I was conducting a European Pastors’ Conference in Chisinau, Moldova. After our first conference, our mission team took a day-off before our second conference began. That day we visited an area about 100 miles northeast of Chisinau called Orheiul Vechi, where archeologists have excavated virtually the entire 13th century city.
There’s an Orthodox monastery, called Mănăstire în Peşteră, which had been literally carved out of a limestone cliff by monks. We turned off the road a bit before we arrived to get a bird’s eye view of Orheiul Vechi at this secret look-out place that our guide knew about. It was breath-taking.
Heading back to the car, not to far away from that vista point, we saw a dirt field where an old Moldovan farmer was cultivating the soil with a cleverly conceived make-shift, horse-drawn plow.
He was dirt poor but industrious. We stopped a few minutes to watch. He was wearing an old sheepskin cap, a wool vest and boots. When he got close enough, we tried to communicate with him through our translator. The farmer, Vladim, speaking Romanian with strong Russian accent, snickered when he told us that his horse was older than him. He was a bit shy but had a great sense of humor. Posing for a photo with one of the ladies on our mission team, he quipped, “Don’t let my wife see this photo.” Farmer Vladim’s circumstances are not-at-all uncharacteristic for a typical Moldovan villager. In this extremely poor country of Moldova, the villagers are the poorest of the poor.
Praise International supports national pastors who live and serve the Lord in the remote and undeveloped parts of Moldova. I met Pastor Sergiu and Tatiana Rutcovschi when they attended one of my Moldovan Pastors’ Conferences. Praise support them in their quite remarkable ministry. They don’t fit any stereotype that one might have of a pastor, even for Moldovans. Born with a serious physical disability, Sergiu could have chosen to live an isolated, sedentary life. But Sergiu chose another completely different route. Accepting a call into full-time ministry, he moved to Chisinau, went to Bible school and became a pastor. He got married and had children. Not only did he begin a church, he also founded the Charity Mission for Disabled of Moldova, which has grown into a nation-wide to Moldovans with all kinds of disabilities. As if this wasn’t already enough, he solicited additional support from Praise International so he could start an Internet Café in his village. He wanted not only to better provide for the needs of his family, but also felt that this Internet Cafe would give his church more visibility and credibility, thus more effectively reach out to folks in the community.
Please pray for Sergiu and Tatiana, that God strengthen them and protect them. They have huge responsibilities. They are allowing God to use them to the max. In spite the extreme poverty in Moldova, in spite Sergiu’s severe physical disability, they are making a gigantic impact on Moldova for the Lord! I think that Sergiu would agree when I say that it doesn’t matter what the disability, when we put ourselves into God’s hands, HE IS ABLE to use us. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13