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N.C. Baptists begin partnership with Moldova
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
April 15, 2011
7 MIN READ TIME

N.C. Baptists begin partnership with Moldova

N.C. Baptists begin partnership with Moldova
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
April 15, 2011

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA

— 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

Testament.

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.

BSC photo

John Miron, once an atheist, leads the Baptist Union of Moldova. Less than two percent of Moldova’s population is evangelical. See photo gallery.

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.

Moldova

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.”

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

complete.

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,”

John said.

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

unsaved hearts.”

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