In missions, we often focus much on the term “church planting.” If we are not careful, though, we make the establishment and growth of a church the end goal. If we do not see the results to that goal we would like, we cave in to compromise in order to create the desired results. We can end up having many people in the church but few true disciples. While we do desire to establish and grow the church here, our actual command is to make disciples through evangelism and teaching. Our prayer is that the church will simply be a result of us being faithful to His command.
FUNERAL IN ZGURIȚA
With this goal in mind, we end up witnessing to or ministering to people that will never actually become a part of our church here in Soroca. In August, I received a phone call from some Christian friends of ours whose friends had lost their 4 year-old son to a drowning accident in a village about 30 minutes away. Because the boy was not baptized as a child, the Orthodox priest there refused to do the funeral. I received the phone call asking for help. Because the family there knew little to no Romanian, I did not feel equipped to conduct the funeral. I called the pastor friends I knew to see if one of them could go with me and help but none were able to. I was then notified that a Pentecostal pastor was found to lead it and I would give one of the messages. You can read a detailed account of the funeral on our website: grossmissionaries.com.
About a week after the funeral, I returned to visit the family with the Christian family we know here in town (the wife of this family translated to Russian for me). The family whose son had died supposedly made a profession of faith some time ago. We went thoroughly through the Gospel and answered from the Bible questions they had in regards to their son and his death. They did not make any decision that day and are still struggling with the loss of their son. Please pray for Alexei and Ana (the parents) and for wisdom for us in making future visits with them.
Some people we minister to and even see join the church may be with us for only a short period of time. Jeanet’s husband will be finishing his work here in Moldova soon and moving on. He is still waiting to find out where his next contract will be. This also means that Jeanet does not know if and when she will be able to find a good church to be a part of in the future. She is currently back home in Germany and has found a Baptist church in her town for while she is back home. Please pray for the Lord to guide them to a place where she will continue to have a good church to join.
A couple weeks ago, I started back again with Russian lessons. We had about 6 months of Russian lessons about three years ago. While those 6 months were priceless, they are insufficient. On a regular basis, I meet people who only speak Russian. Jacob, who speaks Russian, is not always with me, making me very handicapped when he is not around. Our language teacher from Hîncești called me and told me about a language teacher who just moved to Soroca. Since I had not told her that I was looking for a teacher, it was quite providential. Please pray for me to grasp Russian well. Also, please pray for my instructor, Nadia. This week, I found out that a Baptist family from where she used to live was very influential in her life. She even stated that she was “saved,” which is not something most Orthodox would claim. Pray that the Lord will use our conversations during our lessons to bring her closer to Christ.
CAMPER TO NEIGHBOR
During my first trips to Moldova during my years in college, I worked in Eric Chapman’s evangelistic camps. I have often wondered if I would run into campers later on during our ministry in Moldova.
A couple weeks ago, Jacob and I were traveling back to Soroca and picked up a young man who needed a ride. We found out that this young man, Grișa (Gree-sha), actually lives in our village, not far down the road. While on the way to his house, I started sharing the Gospel with him. He then told me that this sounded very familiar and that he had heard this at a camp almost 10 years ago. After talking, we found out that he was at the Chapman’s camp the same summer I was there. His life right now is far from God but he is open and wants us to talk more. He stopped by here yesterday for a little and we talked some more. Please pray for Grișa to repent and become a follower of Christ.
AVENUES FOR FUTURE DISCIPLES
Jacob and I are working on several projects right now in order to evangelize more people and disciple believers. Soon we plan to begin evening English lessons followed by a Bible study for those who wish to stay afterward. We also have very little room at times on Thursday Bible study nights at the Hughes’ apartment. Due to these reasons, we are seeking a place to rent for ministry. While looking at locations, we’ve had opportunity to witness to some of them. One lady, Natalia, is battling cancer. Another man, Vasile, is an affluent businessman. Please pray for us to be bold witnesses for Christ but also to find the right location to rent.