This is my first year going to Moldova with Kingdoms kids, in fact it’s my first time ever doing any type of ministry work outside of the United States. I heard about it about five months before the trip, which I thought was too late considering everyone had been spending the whole year fundraising in preparation for the trip. It wasn’t even something I took seriously because I didn’t have the means to go and I figured the chances were extremely slim. But I was reminded of God’s word in Proverbs 3:5-6 that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Putting my faith in God was something that I was really praying about in those couple of months and so I decided this was a great opportunity to just pray about and see what doors God would open. I have been blessed with extremely supportive parents who jumped at the idea as soon as it was mentioned by me; that part was quickly taken care of. I really didn’t know what to expect going into this experience because leaving the states was in and of itself a new experience let alone being in a country doing ministry work. A part of me was excited, but another part was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of getting out of my comfort zone, entering into a new country, with a new language.
After a total of 20+ hours invested in traveling, we arrived at our destination in Chisinau, Moldova. The first day we spent there, took us through what we should expect inside our groups, inside our specific communities. Someone there began to speak concerning 2 Corinthians 14-16 which says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance of life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” This set the tone for the whole week. I began to think about what it would be like to be an example for those who haven’t experienced God’s love and grace. Often times our actions hold more power to present God than even our words. It was the chance for me to really consider how exactly I was going to represent God.
I began my trip with an exaggerated idea of how God would emotionally rewire my brain so that my relationship with him would be stronger. Although a relational change had occurred through my experiences in Moldova, they didn’t happen quite as I envisioned they would. In reality, God worked in me, through every day and every experience, in little increments. I now realize that He molds His children through very real, every day events. My time there went like this:
- Our group stayed with a community of kids in Hirtopul Mare for 8 days. We actually had a pretty fun time. It didn’t seem like anything insanely life changing; it felt quite normal and in response to my expectations, unexpected. We played a lot with the kids, spent time with them, shared lessons and songs together. Don’t get me wrong it was amazing, just not what I had played out in my head.
- On the first day of being in Moldova one of the women told our group, “these kids might end up making a bigger impact on you, then you will on them”. At first it sounded funny, but I now realize what she meant. Our intention was to arrive there and impact others, to plant seeds in the hearts of that community. While this had happened, I was surprised to find what this woman predicted, fulfilled. I had been changed; God used these children to plant a seed in my heart. A slow realization of this began to come over me. I also began to feel a joy for ministry that I honestly never expected, or even searched for.
- I had already planned my life out. I wanted to get a psychology degree, get married, have kids; essentially lead a normal life. But many times God has plans that we do not have. However, they are far greater plans and expectations than I could ever imagine or accomplish on my own. I came home with a new passion and love for ministry. I remember receiving a teaching that really left a mark on me a year ago. The pastor had said, “We look at missionaries and we put them in a special category. They are super Christians.”
- He was so right, for that was exactly my perspective. I often see them as these amazing, devout people that give up everything: material possessions, comfort, and security in order to live a life completely for God. It’s something that still amazes me and scares me at the same time; I feel as if I am unable to live up to that category. I wake up every day with this struggle of either living a life completely devoted to God or pleasing myself. We are a prideful people that constantly think of ourselves and many times I have to give myself a conscious reminder that this life is not my own; I was created for the sole purpose of praising God with my entire life. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20
Yes, in the end I didn’t come back with this dramatic, life changing story. I came back with a little, itty bitty mustard seed, planted deep within me. But that seed, when watered by faith will grow to infinite heights. The experience was memorable, but more than anything, I’m excited to see all that God has planned in my life. Moving forward in my life and my relationship with God, I have learned that I must live by the verse Matthew 6:33, so that God can continue to surprise me in his plans, and continue to use me in the lives of others; “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.”