Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Moldova Q&A

I will readily admit the question I hear most frequently these days is usually along the lines of, "Moldova? Where the (insert profanity of your choice here) is Moldova?"

For the record: Moldova is a landlocked nation in Eastern Europe close to the Black Sea, it sits between Ukraine and Romania.

Next question: "Why the (insert profanity of your choice here) are you going to Moldova?"

Short answer: I feel God calling me there....which, by the way, usually stifles the profanity in subsequent questions.

Next question: "When the...er...when are you going?"

Amy and I are going to Moldova in late December - it now looks like we may actually leave on New Year's Eve, we'll return around January 9th or 10th. Although our itinerary is not finalized, it appears we'll likely travel through Chicago, to Istanbul, and then onto Chisinau, which is about the only city I think you can actually fly to - in an aircraft I'll board unmedicated- in Moldova.

Next question: "Why the...um...Why are you going again?"

That God calling thing often begs further explanation. We are aligning ourselves with an organization known as the Children's Emergency Relief International or CERI, there's a new link on the sidebar, which does tremendous work helping children around the world. Our mission will essentially be to bring Christmas to orphans, of which there are thousands upon thousands in Moldova. Our contribution, at best, will make a very small dent in the unimaginable suffering these kids endure and, we pray, help them in some tiny way to avoid the bleak prospects of a future in the poorest nation in Eastern Europe. Our best hope is be mustard seeds of faith, and perhaps shine a light on an area too long ignored.

The truth is Moldova is a hotbed for industry, but the industries are child sex slavery, prostitution and various other forms of crime. The country is so poor many parents, loving parents...Christian parents, are forced to leave Moldova to find work. In the process they also make a decision which most anyone in this blessed land would find unconscionable - they leave their kids behind.

They leave their kids behind...a lot.

There are some 900 state-run orphanages/boarding schools in Moldova.


Moldova is the size of Maryland, about 13,000 square miles.

900 orphanages.

I'm told 25 percent of the nation's inhabitants have left...and many didn't take their own children with them. I can't imagine having to make that choice. I won't judge...instead I praise God that we have never and will never have walk in such shoes. We are blessed.

In Moldova, when kids reach 16 years old, the state support stops...completely. They're on their own in a world I don't want to imagine, but which nonetheless has been staring into our hearts and tormenting our dreams for many months.

We are going to try to show a very small number of these kids that they are loved, that God has not forgotten or abandoned them. That's it. That's really all we can do. Sure we'll stuff our bags with things the children need - Amy and I are finally going to learn how to really only pack the "essentials." The friends I have who have made this trip before us have come home with two empty bags and the clothes on their backs. I fully expect we'll do the same.

Next question:"How the...um...how can you afford to do this?"

Good question. The short answer is, we can't. Yet we've come to a place where we can't afford not to do it either.

I can almost see the hairs standing up on some of your necks right about now, but no, I'm not making a pitch here for contributions. Make no mistake, I'm not ruling that out, in fact it's likely in the weeks and months ahead, but right now I need more details about how contributions can be targeted, tax deductions and the like, and I still have a few personal financial balls in the air which will give me a better idea of what it's going to take.

If you're in a hurry, or better yet filthy rich, please feel free to email me and we'll talk about it.

I'm not really concerned about the financial aspects. God will find a way.

Next question:"Have you ever done anything like this before?"


"Will you accomplish anything?

That's actually my question and the answer is, I don't know. All I know is we're going to try...because we want to be obedient to God.

"Wouldn't you?"