Setting the scene
In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul places before Timothy the essential challenge with which he must be concerned. He is told to commit to faithful men those things he has learned so that they may be able to teach others. This verse describes perfectly the main focus of SGA’s ministry. Our aim is to equip, teach and support members of the Church throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia so that they might take the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to their own people. For 60 years SGA has done this in a variety of ways, not least through our Biblical Leadership programme. Since the year 2000, approximately 1800 students have benefitted from this training. As an illustration of how God has blessed this work let us introduce the Leadership Training programme in Moldova.
SGA in Moldova
Moldova is a former Communist country and the poorest in Europe. It has a population of 4.4 million, 93.3% of which would claim to be Eastern Orthodox. In 1992 the believers in Moldova made contact with SGA through the Romanian Church and their request was a simple one. “We are struggling,” they said. “We need your help”. So began a fruitful relationship that saw Pastors receive their first theological training of any kind. Over the years this work has continued, as a further 8 groups have gone through the 2 year programme. As you will see, God has used this programme to raise up Christian leaders in Moldova.
Schools in Moldova
SGA’s goal is to teach to a level of a Bible College in the west. The curriculum has been agreed with the leaders of the Moldovan Church and 4 times a year the students gather for a 2 week period in the town of Balti in the north of Moldova. There, SGA staff members and Church leaders from across the British Isles teach the various subjects through a translator. At the end of 2 years the students graduate with a diploma in theology endorsed by the Baptist Union of Moldova. It is hard work and demands commitment, but many testify to the difference this time of study has made to their lives and ministry.
Students in Moldova
Since 1994, 8 different groups consisting of 179 students, have gone through the Leadership Training programme. The first set of students graduated in 1995 and since then another group has done so every 2 years. The students come from every part of Moldova and are carefully chosen by Nikolai Malai, the local director of the school. They all see the great need to be properly trained and equipped for the work of the Gospel and so make sacrifices in order to attend the lectures. Many come from poor backgrounds and would not be able to be there without the support of SGA. As a result we commit to pay their expenses for the 2 weeks of the school. This is done gladly as many of the teachers testify that they encounter a commitment to God amongst the students in Moldova, which is rarely seen in our own land.
Service in Moldova
The main objective of the teaching programme in Moldova has always been the training of church planters who would then go on to lead the churches they have planted. By the grace of God this has happened as these students have been used throughout Moldova to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Churches have been planted, prisons visited, children’s ministry begun and extended, drug rehabilitation programmes initiated, local congregations revived and praise God, souls saved. An important extension of SGA’s ministry has been helping over 27 local churches to purchase a building. At times this has been challenging but the need is an obvious indication of the Lord’s blessing upon the work of His people.
Looking back over these many years of ministry within Moldova it is right to praise God for the amazing things He has done. When those initial meetings took place in 1992, very few would have realised the way God would bless His people. However the need is still great. Millions have never heard the Gospel. The Church is still a small minority in the country and over a 1000 villages have no evangelical witness. In the words of Pastor Nikolai Malai “we should not relax”.
So, as we honour the past, we seek your help in building for the future. Please commit to be partners in the Gospel as we equip more Christian leaders in Moldova.