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We see His love every day: Stories from Moldova

Since the first day of the war in Ukraine, the Baptist churches in Moldova have welcomed and supported the refugees from Ukraine. With the financial support of the global Baptist family, they have provided food and shelter to thousands of people during the time of war. And even now, two years later, Moldovan churches and refugee centres continue to receive new people who, despite their attempts to remain in Ukraine for as long as possible, are now seeking refuge in Moldova. You can find some of their stories below, provided by the Union of Christian Evangelical Baptist Churches of Moldova. 

The “Good News” Baptist Church has shared Good News with over 50.000 Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war.

The "Good News" Baptist Church, founded on January 11th, 2009, and with a membership of 170 people, got involved in serving the refugees from Ukraine from the first day of the war. The church members were present 24/7 at the customs points in Palanca, Tudora, and Mirnoe to welcome, encourage, and guide all the refugees who arrived there. Some days later they set up a hall with food and hygiene products, providing humanitarian aid to up to 370 families per day. Two years later the numbers have decreased yet there are still 150 people who receive weekly support in the church.

In addition to humanitarian aid, the church offers refugees regular social, psychological, and spiritual support. This includes Bible studies, themed sessions covering various topics, and language lessons, all provided consistently to all refugees. Through these sessions, people find hope for tomorrow and inner peace. Many refugees have begun participating in Sunday worship services, praying for peace in Ukraine and expressing gratitude to God.

After the Bible studies, Ukrainians express gratitude for the truths they have learned about God. They value the peace they find in the church and the sense of home and belonging it provides. One mother took the Bible study book after the session and expressed her intention to study it with her family, noting,

"If people live according to what the Bible teaches us, it would be like heaven on earth."

After receiving humanitarian aid, the refugees thank the team wholeheartedly for all the services and goods offered to them. The 19-year old son of a leader of the church, who participated in distributing products, was profoundly moved by the genuine and wholehearted expressions of thanks. He remarked, "I have never received so many sincere thanks in my entire life! Now I understand why my dad serves those in need and seeks to offer them everything he can!"

The church extends its heartfelt gratitude to the global Baptist family on behalf of over 50,000 individuals who have accessed their assistance centre since the onset of the war and continue to receive ongoing support.

Baptist Church Without Walls and its Refugee Assistance Centre in Chisinau continue to impact the lives of approximately 500 refugees each week.

It may appear to some that the refugees have adjusted to their new environment and that stability has been achieved. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Since last spring, the number of refugees has continued to increase. Many urgently require medical care that is unavailable in Ukraine, while others seek refuge from frequent power outages, insufficient supplies, and constant shelling, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine. For these individuals, a peaceful life in Chisinau seems almost a miracle.

On a weekly basis at our centre, we encounter countless heartbreaking stories, such as Valentina's. At 71 years old, Valentina fled Kherson after her home was destroyed by two missiles. If she hadn't been at the store buying food, she likely wouldn't have survived. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she shared her story with us, expressing a deep sense of hopelessness. Valentina suffers from serious health issues, has no appetite, and struggles with insomnia. Despite her challenges, she finds strength in living with her granddaughter and grandchildren. We thank God that we were able to provide Valentina with food and clothing, along with a listening ear and comforting words. We prayed for her and connected her with a Christian counselor to help guide her on her journey to healing. She left our center encouraged, with a glimmer of hope.

Since October 2023, we have been transitioning our focus from providing primarily physical assistance at our Refugee Assistance Center, which was crucial when Ukrainian refugees first arrived in Moldova, to offering more spiritual support.

Inessa, one of our church leaders in women and family ministry, leads this effort to minister to Ukrainian women and has a profound impact on them. She cries with them, listens to their stories, goes through their trials with them, and comforts them with God's comfort. Inessa shares about the ministry:

"We now have five groups of women that we meet with regularly. Each group has 12-15 women and we spend about 1.5-2 hours together. It's incredible to hear their feedback, as they say that the topics we discussed in the past are now truly making a difference in their lives. It's not just about presenting topics or sharing useful information; it's about genuinely impacting their lives through building friendships and being there for them when they need us —it's a soul-to-soul connection... Some have even started attending church and other meetings we organise.“

The church extends its deepest gratitude to you for the vital help and support that you have provided, enabling it to reach out to hundreds of families every month.

The Bălțata Christian Center stands as a testimony to the power of compassion and faith.

Since the start of the war, over 2,500 Ukrainian refugees have found shelter at the Bălțata Christian Center. Currently, there are 99 individuals ranging in age from 1 to 87 residing at the center. This refuge provides a safe haven where refugees can find shelter, warm meals, and connection with relatives via the internet. We generously offer three meals a day, spiritual counseling, medical care, various workshops, children's activities, a playroom, and a playground where children can safely play. Additionally, we share the Gospel with those who have not yet embraced Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

During the year, refugees can participate in various celebrations and events at Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving Day and many other Christian holidays. Through these occasions, they discover the beauty of Christian life. The refugees are deeply moved by the love shown by God's children, and many of them discover the ultimate source of love in our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, some refugees open their hearts and invite Jesus to come into their lives.

Iulia, a Ukrainian woman with 3 boys currently residing at the Bălțata Christian Center, shares her story:

"My name is Iulia and I have a wonderful husband. Together, we have three boys. We had to leave our country in order to save our family. When we arrived in Moldova, we urgently needed shelter for some time. Miraculously, through our friends, God led us to the Bălțata Christian Center. God loves us very much and we see His love every day through this peaceful centre, through the provision of food, comfortable rooms to live in and through the wonderful believers who help, take care of us and support us very much. We pray together and seek solutions for our problems. In all these people, we see the face of Christ. Please, pray that God will bless each person who has been with us and continues to be. Also, pray with us for peace so that we can return to our country.
Our journey and our stay at the Bălțata Christian Center is a testimony of the power of compassion and faith. The support we have been receiving both materially and spiritually has made a profound impact on our lives during these challenging times.”

At the beginning of December 2023, Tatiana arrived at the Bălțata Center with her four children and two grandchildren. They had fled Vinnytsia Oblast due to the ongoing rocket attacks. In the midst of such tension, Tatiana and her daughter Cristina made the difficult decision to seek refuge in Moldova, hoping to find a safer environment for their family. Their husbands and Tatiana's eldest son remained at the frontlines in Ukraine. Lina, one of the leaders at the Bălțata Christian Center, expresses her anguish: "It is deeply distressing to consider that these women could become widows at any moment."

Upon arriving in Moldova, they were directed to the Bălțata Refugee Centre by believers they met at customs. Now accommodated there, they have all they need to live and plan their future. Given the frequent electricity and heating cuts in Ukraine, they expect to stay in Moldova for the winter, longing for an end to the war so they can return to their husbands.

Please pray:

  • For strength for the Moldovan churches and volunteers who selflessly dedicate their time, health, and resources to minister to the refugees;

  • For financial provision for essentials such as food, transportation, electricity, gas, and other expenses;

  • For those who hear the Gospel to find faith and become followers of Jesus;

  • For protection and safety for the fathers and husbands serving on the frontline;

  • For the health and well-being of their children throughout the winter;

  • For peace to prevail in Ukraine.

Then Jesus asked, “What is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” (Luke 13:18-19)

In addition to the winter project in Ukraine, donations sent to the European Baptist Federation have been used to pay for the heating costs of 24 churches and refugee centres across Moldova during the winter 2023/2024. Thank you for your support and prayers for our joint ministry!

Photos: The Union of Christian Evangelical Baptist Churches of Moldova

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