Moldova, one of the poorest nations in Europe, was the first former Soviet republic to elect a communist president, Vladimir Voronin, who was in power from 2001 to 2009. The nation then endured three years of political turmoil until Nicolae Timofti was elected president in 2012. Since then, Moldova has become more pro-western, and even signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014. As a result, Transnistria, a strip of land bordering Ukraine that broke free from Moldova during the collapse of the Soviet Union, is lessening its trade with Russia in favor of growing relations with the EU and Moldova.
Due to a weak economy and high unemployment rates, as many as half of the Moldovan workforce is working overseas, which has led to many social problems. Young adults desperate to find work are at high risk for becoming victims of labor or sex trafficking, many children are growing up without their parents and are left to fend for themselves, or are being raised by elderly grandparents, and brain drain is leaving Moldova with few human resources to overcome these problems.
Despite these social troubles, Moldova remains a fertile mission field, where evangelical churches are continuing to grow and multiply. The main opposition to evangelical work is the Orthodox Church, which has strong ties with local government and strives to maintain its monopoly. Building and registering new churches can be complicated, but the government generally enforces and protects the freedom of religion.
Mission Eurasia is part of the growing evangelical momentum in Moldova, as in 2016 alone, we trained and equipped 40 School Without Walls students, and graduated 29 more, for ministry! In this nation of great material poverty, the spiritual wealth of the gospel is bringing hope to those in need.
- For wisdom and integrity for the government in addressing numerous social problems, including corruption, nepotism, inflation, poverty, and brain drain, and for the evangelical church to partner effectively with the government in responding to the needs around them.
- For a widespread spiritual revival within the Orthodox Church in Moldova, creating a climate of openness and partnership with evangelical Christians, and for newly-planted churches in Moldova to grow and mature in their understanding of Christ and to be salt and light in their communities.
- For the Next Generation of Moldovans: for children growing up in poverty, who will then grow up at risk of turning to crime or becoming victims of human trafficking. Pray for young School Without Walls (SWW) leaders, that they would be catalysts for change in Moldova, transforming their generation and future generations through the gospel.
- For peace and unity among people of different ethnic and language groups, a swift and fair resolution of separatist conflicts in Transnistria and Gagauzia, and healing for all those concerned.
Yana’s greatest desire was to leave Moldova, study law in Russia, and move to London. She came from a nominal Orthodox family when she connected with Lines of the Heart, a Christian youth movement in Ungeny, Moldova, with close ties to SWW. Lines of the Heart reaches out to local youth through music, sports, camps, and club meetings. Yana started attending youth club meetings and taking guitar lessons.
“After getting involved in Lines of the Heart, a lot of things in my life changed,” Yana shares. “I tried to change my lifestyle, broke off unhealthy relationships, began to distinguish good from bad, and that is when I began to find true friends.” SWW leaders then invited her to join the program. “I always believed in God, but when I started attending an evangelical church and participating in the youth club and SWW, my faith strengthened and became a lifestyle.”
At first, Yana’s parents were skeptical of their daughter’s new religion, but after seeing the changes in her and meeting the SWW coordinator, their perspective shifted. Yana shared what she was learning, and now she and her parents read the Bible together. “Now I have a new dream. I no longer want to leave my country, but instead I want to go to university here in Moldova and study to become a social worker,” Yana says. “I want my job to be a vehicle for ministering to others, and I want to help people come to know Jesus.”