My Word will not return empty

written by Esther Hippel

 “Even in his own village many people do not know that this man exists. He has no money for food, no documents (so he can't go anywhere to find work), no prospects, no hope - only anger.” This is how a ‘Love Moldova’ outreach team described the situation in which they found Vladimir*, one of the people they delivered a food parcel to.

It was a visit many of them later remembered as a highlight of their outreach. “We spent a long time there,” one of them shared. “At first he seemed not open at all, he was just focused on his own misery, but after we shared our hearts the atmosphere changed.”

As the team talked about God, read from the Bible, sang songs and prayed, little by little Vladimir opened up. When they read Psalm 103 he had tears in his eyes. In the end he himself also prayed, opening his heart to receive Jesus as Lord in his life. The gloom was gone; he was smiling and laughing. You could see in his eyes and his face that he was a changed man.

Unable to provide for themselves and bitter because no one else seems to care: Vladimir is by far not the only Moldovan fitting this description. This is why visiting the poor and neglected with food parcels is a vital part of OM Moldova’s outreaches, helping to alleviate the desperate material needs many people have. At the same time the spiritual needs are just as severe, and God‘s Word brings relief to their despair and healing to their wounded souls. Prayer and the Word of God have had a powerful and liberating effect in the lives of neglected poor people visited by ‘Love Moldova’ outreach teams.

Healing hearts, not just bodies

As one team was travelling around by horse and cart, they visited a lady who had problems with her leg and could hardly walk anymore. While they shared and prayed, their words seemed to have little effect: the lady continued to appear depressed and full of self-pity.

However, the following day the team received a phone call from her. She was feeling much better and - attributing it to their prayer for her health - invited the team to visit once more. Returning to the home, the team found she had gathered all her family, including her adult daughters and her son-in-law, and their attitudes had changed completely: they were extremely grateful and very open to hearing the gospel.

Going to the river to pray

The River Outreach teams visit areas that have no local evangelical churches, no believers, no other witness throughout the year - but even though teams stop by just once a year, they see fruit.

One river-team visited a lady who had been met by another team the previous year and at that time had been given a Bible. When the visitors asked her about the icons on her walls, she explained that following the practice of the Orthodox Church, she faithfully prayed to these icons every day, looking for hope and answers. This was a perfect opportunity for the team to share about Jesus: that He is our hope and salvation and that He wants to hear from us Himself - directly and personally - in prayer.

The lady was very open and started to ask many questions about different parts of the Bible. It was clear that she had been doing a lot of reading since receiving this Bible a year before, and the team was very encouraged to see how hungry she was to learn more.

Prayer and the Word of God have a powerful and liberating effect. As the teams found this to be true, they were also able to trust God where no fruit could yet be seen, believing His promise that His Word would not return empty - whether this would be seen immediately, after one day, after one year or maybe only beyond time.

*Last name omitted for privacy reasons