Greetings from the churches in Moldova!!!
Dear brothers and sisters,
I hope you are doing well and try your best to serve the Lord in all the things you do or think! And I pray for your continuous spiritual growth!
The last two and a half months were not as rich on exciting events as the previous ones, but I hope that doesn’t mean the time was spent with no progress. We have kept most of our regular activities and tried some new ones. Here is our current schedule of regular activities:
Sunday – the worship and, then, study meetings in all four cities (Chisinau, Balti, Benderi and Tiraspol);
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday – a prayer and/or singing meeting in Chisinau in the evening (usually attended by Andrei and less frequently by others. Starting from June Andrei has been outside the Chisinau on the week days for the purpose of work and so these meetings were suspended);
Tuesday – the online study with John Gentry in Chisinau (attended most frequently by our visitors, Irene and Helen, and also by Anna, and, from time to time, by Natasha, Kate, Nick and Boris, my father in law); The Bible class at the orphanage (by Ira Vinocurova);
Friday – the second weekly class at the orphanage (by Ira), and then the second online study with the members in Chisinau (attended mostly by the same who come on Tuesdays).
Saturday – the study either in Tiraspol or Benderi (I was asked to visit the both places in turns – when I go to Tiraspol, the members from Benderi accompany me there, and when the study is in Benderi, it is the turn for the Tiraspolians to travel to Benderi.
Besides these regular activities there were meetings and studies/discussions with different members and other people. Right now I am involved into an Internet discussion on the role of Decalogue and the Sabbath in the New Testament – with Gheorghe, a trained Adventist, and two young students from Bucharest (Romania), one of whom, Vera, is my cousin and the other, Andrei, is a relative of Gheorghe. At this moment I do not have too many hopes for Gheorghe and Andrei, but I do hope that this discussion will help Vera, her mom and, in the best case, other relatives on my father’s side. By the way, if you can share any Adventist-effective points or approaches I will greatly appreciate that!!!
In addition to this discussion I have just started, as I hope, regular studies with a young Baptist preacher, Gheorghe, who lives in our neighborhood. Last Monday we studied the church and baptism issues. He was open-minded and willing to continue. Also, I had an encouraging study with two ladies in Ciocana (a district of Chisinau). Zoia, one of our visitors, made her Adventist neighbor, Fenia, interested in inviting me for a study and in the end both were willing to continue the studies too. Besides these new opportunities, Ira is working on a teacher and some older students from the orphanage. She hopes to organize our studies with them in the future.
The situation in Chisinau
I am still looking for a good way to encourage the members to be more active spiritually. The fact that quite few of them show up at the studies during the week, quite few regularly try to preach to others and show any other signs of personal dedication continues to concern me a lot. Our older members’ major problem continues to be tiredness of the difficulties of life while business and especially alcohol and other temptations continue to plague the lives of some of the younger ones (like Nick, Natasha and Valik).
Throughout this time we have had two extra activities for all the members: a new Bible reading plan plus studies of a textbook by Bob and Sandra Waldron on the history and geography of the Bible. Everybody is supposed to do the reading and to study the lessons at home and on Sundays after the worship we discuss the questions, share the comments and so on. Andrei agreed to be in charge of the Bible reading plan and so on Sundays he was supposed to prepare questions for everybody to repeat the material and deepen the understanding. He was quite successful in the beginning but then got very busy with work and, sadly, stopped.
A lot of work was done by Ira Vinocurova at the orphanage and not only there. She had 1-2 regular weekly Bible studies with 20-25 children of ages 8-14 at the orphanage, plus tried to influence the director (Helen), one of the teachers (Natasha), and tried to work with at least two children from her former children’s class at our meeting place. In June there was a two week summer camp organized at the orphanage. Ira was visiting them daily teaching them through Bible lessons, games, songs, etc. Out of 50 children present about 30 were regularly visiting her classes. The sad thing is that the orphanage will most probably be closed in the nearest future and the children will be scattered among the other orphanages in the city. The director is very pessimistic and is already looking for a way to start a private orphanage.
