Welcome to Moldova

John Birnie

From John Birnie

‘Moldova’s road to nationhood has remained bumpy—from the first efforts at nation-building to the country’s pursuit of peace and prosperity in the 21st century.’

So reads the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s introduction to the modern Republic of Moldova. Almost everything about its history is complex – geographical boundaries, ethnic mix, political ties, government and economy. For much of its history it has been subjugated to more powerful nations, culminating in its inclusion in the USSR and domination by Soviet Communism. Moldova became an independent republic in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet system and took its first steps along that ‘bumpy road’ to nationhood.

With its rich agricultural land Moldova was part of ‘the bread basket’ of the Soviet Union, but today the lack of industry and trade with their attendant investment and employment opportunities, prevents the country from benefiting as it should from its black, productive soil. The economy is depressed; unemployment is high; wages are low; corruption is widespread. The country is divided politically and culturally, many wanting alignment with Russia, and others desiring co-operation with Europe, and eventually inclusion in the European Union. Moldova is among the poorest countries in Europe and evidence of that is not hard to find in the villages, towns, and cities.

Fertile Land

The great majority of the population is professedly Eastern Orthodox in religion, and suspicious of evangelicals. Many, encouraged by their priests, actively oppose believers and try to obstruct them in their witness and ministry. This is especially true of Moldova’s thousands of villages where the authority of the priest is strong, and where traditionally people are very conservative in religion.

Today it is estimated that there are still over 1,000 villages without an evangelical witness, perhaps without even one believer living in them. Moldova is needy not just materially and economically, but spiritually.

Moldova Orthodox Church
Moldova Fruit
The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.
Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission, emphasizing the importance of mission

Balti is the second city of Moldova. The large Bethany Church building there has been the hub of SGA’s ministry since the inception of the work there in 1993, and it continues to be the location for the Mission School which is at the heart of our Biblical Leadership Training programme. Over the past twenty-five years the effects of that training programme have spread through the northern region of the country, enabling and supporting a thriving programme of evangelism and church planting in hundreds of villages which previously had no Gospel church. Students who have trained at the school have been instrumental in reaching into spiritually dark communities, establishing churches, and sustaining a Gospel ministry which God has been pleased to bless and use to bring many to Christ.

Bethany Church where the Mission school is held

Hand in hand with the core ministry of leadership training, SGA has supported prayerfully and financially many other ministries and projects – care and provision for orphans and widows, the provision of church buildings, transport for pastors and preachers in the form of cars and motorbikes, emergency help in crisis situations, and support for children’s and youth work. You will read about some of these in this edition of Breakthrough which has been given over to a review of the encouragements and blessings of SGA’s 25 years of ministry in that country.

To God be the glory!