Situation in the country
This small country (approx. a tenth of the size of Germany) between Ukraine and Romania has been an independent state since August 1991. It was renowned for its long-standing wine-growing tradition and its production of grain and has very fertile soil, which however is not used appropriately because of political problems.There is also little trade and industry. Corruption and the Transnistria conflict influence politics and society, and the country is torn between a pro-western and a pro-Russian orientation.
The lack of job opportunities forces people to leave the country. Approx 700,000 - 1,000,000 Moldovans live and work in Russia, a further 500,000 in the EU. This migration creates so-called social orphans, that is, children who are left to themselves, their grandparents or even the neighbours. Then many young people make early contact with alcohol and drugs, and young girls are not seldom taken out of the country and forced into prostitution.
Today, appprox 2.6 m people live in the Republic of Moldova (without Transnistria), 810,000 of them in Chişinău, the capital. There are Ukrainian (8.4 %), Russian (5.9 %) and Bulgarian (1.9 %) minorities, besides this Gagauzians (4.4 %), in part with an autonomous administration.
The official language is Romanian (Moldovan) and in some regions also Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Gagauzian (a Turkic language). The predominant religion is Russian Orthodox (approx 60 %), with Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish minorities. Protestants (approx 3.9 %) and Jehova's Witnesses are on the increase.
What we do in Moldova
LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) Moldova is at present focussing its main attention on children, teenagers and young people who we want to reach with the Gospel. To achieve this goal, we teach religious and moral education at primary schools and ethics at secondary schools in the whole country.
To supplement this we start Christian clubs and centres for children and young people in churches and outside them, and organise camps. Through this fellowship with Christians, young people have a chance to get to know the Christian faith and find their way into a Protestant church.
Our teachers teach Bible classes (in primary schools) and Christian ethics (in higher classes) in general education. By doing so we can make a great impact on children, teenagers and young people in our country. Topics such as the prevention of drug and nicotine addiction, bullying, HIV, and topics such as premarital relationships, love or indifference make for suitable discussion starters with young people and we can share the Gospel with them.
We organise Christian clubs for children and teenagers.
We take food parcels to needy people, large families, single mothers, problem families in poor circumstances and introduce them to the Gospel.
Pastoral and evangelistic ministry in Moldova.
Mobile children's playgrounds, outings and camps for children, teenagers and young people.
We distribute Christian literature, New Testaments and Bibles as well as the magazines FAITH AND LIFE, TROPINKA and FELINARUL in Moldova, Gaugazia and Transnistria. As it is forbidden to import Christian literature into Transnistria, we take it there in small amounts, sometimes just a few parcels.
Evangelisation through sports, a ministry to coaches, home Bible groups, tournaments with Christian and non-Christian teams, sports meetings on school grounds with the aim of sharing the Gospel.
At the moment we have 16 staff members: 3 missionaries, 3 office workers and 10 teachers, 3 of whom teach in Chişinău, 3 in Gaugazia, one in Transnistria and one in Rezina. One of the missionaries is responsible for mission in sports.
"Yesterday we took a food parcel to a single mother of four pre-school children. Her parents are dead, her husband left the family and does not bother about them. They live in very poor circumstances; The front door is full of holes, the wallpaper and the linoleum are shabby and partly torn off, the washing machine is old and rusty. We told the 25 year-old mother about Jesus and invited her to church. I am so glad that she has since come and understood that for her God is the only comfort, the only hope and the only way out." (Sergei Botes, teacher in Transnistria)
"I met Vlad (21 years) "by chance" a few days before our camp and invited him to come. There he asked a lot of questions about God, sin and a life in faith. At the end we invited Vlad to our church and he really did come to our service. Afterwards he came to me and said he would like to become a Christian and confess his sins. I asked him if he realised that conversion not only meant repenting his sins but also following Jesus every day. Vlad said he did, and we prayed together. The whole youth group rejoiced with him. A short time after this Vlad wanted to go again to the camp - this time as a volunteer. (Zhenya Pokidko, missionary and teacher in Chişinău)
Goals and new projects - our prayer requests
We want to expand the distribution of Christian literature and magazines throughout Moldova and for
all age groups.
We want to intensify our follow-up work after school lessons, camps and evangelisations.
We are planning to organise a course of Bible study on the internet and an online course for children.
We are preparing to start a new church in Chişinău.
We require offices of our own for LICHT IM OSTEN Moldova, and ask God for the necessary financial