Monday, November 28, 2011

Funeral at Moscovei

I was recently invited to preach at a funeral in the town of Moscovei.

The man who had died was a member in the church there but many years before his repentance he was a much respected brigade leader when the coountry was communist.

Thus the church were expecting many people to turn out for his funeral and indeed they did.

In Moldovan evangelical funerals the body is kept in an open casket and the procession starts from the house. This is where I had the privilidege of speaking. I shared how the body dies but not the soul, the person we are inside. We spoke of the Bible's teaching that there are 2 places after death and we will spend eternity either in heaven or in hell. I shared that both Vanya ( the dead man ) and his wife Ania knew before he died that they both will be in heaven and so they will one day meet again with joy. I explained that in 1 John5:13 we are told we also can know this for certain before we die if we put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

Under communism evangelical churches were not permitted to preach the gospel publically except at funerals and weddings which is probably why they use the opportunity to preach several times throughout the funeral service to the many unsaved that come.

We walked from the house to the graveyard and stopped at various points to share the gospel. Here Sergiu the pastor of Moscovei Baptist church is speaking to the crowd as they stopped outside the church building. I cannot tell you what he was preaching as he spoke in Russian ( indeed my message was translated into Russian also, as, for most people in the village Russian is their first language). ( Moscovei is often called little Moscow by locals)

Mari was very poorly at home so I did not go all the way with them to the graveyard but they insisted that they feed me before I went so I sat down in the newly built canteen that they have for the vulnerable children's ministry and ate a lovely bors.

While I was eating the lady in this picture approached me - her name is Masa. She asked me if I remembered a mission that we did in 1996 in the cultural house in Moscovei. I said I remembered it well ( we had to get a translator to come from Chisinau, the capital, as Russian translators in the South were hard to find) I also said that we had done the mission at the cultural house in the centre of Moscovei and that a lot of people came every night of the mission but during the whole week only one person came out to the front in response to daily appeals to repentance. She said "Yes that is true - I am at that person" Despite a very hard life both before and after her commitment to Christ she is a member in the church and has been going on with God and serving Him ever since.

Go knows how to encourage us

Pastor Mark

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