Helping place Mission at the heart of the Church and the Church at the heart of the community
Despite EU integration attempts in recent years, Moldova continues to be the poorest country in Europe, crippled by a high level of corruption, political instability and a failing economy. The extreme poverty, especially in rural areas, aggravates related problems like a high rate of alcoholism and an exodus of the working population to other countries, while children and elderly are left behind. However, this situation also creates many ministry opportunities, especially in the area of relief & development.
OM’s involvement in this region began in the 1970s and 80s, smuggling Bibles and Christian literature into the Soviet Union, of which Moldova was a part. After the fall of communism OM sent their first outreach teams, humanitarian aid and literature to Moldova in 1995 and established a full-time ministry in 1998. Today an extensive and diverse ministry is coordinated by a team of about 60 adults, two-thirds of them being nationals.
All ministry is carried out under the authority and in partnership with the Moldovan Church, encouraging the local churches’ transition from a mind-set of receiving aid and foreign workers to a vision of sending missionaries and being the providers of hope and relief to their communities.
Moldovans in Missions
OM Moldova puts a high emphasis on motivating and equipping Moldovans for missions. This includes helping churches send Moldovans to different areas of the world, as well as investing in national workers on the OM Moldova team and facilitating leadership development. Besides these, many more local believers become mission workers in their own communities by partnering with OM in various projects.
Training & Outreach
Twice a year the 10-week ‘Challenge into Missions’ course offers Moldovan and international participants training and experience in missions in Moldova, spending one third of the time for studies and two thirds on outreach. The ‘Missions Discipleship Training’ is a six-month program focused on discipleship and practical missions experience in Moldova and Romania. Throughout the summer period ‘Love Moldova’ outreaches use creative means like trekking, rafting or cycling to reach villages all over the country, sharing the gospel as they run children’s programmes, sports camps or construction projects.
Love Moldova promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPtXrU8Z3M4&feature=youtu.be
Local Ministry Teams
Smaller OM teams live and work directly in the community, practically assisting local churches in their ministry and helping them to plant new churches in unreached villages.
Bus4Life & Literature
Bibles and Christian literature in the most widely spoken languages, Romanian and Russian, are imported and resold at reduced prices. Functioning as a “bookshop on wheels” the Bus4Life helps to make this literature available even in remote villages and besides this is also used for street evangelism, children’s programmes and as a mobile café or cinema.
Using sports and arts we seek to reach Moldova’s young generation for Christ. In our football league we instruct and support local believers to launch, train and disciple village teams. As part of our arts ministry we visit day centres, schools and kindergartens with puppet shows, sharing the gospel with children in a way they can understand and relate to.
Relief & Development
Permanent ministries like elderly care projects and day centres for children support the most vulnerable on a daily basis, while seasonal projects cover immediate needs (e.g. school supplies in autumn or warm clothes, food and firewood in winter) but also encourage steps towards self-support (e.g. by providing young farm animals and vegetable seeds). Our Freedom Network works with people at risk or affected by human trafficking and abuse.
Business for Transformation
By running business trainings on different levels and offering small loans and ongoing consultation, we enable Moldovans to start and run their own business and thus provide for their families without seeking work abroad. These businesses also display Kingdom values and create work for others in the community.
Give: Besides running all of our ministries, our biggest financial challenge is helping to raise support for our Moldovan team members. To help support the work of OM in Moldova, give here (http://www.om.org/en/give) or contact your local OM office.
Go: Join one of our short-term programs (Love Moldova - 2 weeks, Challenge into Missions - 10 weeks, Missions Discipleship Training - 6 months) or join our team full-time. See the job opportunities listed at http://www.om.org/en/opportunities or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Population: 3.5 million
Principal Languages: Romanian (official language), Russian
Main Religion: Eastern Orthodoxy (96%)
State of the Church: After the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a big spiritual openness and many turned to God. Today the Moldovan Church no longer experiences such growth and increasingly finds itself facing challenges like materialism. However, we have witnessed a growth of understanding and acceptance between different evangelical denominations and see churches increasingly taking ownership of ministries.
Socio-Economic Situation: Unemployment in rural areas is up to 80%. The Information and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova has estimated that 1,200,000 to two million Moldovan citizens (almost 45% of the population) are working abroad, but only around 80,000 are estimated to be in their destination country legally. According to the World Bank, in 2014 remittances from Moldovans abroad accounted for 26.2% of Moldova's GDP, the fourth-highest percentage in the world.