Sally and I arrived in Moldova yesterday, not knowing what to expect, so I came prepared for anything. (Sally is my ministry partner, and so, unlike all the other names in my blog, hers is unchanged.) We were met at the airport by Doug and Jurek. Doug and his wife, Jane, are British, but they live in Poland, Jurek’s homeland. They had invited us here to help them host a conference to train English teachers in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ while with their students. At the same time, we will be training them to be better teachers of English. Jurek has been coming frequently to Moldova over the past 20 years or so, working with children and sharing the love of Jesus with them and their parents. So Doug and Jane came with Jurek and we are using his mission house both as a place to sleep and to hold the conference. The conference was Doug’s idea. Several years ago Doug met a representative of a large publishing house that specializes in textbooks. He asked the publisher what they do with the old editions when new ones are published. The answer is that they had been throwing away all the old editions. They certainly can’t sell them. So Doug said, “Please don’t throw them out! Send me the old editions of English texts when the new ones are published.” So now their garage is filled with boxes full of English textbooks. Doug gives the books to missionaries so that they can teach English as a way of sharing Jesus. So he organized with Jurek and Sally to have this conference in Moldova to train English teachers. Sally teaches English as a living in Italy, but calls herself a missionary thinly disguised as an English teacher. At first, I didn’t think to come to Moldova because my ministry is not so much about reaching the lost as it is a ministry to missionaries to help them reach the lost. I have occasionally taught English over the years, and shared Jesus through that experience. But it is not my main call or focus. However, just before going to Israel last month, I spoke with Sally again about the conference, and I felt that familiar nudge of the Holy Spirit. I saw that my calendar was open for the seven days that Sally would be in Moldova. I also saw that God can use me to encourage these teacher/missionaries, too. And that is my calling and focus. So I booked tickets on the same flights and came along to help. Today has been spent getting Jurek’s house ready for the conference. After breakfast we put our heads together to come up with a plan of action for today’s tasks and preparing for tomorrow’s conference. Since Jurek lives in Poland, he has a couple of young men stay in his house while he’s away. They have gone elsewhere for the duration of the conference. So we started with the basics: grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping away the cobwebs, dusting the furniture, sweeping the floors, and clearing away the toys and games. Kostanza came to help, but since she speaks only Moldovan and Russian, her tasks were limited to preparing lunch, kitchen cleanup, and ironing the tablecloths. Being the only person who could communicate with Kostanza, Jurek’s job was to instruct her in her tasks, and make sure that she understands. Then we began unpacking and organizing Doug and Jane’s treasure trove of books to give to the teachers, hanging posters, making photocopies of handout materials, and making name badges and signs. There was lots of laughter and good feelings in coming together to make this conference happen. Every so often, Jurek would come into the designated conference room to take pictures of our activities—which generated even more laughter. It has been a full day, and tomorrow will be equally full from the conference’s 9:30AM arrival to its 8:00PM close. Then we get to do it all over again for a Messianic community in another city on Sunday. As we were hanging posters, Sally and I were talking about our lives. Think about it, just the day before yesterday, I was laughing over a coffee with teenaged believers in Albania, and today we’re hanging posters in Moldova for a conference. We agreed that we wouldn’t trade lives with anyone else—what an adventure! What fun! What a life! God is good!
Doug’s Treasure Trove!