Appreciation from Ukraine and Moldova
Much Appreciation for Literature from Ukraine and Moldova
In this report we would like to share with you the news concerning the visit of Samuel and Gary Bolton to the Ukraine and Moldova between the 1st – 11th January. This was to see a small part of the One-to-Ten Project which Bible Mission conducts all across the former Soviet Union. During the past year we supplied them with 500,000 Scripture calendars with the same number of Gospels, Gospel booklets and children’s booklets to make a suitable pack of literature for evangelism. The following is their report:
On the 1st of January we flew to Frankfurt to meet the friends of Bible Mission. Early on the 2nd of January we left Frankfurt, driving across Germany, Austria, Hungary and into the Ukraine arriving around Saturday midnight.
We stayed with the Pastor who is responsible for distributing the literature in his region through the different churches and he was most appreciative of all of the supplies of literature they had received in the Ukraine. On Sunday we attended 3 services.
In one of these services we noticed two older men sitting on the very front row of the church. Instead of leaning back in their seats like everyone else they were leaning forward as if grasping every word from Gary who spoke and from the others who took part in the service. Throughout the service their faces were beaming full of the joy of the Lord. At the end of many of the services there was an open time of prayer and it was thrilling to see one of those old men kneeling at the front of the church and lifting his heart before the Lord in prayer.
The service in the afternoon was in a village where they had commenced an outreach to boys and girls and in due course, they hope to be able to open a church. The children’s meeting was held in a hall in the centre of the village. There was almost no heating and only a handful of chairs for a few of the grandmothers and mothers! However, the people did not mind. We noticed that one old lady kept firing questions to the pastor throughout the service and, later we understood that she was trying to compare the teaching of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Scripture.
The tragedy is that these people are only hearing the good news of the Gospel for the first time. At the end of the service Bible Mission had brought shoe boxes filled with presents all wrapped for the boys and girls, who also received a pack of literature with their presents. Through this method barriers are broken down and the Christians will have an open door to work in this village.
The following day two meetings were arranged in different areas where representatives from different churches attended. They were given the opportunity to share how their churches were using the literature, and how they were evangelizing their own people. We were encouraged at these meetings to see young people who have moved from the city into villages where there is no evangelical witness, and who are now trying to set up small churches in order to reach the people with the Word of God.
In the evening we attended a church service which was held in a small house where the people packed themselves in, with the overflow going into the porch. The meeting lasted for over 2 hours and, even though the people were sitting on forms without backs, the natural discomfort did not hinder them or deter their spirit of joy in fellowshipping with one another. These friends are hoping to build a new church during this in-coming year.
At the close of this service we commenced driving through the night from Ukraine to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Arriving at Bible Mission Headquarters at 7 a.m. we had a rest, some breakfast, and set off again at 10 o’clock to attend a seminar where church representatives were being taught how to distribute the evangelistic packs of literature. At the end of the seminar some of the people had the opportunity of speaking and shared their appreciation for the literature and told how they had used it during previous years.
Afterwards one lady came to us and, even though we couldn’t understand the language, we could easily know that she was full of appreciation and excitement at receiving packs of literature. She was a teacher and was taking these back for her pupils.
Reflecting on our trip to Moldova we can truly say that the door of opportunity is wide open to share the Good news of the Gospel. It was encouraging to witness the willingness of the people to receive our literature; especially the Gospel calendars. As Christians throughout Moldova seek to share their faith with others the calendars are having an impact on many people. In a country that is economically weak, an offer of a free pack of Christian literature is rarely refused. It was a great joy to participate in the 1:10 project especially in the rural villages; it left a lasting impression on us. How can we forget the satisfaction of the people as they hung our calendar on their wall? How could we not be thankful to the Lord as we watched many boys and girls studying the Meet the King booklet intently?
The Lord is truly at work in Moldova and the Literature of Every Home Crusade is being used in many different contexts. It is great to know that the work we are involved in is having an impact for the Kingdom of God. This fact was reinforced as we attended meetings and listened to testimonies of how people had come to Christ through the printed material. One individual told us about his literature distribution in a hospital close to his home. With great delight he testified about a patient who received a calendar and some scripture booklets which led to a lengthy discussion. At the end of that conversation the patient repented and trusted Christ for salvation! Towards the end of our trip after I preached at a particular church a lady handed me a piece of paper with a Bible verse on it. The text was 1 Corinthians 15:58: ‘Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord’. This was a timely reminder to press on with the task of printing God’s word and sending it around the world to those who desperately need it.
After lunch, we travelled to another village where we stopped at a little house which was the meeting place for the local church. For some time they had been trying to get planning permission to build a proper church but, due to opposition from the Moldovan Orthodox Church, they had been prevented from doing so. However, they have recently just got the necessary permission. This church was very small and yet, throughout the service, more and more people kept coming and all managed to squeeze in somehow! The pastor and his family travelled from the city of Beltsy to conduct the services. From this little church, they have also commenced outreach work in three other villages with the plan of commencing churches in these villages.
