Chris and Angela Axelby of Doncaster Branch visited Moldova with ShareWord Global in January and received a warm reception in a cold and poor country.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, situated almost on the Black Sea. Most of its young people leave the country to earn elsewhere or are tricked into being trafficked, often into the sex-trade of Western Europe. The Daily Telegraph reports that Moldova is “the least touristy country in Europe”. The average income per person is £250 per month, but shoes in the Clark’s shop in Mall-Dova, the only shopping mall in the country, still cost £150.
When we first heard of the opportunity to visit Moldova with ShareWord Global (SWG) it immediately seemed right. We have two Moldovan families in our home church and we try to assist one of those ladies financially by paying her to clean for us one morning a week.
On speaking with Andrew Knight, GideonsUK National President, about our attraction to this country Andrew replied “I was praying about you going!” So we went for a week that gave us a second Christmas as the Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th. We will never forget it. Over 2,000 copies of John’s Gospel or the Bible in Russian or Romanian were given to children and adults.
On the first day we helped fill shoe boxes with gifts for poor children around Moldova. In every box we placed a copy of Spark magazine, printed by SWG Canada but paid for by GideonsUK. It appeals to children to think about God and their relationship to Him. Every Spark, in every language, contains John’s Gospel. The children were eager to read it. We saw one girl kiss her copy after we handed it to her. We also filled some boxes with items for needy adults and in these we placed a Bible so that the person opening it would see it first.
The rest of the week was taken up with meeting children across Moldova, including the independent state of Transnistria. “Don’t smile at border guards here or they will wonder what you are hiding,” we were told. God provided us with wonderful warm rooms and plentiful food at the Bible Institute in Chisinau, the capital city, and in two other hostels elsewhere. The partnership with SWG, Mission Eurasia and the Church without Walls was wonderful. The young Christian people we worked with were fantastic including Andre and Anna, bright capable young Christians who are trying to stay in Moldova for the cause of the Gospel.
We would highly recommend a trip with ShareWord Global. We were concerned beforehand about safety, health and where we would stay, what we would eat, the extreme cold, transport, meeting very poor people in their homes and such needy children, but we shouldn’t have worried. God took hold of it all when we said we would go, even giving us flights that landed us in Moldova just two hours after the arrival of the Canadian party. It proved to be a whole lot better than any other celebration that we had been trying to plan for our joint 60th birthdays this January!
Please pray that the lasting legacy that we have been able to place in that economically needy country will bring about a mighty harvest of souls.
Chris and Angela Axelby, Doncaster Branch