Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in Chisinau

We were invited down to Chisinau to preach in the Elim church on Dec 6 where Sasa, a young man who was born again at our church around 10 years ago, is now a deacon.

We came down for the weekend with the family as Mari had a course on Saturday and we thought it would be great for the kids to see the Christmas lights in the capital.

As I was taking these photos it made me realise how much Moldova has changed both physically and spiritually in the 15 years we have been here.


When we first came to Moldova we had 4 hours electricity per day between 7-9 am and 7-9 pm. Some friends of ours travelled from the UK and brought over a generator. When we opened our new church building in 1999 we were one of only 2 buildings in our village with light which meant our week mission was full each night.


This is Abigail standing outside the mayor's office in Chisinau.

His name is Dorin Chirtoaca and he is a member of the Democratic Alliance, which is now ruling the country after years of communist rule.
We walked a few meters down from the mayor's office and saw the man himself in a barber's shop having a hair cut. I popped in and told him how we believed he is doing a great job.

"Bine" he said

He had no security with him (unless they were dressed up as lady hairdressers ). Just a simple man having a haircut in a nearby barbers after his working day.

The bible says that the wicked do their deed in the darkness. When we first came there were 2 street lights working nightly in the whole of Cahul ( a town of 40,000 residents ). You simply did not go out at night on the street. Now even small villages have street lights on the main streeet at least.

The fact that the Christmas lights were on, on Dec 6 is a sign of the spiritual change going on in Moldova.
In Moldova the vast majority of orthodox Christians are Russian Orthodox and they celebrate Christmas on January 7. Whereas, Greek Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Protestants ( inlcuding us Baptists, Pentecostals etc ) celebrate the Lord's birth on 25 December.
In the past only the Russian Orthodox Christmas was recognised by the communist government and so the lights wouldn't even be on, on 25 December but just recently the democratic alliance prime minister Vlad Filat announced that 25 Dec would now also be a national holiday along with January 7th.
Valeriu Ghiletchii, the former president of the Baptist Union who is now a member of parliament asked the prime to consider making this date a national holiday but when I spoke with him he takes no credit for the decision as, he tells me, Vlad Filat already had it in his mind to do this.
When we came there were 1000 towns or villages in Moldova with no evangelical church of any kind. Now there are less than 900.
Much still to do
Pastor Mark

No comments: