jamie points out the obvious - it's Inga's birthday!!!

Sometimes into one's life God sends a friend who is special. I have been blessed in my life to have many special friends - some of them are women whose soul has embraced my own with unwavering affection and caring concern. My friend Inga is one of those people and today, August 17, is her birthday. Of course I didn't remember in time to send a card and I'm too leary of the postal system here to send a gift. Sorry, Inga. But I can do something better than that. First of all I will NOT put your photo on my blog because I don't want to upset or embarass you. (You're welcome.)
Secondly, I will talk to our loving Father and ask Him to give you a birthday that is filled with good things and the overflowing joy of His presence with you. And I will remind you that all the gifts that you have given to others have brought joy to many hearts and thanksgiving to many lives.

Thirdly, could anyone who knows Inga and reads this please give her a BIG hug from me today and wish her a very happy um...30th (????) birthday!

Nistru River, Moldova

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Belles, Balls, Bubbles, and Beads

All summer long we have had teams coming from various countries, seeking to share the love of God and the good news about Jesus Christ with the people of Moldova. Last week I had the opportunity of going to visit one of our outreach teams - to encourage them and to see what kind of ministry they are involved in. This was a group of Irish girls, with one British guy added in so the team leader wouldn't be the only guy! These girls were awesome - never stopped talking! - but they were full of the joy and love of the Lord. I went with them one afternoon as they visited a nearby village to do a children's program.

They divided into two groups; one went with the pastor to teach English in a nearby village, and the other went to another village to do a children's program. Eugen was the only guy on the team and so he went with balls and nets and sports equipment to gather the guys in the group. They flocked to him and in no time he had 40+ young guys doing drills and soccer skills and having a great time playing their favourite sport, soccer (known as football here!). Some other of the older kids played some volleyball.

Some of the girls on the team gathered the rest of the children to do a variety of activities. The younger children did some crafts, sang some songs, learned some English words and heard a story about Jesus.
They also really enjoyed blowing and chasing bubbles and later had their faces painted. Children in Moldova have very few
planned activities in the 3-month summer holiday. Mostly they are left to fend for themselves and find their own entertainment. So when a group of young people arrive with a program for the children, they gather round in no time!

The older girls were excited about making jewelry with the plastic beads that the team had brought. One of the Irish girls just sat down on the ground with them and showed them how. It was hard for her because she didn't know the language but she just tried to communicate the best she could and for sure the girls appreciated it. It was nice to be there that day, and to see how a lively group of Irish girls could interact and share the love of Jesus with about 80 children in Moldova.