Hopeful and Happy Bells
Long before the craziness of crowds flocking to Times Square to watch the ball drop, New Yorkers would congregate farther downtown at Wall Street’s Trinity Church to truly ring out the old and in the New Year with a concert by the church’s official bell ringer. Ringing bells was once a central part of the holiday.
Communities used to celebrate the old year’s passing and welcome the new one by ringing bells, usually in churches.
In the mid-1800s, Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote an epic poem that included the following stanza:
“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.”Ring out the Old
We pray to see the end of the war between Ukraine and Russia taking place on our eastern border. Refugees are flowing into Moldova recently due to Ukrainian power stations being bombed. ABWE friends and colleagues in Odesa tell us that they are only getting power on average of about an hour or two a day.
Moldovan President Sandu told CNN earlier this month that:
". . . keeping Moldova part of the free world" remained their primary focus. Speaking of the current military threats to Moldova, President Sandu noted that "Ukraine defends its freedom, but also defends Moldova's freedom…" (Moldova Matters, David Smith, December 15, 2022, https://moldovamatters.substack.com/p/weekly-roundup-ead?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email)
On Christmas Eve, the Imago Dei Baptist Church is holding a special meeting for Ukrainian refugees. Many of these refugees are living in apartments supplied by the Imago Dei church and receive twice weekly food packages at the church facility. We will be sharing a wonderful meal with the refugees and giving special gifts to the children. The gospel will be shared Christmas Eve with these dear people as well as other invited guests. Please pray that this service will have an eternal impact on so many unsaved souls.
Teaching in 2022
The fall semester at the Christian University (UDG) where we teach has concluded. Several UDG students are headed to Turkey on a short-term mission trip which we are helping to fund due to your generous giving. The Imago Dei Church was also able to help greatly with the funding needed by this team of short-term missionaries. Two of these students just finish the evangelism course that Rich teaches, and we are thrilled that the Lord is giving them this opportunity to practice what they have studied. Please pray for this team of students and members of local churches here in Chișinău as they travel to Turkey to share the salvation found in Christ alone.
To celebrate the end of the semester in one of Rich’s evangelism courses, there was a pizza party. It was Rich’s birthday and one of the students who was gifted in drawing drew a picture of Rich which the class framed and gave to him that day. Jo Ann and I were both blessed to experience the love and respect of these precious young university students.
Some of the students in Rich's evangelism class
This is the drawing that Liliana (on the left) drew with her iPad
Ring in the New
There are some exciting new opportunities awaiting us as the New Year begins.
Teaching in 2023
Jo Ann will once again be teaching English at the Christian University (UDG). The schedule is yet to be establish. She is also teaching conversational English to some of the leaders at the Imago Dei church. Rich will also be teaching at the University, and it remains to be seen which courses he will have. Please pray as we join the staff at UDG training these young students in the Winter/Spring semester of 2023.
Jo Ann with some of her English students from Central Asia
Church Planting Institute
Rich has been in conversations with a Moldovan entrepreneur businessman/church planter about training committed leaders of new church plants. Our church-planting friend has already started at least 4 new churches in the villages outside of Chișinău. The Lord has called several young men and their families to lead these churches, but they have not been blessed with much ministry training or experience. These leaders need mentoring and training as do the men who will pastor other new church plants that we are envisioning.
In the middle of January, before classes begin at UDG, Rich and fellow ABWE missionary, Bill Braun, plan to meet with our friend to hammer out the plan for starting this new Institute of Church Planting here in Moldova. It will be much like a repeat of what we did in India and Nicaragua many years ago. Please pray as we plan and then launch this new initiative here in the villages of Moldova.
Hopeful and Happy New Year
We want to wish each of you a wonderful celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior. Jo Ann and I will be spending Christmas Eve and both services on Christmas Day with our brothers and sisters at the Imago Dei Church celebrating the birth of the Messiah.
We are very hopeful as we wait to see how the Lord works in this coming year. We are so thankful for each of you who pray for us and many who give that we might be here. May the Lord bless you greatly as we all continue to serve Him until He takes us to be with Him. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Rich teaching in the School of Missions in India (2006). By God's grace, we may be able to do something very similar in Moldova this coming year.