One morning we went to visit a Pastor and had the opportunity of seeing a new church which is being built. The pastor explained that they had been given some money from America for the building materials while the church members worked voluntarily on the building work. They already have been working at it for two years and still have quite a bit of work to do.
At the church we met an old man who is 88 years old. He told us that he and the other senior members of the church are praying that the Lord will not take them home until they see the church building completed. The Pastor then told us that no senior member of the church has died since the new building was commenced. We went out through the village distributing some of the literature. Bible Mission had also brought with them some clothes and this was distributed among some of the poor families which gave us a little bit of an idea as to the condition some of the people are living in.
The Bible Mission leaders explained to us that most people in Eastern Europe will not accept Christian literature as they think it is from the Jehovah Witnesses. However, they have found that when you offer a Scripture calendar this is very acceptable and breaks down the opposition to receiving the remainder of the literature. Many times we heard stories of how people received a calendar last year and are coming back to the Christians and asking them if they have more literature this year.
Bible Mission in Moldova received 100,000 calendars plus the other literature. However, they explained to us that, if they had received 200,000 calendars and the other booklets, they could easily have distributed this quantity. In some of the churches they explained to us that they had not received sufficient quantities of literature.
The Orthodox Christmas is celebrated for three days commencing on the 7th January and, on this day, we met up with Pavel who is the leader of CEF in Beltsy city. During the past year CEF in Moldova, through Linda Corry, approached us and asked us if we could consider printing a copy of Meet the King booklet either in the Russian or Romanian language for every home in Moldova a total of 800,000 copies. The first consignment of 200,000 copies arrived on the 29th of December in Moldova and Pavel already had a quantity of them to commence the distribution. He also Pastors a village church where a service was held during the evening. After the service finished the members and young people from the church, gathered to go around the homes in the village singing carols.
This was quite an experience for us as there was about 6 inches of snow, no street lights and no torches. But it didn’t seem to matter to the people at all. As we went from home to home people would come out to hear the singing. Then someone would speak to the people for a moment or two and they would be given a copy of the booklet Meet the King and then someone would pray. As carol singing is very much the tradition in Moldova people were welcoming and receptive to receiving the booklets.
We attended a number of children’s meetings which Pavel, and his wife Nelly, conducted. One of these meetings was held in a Romanian speaking village. This village is dominated by a very wealthy Moldovan Orthodox Church with at least six gold domes on top of it. They have said that they will not allow any other church to commence in this village.
However, 7 years ago the medical Director of the Institute in the village allowed Pavel and his wife to commence a children’s meeting in the medical centre. During the first meeting that they held some of the windows of the medical centre were broken during the meeting and yet, for the past 7 years, they have come regularly to teach the boys and girls the Word of God. When we went into the building we stopped in an open area on a big corridor. It was freezing cold and most unwelcoming.
Suddenly a lady appeared and told us that they had a new place for us to hold our meeting. She took us to another building which has been recently refurbished and opened as an orphanage and day centre for children from the village. There they took us to a beautifully furnished room which was nicely heated and, in a very short time, a large group of children had formed. Not only was there children, but there was parents and grandparents also present. As the meeting was held we were amazed to see the adults and grandparents answering the questions just as if they were children. They followed the Bible lesson, sang the choruses and took full part.
We had noticed one elderly man during the meeting frequently speaking, but we could not be sure whether he was being helpful or opposing Pavel and his wife. We enquired about him later and discovered that this man is the husband of the medical Director of the Institute. They told us that for the past 7 years he has attended all of the children’s meetings and is very supportive and helpful. We learned that this visit was the first time that they felt really welcome by the people. There are only two known believers in this village or small town.
We also had the opportunity of visiting some of the larger churches in Beltsy city where Pavel had the opportunity of speaking to the congregation and encouraging them to get involved in the distribution of the Meet the King booklets to every home. We also had the opportunity of taking part in many services. During the 8 days that we were in the Ukraine and Moldova we attended seventeen services and Gary had the opportunity of opening the Word of God on seven of these occasions.
We were very encouraged to see how the Gospel literature is being used and also to see the dedication of the workers in Bible Mission and in CEF. Two of the Pastors with whom we met both had the opportunity of taking their families from Moldova to emmigrate to America, but both of them turned this down as they felt that it was the will of God for them to continue working to reach their own people with the Word of God even though it meant living in difficult and poor conditions.
We would like to express our thanks to Paul Hagalgans and all the leadership of Bible Mission in Germany, Beate and Natasha for translating in Ukraine and Moldova and to CEF in Moldova especially Pavel, Nelly and their daughter Tabitha who translated for us. We came home encouraged to know that the Gospel literature that we are printing for Eastern Europe is being used to reach many precious souls with the good news of the Gospel message.
Please continue to pray for every aspect of the ministry as we continue to print and distribute literature to over 120 countries.
Yours for a Great Revival,
Samuel Adams and Clive Allen