Moldova to the Nations!

Posted on July 29, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

Last week Bobbye and I were privileged to be a part of one of the most inspirational conferences we have experienced in a long time. Sponsored by a partnership with the North Carolina Convention, the missionaries sent out by the Union of Baptist Churches in Moldova gathered for a missionary conference for the first time in six years. The numbers have grown considerably in that time as more than 200 personnel gathered for sharing, encouragement and training (pictured in the open-air pavilion). For those of you who are geographically challenged, Moldova, formerly a part of USSR, is a small country between Romania and the Ukraine.

Moldova-worshipOver the years a large part of our role with the IMB has been to attend annual regional meetings of our personnel in various parts of the world, speak at their prayer retreats and minister to them in stateside conferences. So we felt very much at home among the participants though few of them spoke English and we were constantly calling for a translator. With only 20,000 members in Moldova Baptist Churches, the Union is probably number one in the world in proportion of missionaries sent out relative to membership. It would be four times that of Southern Baptists!

Moldova-menOur week began with preaching in churches Sunday morning and evening and then conferring with Baptist leadership in preparation for the conference. Moldova is one of a handful of countries (mostly Eastern Europe) is which the president is designated as bishop. John Miron, pictured on the right, fills that role; beside him are Nickolai and Alexander, vice-presidents. On the left is Valeriu, the previous president and a former friend who led the union when I met occasionally with Baptist leaders from around the world.

Moldova-Jerry&groupThe theme of the conference was “Standing Strong” from Ephesians 6:12; I led 3-hour session each morning on spiritual warfare with rotating small groups, one of which is pictured. Bobbye spoke each day on “Standing Strong as a Wife and Mother on the Mission Field,” but we felt our most valuable time was in the informal sharing and discussions. These personal times increased in number and intensity as we became acquainted and missionaries began to pour out their hearts with their challenges, family needs, search for effective strategies and even dealing with persecution.

Moldova-Bobbye&friendsOver half of the group is spread out all over Russia, using their common language while many are serving in almost every republic of Central Asia. We especially enjoyed talking with those from Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan and India where we worked years ago. Our hearts went out to them knowing their meager support–most have to work at jobs to provide for their family–and isolation, seldom returning to visit family and churches; one had been back only twice in 13 years, yet they labor faithfully in the place God has called them. Their testimonies each evening left us in tears (a family from Russia is pictured sharing), and their worship and praise–usually in both Romanian and Russian, made us feel the anointing of God’s presence as He touched His most humble and godly servants.


One Comment on “Moldova to the Nations!”

  1. Allan Blume

    I’m so glad you were able to serve with the great folks in Moldova. I’m blessed to read your report! I appreciate the way you blessed them.

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