— Every day at school John was told God did not exist.
He remembers when youth in his village were taken off to
prison after soldiers finally discovered they had printed portions of the New
Growing up in Moldova,
when it was part of the Soviet Union and being a
Christian was not allowed, did not make life easy for John Miron, his seven
siblings and parents. In his village there was no church, so his family met
with other believers in what they called underground church. The government
forbid them to meet publicly, so they met privately in homes throughout the
village. John could never tell anyone he was going to church or that he had
been to church.
John’s parents did not have much, but they worked hard to
provide for their family. One day his dad’s cow — the family’s main source of
food — got sick. His dad refused to try and sell a sick cow. So for 12 days the
family prayed and fasted.
“God healed the cow,” John said. And that became the moment
John said will be forever etched in his memory when he knew God cared about
their family and would always provide for them. God used that experience to
teach John to trust Him. John knew when he received Jesus Christ as his
personal Savior that his faith may bring persecution.
Yet, God took his fear away and replaced it with a great
desire to serve.
“I knew when I grew up I wanted to serve Him,” he said.
John is now president of the Baptist Union of Moldova and
pastor of a Baptist church in a country with an evangelical population of less
than two percent. About 3.5 million people live in Moldova
and the predominant religion is Eastern Orthodox.
Moldova, situated between Ukraine on the north, east and
south and Romania on the west, experienced great spiritual revival in the early
1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed, the country gained independence and its
citizens their religious freedom.
“People were thirsty for the gospel,” John said. “The people
were looking for hope; they were looking for God.”
Things are different now. John described Moldova
as a country growing more and more interested in secular, worldly things as the
interest in God and spiritual things is less and less.
At least 700 villages in the country are without a church or
evangelical presence of any kind, while at least one Orthodox church is in 99
percent of all villages.
is a poor country, the poorest in Eastern Europe, and
agriculture is the country’s main economic source. Many people living in
Moldova — John estimated as many as 1.5 million — actually work outside Moldova
because they cannot find work in the country.
While some who work outside Moldova
only do so for periods of time and then return home, others never return,
leaving nearly 190,000 children as orphans.
Earlier this year the World Health Organization named Moldova
as the world leader in alcohol consumption. Human trafficking is also very
prevalent in Moldova.
Despite all this, John is not discouraged. He has not left
to do ministry anywhere else, nor will he, because he said God gave him a
responsibility to share the gospel with the people of Moldova. “We go every
month by faith,” he said. “We are like the Israelites coming out of the
wilderness. Every month we make it a step of faith.”
John began his ministry working in youth ministry in one of
the largest Baptist churches of Moldova.
After several years of ministry training in Bucharest he returned to Moldova
and helped organize a Bible college. He also got involved in church planting
and ministry with the Baptist Union.
As president of the Union, John is
working closely with the Baptist State Convention (BSC)
as the Convention begins a partnership between Baptists in North
Carolina and Baptists in Moldova.
The partnership, organized by the Convention’s Office of
Great Commission Partnerships, is set to be at least a three-year partnership
in which North Carolina Baptists will help the Baptist Union in three strategic
efforts: evangelize, congregationalize and disciple the residents of Moldova;
strengthen their ability to train, send and support an international missions
force; and provide leadership development opportunities for pastors.
“We praise God for the opportunity to be in this partnership
and for Him to give us this hand of help,” John said. “We appreciate North
Carolina Baptists who are part of God’s plan in Moldova.”
is uniquely situated to not only impact Moldova
with the gospel, but the rest of the world. “Moldova is involved in the mission
outside of Moldova,” John said. “We are blessed to be in a special context.”
For example, the Bible college in Moldova
is training many students who are from countries that are resistant to the
gospel. These students will take the gospel back home once their studies are
Though they may be few in number, the Christians in Moldova
are hungry to learn more about God.
Yet, the opportunity for training and equipping is rare. To
kick off the new partnership, the BSC
recently sent a team to Moldova to lead in conferences for pastors, women and
youth. One pastor who attended the conference said, “Pastor John, I’m going
home with a new strength, a new hope.”
“God has already used North Carolina Baptists in Moldova,”
Michael Sowers, consultant for Great Commission
Partnerships, said one goal of the partnership is to send a North
Carolina team to each of the 33 districts in Moldova.
North Carolina Baptists who come to Moldova
will be involved in leading an evangelistic outreach on Friday and Saturday
nights in the main town or village in the district they are serving that week.
Teams will also be involved in various outreach activities,
such as day camps in order to teach the Bible, sports and other children’s
activities. Teams can host a medical clinic or minister to senior adults who
often live in poverty.
“We are praying God will use this partnership to advance the
gospel not only throughout Moldova,
but throughout the world,” Sowers said.
“Our Moldovan brothers and sisters are ready to do whatever
it takes to see the name of Jesus Christ glorified. We pray for God to send out
many North Carolina Baptists as workers into His harvest field.”
Believers in Moldova
are ready for a great revival to once again sweep across the country.
“I’m praying the people of Moldova may hear the beat of
God’s heart,” John said. “And that their hearts may feel like God’s heart for
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