22 November 2006
I've never been to Moldova. Until last week. You might ask why I went to Moldova? I went to encourage and support, which is one of my favorite reasons to visit a country!
Moldova is a country full of strong survivors. Although it would seem it is a rather forgotten country, as on maps it is always near the bottom corner...check it out sometime!
Lost Coin director Jennifer and I went to Moldova to participate in the first ever conference from an evangelical perspective on the issue of human traffiking and prostitution. Epidemically it would seem youn girls are being tricked, kidnapped and sold into prostitution from Moldova. The facts and figures showed that over half of the population was being forced into this form of slavery.
Just recently I finished reading a book called The Natashas. It is about this very issue, and although I would not recommend the book for the light of heart it was very powerful and challenging.
For me this all started with our visit in September to Greece and ministry to prostitutes in Athens with Lost Coin. And now as my heart is challenged it would seem that I am being constantly personally inspired to begin moving in the direction of helping, facilitating and whatnot. Who knows that it means really, but for now it means that I am able to help awareness about the issue.
The conference focused on the stories behind the issues, the bare economic facts and the call for evangelicals to be involved. The second day outlined the what to dos and how to start - just open your window and get busy with prevention awareness. How many youth leaders even think to warn their girls about the very real dangers in the country? How many are helping those truely at high risk? These were questions that challenged and helped Moldovan believers and non-believers to see how they could be involved.
I was priviledged to participate. I look forward with some trepidation to see what indeed God will do with me in this whole new field. But I know that His heart is broken over all these daughters of His in slavery.
When you have 25 youth leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus all in the same room it can be crazy!
Just this past month our Perspektiva Training took place here in Moscow. Over the course of 8 intense days the students learned about writing a vision statement, putting together a team, listening to God's direction and a variety of other important lessons.
Living in various apartments, studying in a local seminary, eating 'home' cooked meals from our team members Lyba and Nastya meant that this Perspektiva had more of a relaxed atmosphere. But the key was not the external factors, but the internal connections it would seem.
Amazingly they were almost immediately a family. This group instantly connected and were already into deep dialogue and discussions before the end of the first day. How indeed should you get leaders involved in ministry? Should a teen be part of the leadership committee? Can you have valuable vision without experience? Etc!
Our team leader Lance said that in his opinion this really signified the growth of youth ministry in these countries, as the leaders were so one minded and like spirited that they instantly got along!
As a team we are excited to have all these students with us for 2 week periods over the next two years. We are indeed seeing the hand of God change youth ministry here at long last!
07 November 2006
There are a few people out there that just ooze an aura of fun - Maiya is one of those.
Everything she does has color and vibrancy.
And she loves youth!
This weekend I got to hang out with her a bit in her home away from home of St. Pete.
Over a salad and some tea we challenged each other on the issues of life, and discussed the psychoness of Russian drivers! Turns out that those in St. Pete are just as crazy as those in Moscow! Maiya just recently went through the mental frustrations of buying a Russian used car, getting technical documents, insurance and baptism by fire from the Road Police. But that is all a report for another day.
We had a great time and it was particularly rewarding to realize that she is going out and doing. She studied with our youth training course Perspektiva, and now is training others. And leading youth clubs! And supporting teenagers! And in general leading the life of a disciple.
Traveling is always more fun when done in twos! At least that is my opinion and the opinion of my Russian mobilization travel buddy Natasha K!
We just got back from a trip to St Petersburg where we were involved in a potential missionary training course. Around 25 potential Russian missionaries from all over participated in the 3 day seminars. We got to put on the face of short term trips!
Several of the students filled out applications hoping to follow God's call to the next place...where will that be? Our hope that as a result of our time there, they will hear the call and join us in Africa, Greece, Egypt, Vietnam...wherever!