By David Prairie
Opportunities to travel across oceans and visit various nations are remarkably rare and precious. There are good reasons why many Americans are globally sheltered and relatively few ever step away from stateside soil. The United States is large. North America is large. From where we live in Chattanooga, a flight to Anchorage, AK is as long as a flight to London. International travel is difficult and expensive. There are language barriers to consider. Currency is different. The list goes on.
As one who has visited Europe a few times now, I am humbled that God has allowed me to see different parts of the world and to interact with people in cultures foreign to my own. As one who intends to eventually live in eastern Europe, I am becoming increasingly aware of the sacrifices on behalf of many people that are required to pull of such a humanly outlandish possibility. For Brandi and me, our recent survey trip to Moldova was an answer to so many prayers and huge step for our family that will make future steps seem much smaller.
We should first acknowledge the sacrifices of many who cared for our four children while we were away. Their contributions helped to put our minds at ease as we travelled for ten days. My sister Stephanie was especially generous, spending each night with them and making sure the boys got to school on time.
We were met in Chisinau on Friday evening, November 10 by Steve and Cheryl Winget, as well as Mihai Chisari and Sergiu Fomiciov, two former students of Steve’s. That night we enjoyed meeting Mihai’s wife, Irina and their daughter, Delia, and Sergiu’s wife Svetlana over dinner. We were then taken to the campus of the Universitatea Divitia Gratiea (UDG) where we would lodge for the week. Joel and Debbie Dicks, as well as a host of other ABWE workers, greeted us upon arrival.
Many of our days were spent becoming as familiar with the city of Chisinau as possible. Mihai served us by driving us through the city each day and translating for us where our English would not suffice. We observed outdoor markets, enjoyed restaurants and coffee shops, travelled on public transportation, toured a hospital, visited local schools, shopped at malls, evaluated housing options, and learned a great deal of history as we saw landmarks and monuments.
Of course, we also wanted to meet as many people as we could to learn from them. We were fortunate to spend one morning meeting with one of the Deans of UDG to hear about the history of the school, its many programs, and his goals for the future of the school. We also were able to share meals with other American missionaries in Chisinau and hear about their transitions from the states to eastern Europe.
There were ministry opportunities as well. We visited three different churches, two of which I was able to preach in (with Mihai translating for me) and the third I gave a short greeting. Steve and I were also able to lead a discussion on manhood with about 20 young men whom Mihai is mentoring. Our final night in Chisinau was spent with an aspiring church plant called Imago Dei, which is led by both Mihai and Sergiu. They asked me to lead the small group discussion for that evening, which I was glad to do.
At the end of our week we were able to spend a day in Vienna, Austria with the Wingets. That evening, we had dinner in Bratislava, Slovakia with ABWE regional directors Kelly and Sherri Fath. We were encouraged once again with the camaraderie that we already sense among those families.
Among the more solidifying answers to prayer we received during the course of our trip was confirmation about how to involve ourselves in a local church. We expect to work alongside Mihai and Sergiu in the development of Imago Dei, hoping to lay a firm foundation for healthy church. Please pray for those two young men as they seek the Lord throughout this process.
There is much more that could be said. Yet I will sign off by saying thank you to all who contributed your prayer and other resources so that this trip could become a reality. We are greatly anticipating the day when we can move to Moldova and serve alongside the believers there in order to make disciples in that part of the world. To that end, would you consider becoming a monthly financial partner with us? If so, please visit http://www.abwe.org/work/support. We are hoping that 2018 will be the year in which we see all of our financial support raised. Your prayers with us in that regard may help us to do just that.