Serghei Vinocurov continued helping with preaching every other Sunday in Balti. He also tried to help Ira with her activities at the orphanage by doing organizational work.
Among other things I should mention Anna’s efforts to encourage the women to start meeting for women’s studies. The first study took place last Saturday and was attended by Kate and Helen (the visitor). Lord willing the ladies will be able to continue at least once a month and more of them will attend.
In the end I need to say special thanks to John Gentry. Most of the time he conducted two online studies during the week and we are really grateful for his efforts! We also appreciate very much Larry’s constant presence and thank the other Christians from Galena who from time to time attend the studies!
The situation in Balti
The ladies have been more or less successful in maintaining peace among themselves and in learning how to live together as a family. Two of them who had severe problems with teeth were considerably helped by the congregation – and that happened in the most peaceful way and with everybody’s agreement! The ladies, and especially Vera and Nona, also tried to visit the others when there were any problems and particularly when someone was missing on Sundays. Sadly, not all their efforts were successful. Diana, who was baptized in April, was not able to keep the commitment. At first she was sick, then she came on one of the Sundays, then her husband arrived, they started preparing for the move to Israel and she stopped coming. All the time the ladies and I tried to encourage her both by visiting and/or by calling.
Just like in Chisinau, the ladies started their own Bible reading plan too. Nona suggested and encouraged everybody to take notes during the sermons and the lessons in order to repeat the material at homes. Sveta started teaching the Bible to 4-5 children from her neighborhood (I have already given to her three children’s Bibles and am supposed to bring more this Sunday). Dora too is in need of children’s Bibles trying to teach the children in her class at work. May God help them!
The situation in Tiraspol and Benderi
The members in both places continued to enjoy peace and self-sufficiency. Alexander, the preacher in Benderi, had to go to Russia for a month to fix his passport and while there Vasilii was helping the church on Sundays. We all greatly appreciated and rejoiced in Vasilii’s faith! It was not easy for him to lead the worship in two places on the same Sunday but he faced the challenge! (I suggested my help but the Transnistrians decided it would be better for them to learn to get by on their own!) Besides other things the work of a preacher contributed to his further progress in the knowledge of the Scripture. His comments, questions and answers on Saturdays impress me more and more. May God continue to strengthen him! I hope that his example will also encourage the other men in Benderi and Tiraspol to be more active.
Quite many members have had health problems. Laura received a treatment in Moscow against her lung tumor (at this moment it seems to be not malignant). Sasha almost had a heart attack and spent considerable time in hospital. Inna was diagnosed with glaucoma. Alexander the preacher had more than usually frequent asthma attacks.
Alexander was also quite disturbed by a group of people from Russia and Latvia who claim affiliation either to KGB or, more frequently, to some Russian Nazi circles. They hate him because of some of his relatives (who were KGB agents and are dead by now) and have a clear goal to completely destroy him. So far they try mostly psychological means – emails filled with very dirty language and threatening. They check his correspondence and, from time to time, send dirty messages to the people he is in touch with. They also send messages to police and security services claiming that Alexander is either a terrorist or a leader of a totalitarian sect. The last two messages were sent from Latvia to Russian FSB (the former KGB) on Saturday, July the 12th (they sent a copy to Alex). The messages “warned” that Alex must be stopped because he is a destructive totalitarian sect agent plus a CIA and FBI spy who is establishing “the church of Christ” sect in Benderi in order to destroy Russia. According to the messages Alex’s boss is Steve Niemeier… It is obvious that by such messages they are trying to rob Alex of the inner peace plus to get him in trouble with local police and/or special security services. I am afraid, so far these people are quite successful in both cases and especially in destroying his health.
Please, when possible, pray for Alexander as well as for all the saints in all places! Nick and Natasha are still in need of special prayers because of their problems with alcohol. Please, continue to pray for the work over here and everywhere! We do need your prayers and appreciate them very and very much!!!
Thank you again and again for your interest and precious help!
God be with you!
With love in the Lord,
I am still working on the report on the use of the funds to all who contributed. Sorry for the delay!