Past Faithfulness - Future Vision

Dedicated, devoted, determined, and dependable are all terms that could be used to sum up the ministry of Pastor Nikolai Malai who led the work of SGA in Moldova for 25 years.

In 1993 SGA staff member William Smylie travelled to the northern city of Balti to teach a group of pastors who had never received any formal theological training. This was part of a much larger initiative to equip 150 pastors in three locations during that year. During his visit, William was particularly impressed with the director responsible for the Balti centre – Nikolai Malai! Struck by Nikolai’s organizational skills and efficiency, William was convinced that if the teaching programme was to continue in Balti then Nikolai Malai was the one to lead it.

One of the many Mission Schools

William Smylie recalls a conversation he had with the Baptist Union President and General Secretary about the future. As they expressed their deep desire to have a regular school in Balti with more in-depth teaching, William suggested that Nikolai lead the work. When he further enquired about a starting date for the two-year course at the Mission School they replied, ‘Yesterday if possible, but not later than today for tomorrow may be too late’.

In 1994 the Mission School commenced with Nikolai at the helm. William was appointed by SGA’s Field Director Trevor Harris to oversee the Moldova ministry and its development. Under Nikolai’s supervision, SGA’s involvement increased to include student sponsorship and the provision of student libraries. The ministry expanded beyond the classroom and across the country as Nikolai mentored graduates and became aware of further pressing needs. Leadership support was introduced whereby missionary pastors received financial help, transport was provided for the missionaries, and church buildings were funded. Later, the widows' project, camp ministry, and medical ministry were added as further projects.

We have to use every opportunity while God allows this time of freedom.

Over many years of serving together, Nikolai proved himself to be totally dedicated and dependable. He served with humility and wisdom. He was greatly loved by the SGA team and his strong leadership and unwavering faith was an inspiration to all who served with him. To mark his faithful service, the SGA Board of Directors conferred on Nikolai the title of ‘Mission School Honorary Director’. We wish Nikolai and his wife Tamara God’s richest blessing for the future.

While God’s servants retire from leading roles, God’s work continues! Picking up Nikolai’s mantle, Pastor Peter Mihalchiuk will oversee SGA’s growing ministry including the directorship of the school.
As ‘Regional Co-ordinator’ his vision is to equip and engage those who are ready to be involved in God’s work. He points out that the early groups of students consisted mainly of active pastors and missionaries who were deprived of Biblical education under the former Soviet Union, but the current students are younger, with great potential and huge opportunities.

Peter Mil

Peter’s deep desire is to spread the Gospel to every community in Moldova. He emphasizes that, ‘we have to use every opportunity while God allows this time of freedom.’ When a church leader visited Germany, he was asked the question: ‘What is the present situation of freedom in the Post-Soviet countries?’ He replied, ‘In Russia, the doors are already closing; in Ukraine the doors are wide open; in Moldova there are no doors as they took them off!’
Please pray for Peter and his wife Luda as they serve with SGA in their responsible role.