When many think about missions in our present day, they may have images of persecution, suffering, and deprivation. In parts of the world, these mental pictures are confirmed by experience in graphic reality. While many of the hardships that missionaries face around the world may not be as severe in Eastern Europe, our HeartCry missionaries there do encounter trials. Jesus said that offenses would come, particularly for those who proclaim the Gospel. But while our brothers and sisters in the countries of Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine continue to weather their own winds of adversity, they have not ceased to expect the Lord of the Harvest to produce spiritual fruit in His time. For this reason, it is a great blessing and privilege for me to work with them. The men and women among the HeartCry missionaries are some of the most godly and effective ministers I have ever known!
Women in Missions
We should never underestimate the role of women in missions. Whether refining the doctrinal views of an Apollos like Priscilla and her husband, Aquilla, did in Acts 18:28; or extending care and concern toward the poor and widows like Dorcas in Acts 9:36-39; or sheltering Paul and Silas as Lydia did in Acts 16:40 after they were delivered from prison, the role of women is vital in missionary work.
While no woman in the New Testament bore the title of missionary, many embodied the heart and vision of one. Since the apostolic days of the Church in Acts, church history is replete with the lives and stories of women who possessed a missionary spirit. Women like Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, Florence Nightingale, Marie Monsen, Darlene Rose, Helen Roseveare and Elisabeth Elliot – to only name a few – left their mark upon Christ’s global enterprise.
What a joy and privilege it has been for HeartCry to partner with sisters that have captured the heart of the Lord Jesus, who came to seek and to save that which was lost. Women like Natalia Terentii, Dana L., and Ruxi Vandici possess the graces of sacrifice and an unwavering love for Christ. While all three women battle physical maladies at times, not to mention the loneliness that often accompanies singleness in missions, they press on in the work of the kingdom.
Moldova - Natasa Terenti
Natalia serves with Igor and Mariana Seremet at the Philadelphia Church in Anenii Noi, Moldova, where she works in the children’s ministry and with the older women. Given to hospitality, Natalia serves the young and old alike by cooking, making crafts, and encouraging them each week in the noble pursuit of attaining Christ. Recently, Natalia organized a baby shower to minister to a needy sister who was expecting her fifth child. She reports:
“Each of us brought food and a present for Liuda. Everything was a surprise for her. We decorated the room where we had the baby shower, and then we all cheered when she entered the room. Liuda was so surprised, as she had never had a baby shower before. Thank God for our sister! Please pray for her as she and her children stay in a rented house where they have no gas or running water.”
Romania - Dana L. & Ruxi Vandici
Dana and Ruxi work together to share Christ with the college students in Bucharest. The ministry of Dana L. encompasses organizing evangelistic events, mentoring female students, and teaching a Bible study on the Gospel at the Pregnancy Center. She relates what recently happened at the Center:
“There are 4-6 ladies attending the chapel hour, as they call it, and each of them has a different Christian background, knowledge, and interest. At the last group discussion, one of them asked me, ‘Why do we have to do this Bible study?’ But another said, ‘I appreciate it very much. It helps me understand spiritual things.’”
Recently, Dana shared with us that she was seeing some encouraging signs through the Christian literature table she and Ruxi had set up on the college campus:
“The outreach at the book table has been very fruitful lately due to your prayers and the workings of the Lord. In June, I met a Romanian-Turkish young man and his friend. Every Sunday he came to the evangelistic Bible discussion at my church. He has not missed one discussion since we met! He also started an individual Bible study with our pastor. Pray for his salvation.”
Involved in student ministry for many years, Ruxi Vandici has been a faithful minister of the Gospel. Her love for Christ and the students has afforded her great favor among the young people in Bucharest. In spite of being wearied at times by a nagging health condition, she has remained devoted in her task of evangelizing and teaching students. She writes:
“The highlight of the month was a one-and-a-half hour discussion in the dorms with two Muslim students. My coworker and I were in the dorms with our Christian literature table, and two young men stopped. They were from the Middle East and were studying here in Romania. We had a very good discussion with them: they explained Islam to us, and then we explained Christianity to them. We asked them what they believed was the core message of Christianity, and they said something about following Jesus by obeying His commands. We told them that the core message of Christianity is the Gospel, and we had the opportunity to share it with them. We talked a lot about the Trinity and about Jesus being the Son of God. We also talked about the fact that no one is good, and even one bad thought condemns us to hell, because sin is against an infinitely worthy God. They insisted that good people will go to heaven, since they can outweigh their sins with their good deeds. We showed them that the Bible says that there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood, because the wages of sin is death. They were very surprised to hear that! It was obvious that they had believed Christianity was also a works-based religion. They were shocked when we told them that the Bible teaches that we cannot do anything to save ourselves and that it is only through Jesus’ death as a penalty for our sins that one could be saved and go to heaven. It was really encouraging to have this discussion. One of them in particular seemed more open, and he told us that he wanted to study about Christianity, since he was taught this was the closest religion to Islam. He wanted a New Testament in English, and he said he wanted to go to an English-speaking church! It is wonderful how the Lord works.”
Please pray for our single female missionaries and all of our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe. Pray for their protection and that God’s Spirit would make their presentation of the Gospel effectual to the regeneration of sinners. Also, pray that they would continually find Christ as their sweetest Refuge in their everyday trials.