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Mark Fashevsky | Director Help the Children
Giving out shoes and toys at the orphanage was joyous and sad. It was joyous be-cause kids were happy when receiving the shoes and toys. It was sad because the toys and shoes were received from the hands of strangers and not from the hands of their mothers and fathers.
My neighbor’s 19 year-old daughter, Victoria, came along as a volunteer. When she returned home I was told she burst into tears. It seemed strange because we Transnistrians are not surprised by the scenes of deprivation and need. These scenes are quite commonplace in our day-to-day life, but one can hardly control himself when it comes to the most vulnerable – the children.
We did very little by giving out the shoes, toys and hygiene packs. As I write these lines I think of Tanya, Natasha, Victor, Sasha – underprivileged children of Transnis-tria. I want to believe that the help that was given was one brick of kindness which will be followed by another brick. And brick by brick we will do more to make the lives of the children happy. Thank you to all who took part in this project which was provided and distributed by the HTC Canadian partners.
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After returning from Moldova in July, I began praying for a Christian brother, Nicolai Seletskaya, who lives in the village of Crasnoe. We visited him to express our continued love and concern (Nicolai and Lena pictured here).
Upon our arrival, I greeted him with a hug. As we embraced, he uttered my name, “Joel?” The tears fell. I thought of the days we spent together only a year ago. We constructed a small addition on his home to facilitate housing HTC orphans. This physically powerful man, even with his 90% vision loss, labored beside me and Eli Hochstetler as we laid the block walls and installed the roof system. This truly humble man had served his family, community and church for many years and was loved and respected by them all.
Were the tears because of the memory of our labor together a year ago, the sorrow of not being able to see me or express his heart in my language? Perhaps it was the darkness he now lives in or the feelings of uselessness as he now has to rely on his daughter to lead him around the house, yard and neighborhood? Grief lined his face and I needed no interpreter to know it.
- Lynda Hockensmith led the Help the Children team with three professional therapists. Their activities included play therapy, teaching the staff and parents, one-on- one counselling, and games and activities for the children and students involved in the program.
- Joel Barrett led the construction team. He and Eli Hochstetler finished an addition to Yarik and Natalie’s home that was started in the spring. Yarik and Natalie foster a child from a local orphanage and desire to take more children into their home. This is now possible with the extra room they have.
- Carrie Romanin led the children’s ministry outreaches. The team had the opportunity to help with a Bible club in an orphanage, an appreciation dinner for the Bible club leaders, carnivals, an outreach to university students and to children whose mothers are in prison.
- Paul Hostetler worked with the leadership of Open Heaven Church, discussed the future of the thrift stores with Mark Fashevsky and participated in the outreaches.
SMI is thankful for the leaders that the Lord has raised up in order for us to be involved in so many ministries. Even more so, we are thankful for the depth of relationships that these leaders have with our partners.
Our team was at the final meeting of the Campus Crusade outreach. They were looking over the group who were a part of the summer evangelistic outreach. Our team recognized students who accepted Jesus in Bible clubs; there were students from the Help the Children program, members and leaders from Open Heaven Church and students from our university partners. One of the team leaders mentioned how the seeds that have been planted through the years have produced fruit. SMI is grateful for the opportunity to participate in short-term missions and experience the Lord’s blessing of long-term effects.
Thank you for your prayers and partnership. We can not do what we do with out you.
July 15. This is a travel day for our team. Pray that we make all our connections and that our luggage arrives safely. We will be departing from Cleveland, to Charlotte NC, to Munich and then on to Chisinau.
July 16. Arrival in Tiraspol is in the early afternoon. Pray for safety on the highway and for a smooth transition into our living quarters for the next two weeks.
July 17. Today the team will be preparing for the week; meeting with our partner leaders and making any final adjustments to the schedule.
July 18. Pray for Joel to find all the supplies required to improve the house where he is working. Ask the Lord to use his labors to open hearts. Pray also for Nora, Shirley and Jess arriving from the U.S. today.
July 19. Pray as the team partners with Campus Crusade for Christ for a 5-day training in evangelism and discipleship. Ask that hearts would be open and for opportunities to share the Gospel. July 20. Pray for the Help the Children (HTC) team (Lynda, Nora, Jess, & Shirley) that they would be able to connect quickly with the staff and the foster families.
July 21.The team will participate in the “Boom” meeting tonight. This will be a meeting with university students and the theme will be “Follow Me”. Pray that this will be the day that many will truly follow Christ.
July 22.Pray for the evangelistic outreach that will take place along the river in Tiraspol. There will be carnival games, volleyball and prizes.
July 23.Today is the last day of the program with Campus Crusade. Pray that this will not be the end of evangelization for them and that it will continue throughout the year.
Continue reading by downloading the full version of the prayer guide
The event was English Club sponsored by SMI and hosted by Open Heaven Church. The SMI mission team led the program designed to provide interaction and conversation with Western English speakers.
As the session began, a shout from the back of the room was heard, “Help, help!” “Emergency” Two young men were carrying one of our team members to the front. Heart trouble was suspected. They placed him on our makeshift surgical table while our team of “doctors and nurses” prepared for heart surgery. Our anesthesiologist put the patient to sleep using a hammer; surgery began. All kinds of blockages; money, pride, lust and other junk that were blocking a heart of love for God were removed. The surgical team replaced them with a new red (paper) heart and the whole team broke into song; “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.” The English Club attendees sang with us.
The themes of love and the heart were based on discussions the day before with the English Club. When asked what their greatest need for affirmation was, the majority said, “to be loved.” As a part of the English exercise, red paper hearts were distributed to everyone. Their assignment, write a small love poem. Here is what some of them said.
- It is raining outside but you are in my heart. That’s why I feel calm inside,andmy soul will never turn apart.
- You are my love, you are my hope. I want you to know, I love you so.
- You are my sunshine that warms my soul. No matter how far we’re apart, I love you with all my heart.
- Flowers and bees, sunshine and trees, birds and sky, everybody love each other like I love you.
This room full of bright young men and women expressed their greatest need; to be loved. Pray each student personally meets our great God, who loved them and sent His Son to redeem them and reveal true love. Thank you for making these opportunities possible through your prayers and financial support.
Download our Summer Newsletter to see what else God is doing through SMI.
SMI thanks the Lord for everything that was accomplished during the team’s two weeks in Moldova, Transnistria (April 22 – May 5). To the right is a slideshow of the sights and activities from the trip.
Here are a few of the highlights
Construction Project: Joel Barrett led the construction project and along with a crew of nationals, they were able to begin an addition on Yarik and Natalie’s house. They recently took a foster daughter into their home and they needed additional space. She is currently sleeping in the hallway and with this addition, she will be able to have her own room.
Women’s Teas: The teas were a great success. The women were a little apprehensive at first but once they were engaged in the program, they loved it. It was a great opportunity for the ladies to bring their unbelieving friends. Pray that the seeds of the Gospel and of encouragement will take root in their hearts.
The atmosphere in the crowded apartment room was electric with anticipation. The conversations were an interesting mixture of Russian, some Romanian and a sprinkle of English as these local university students met together. The 12 students had gathered to plan strategies for reaching their fellow students with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we watched their leader Igor Velicanenco (pictured to the right with his wife Christina), local Campus Crusade representative, take charge of the meeting, we were impressed with the interest, attentiveness and zeal of the students. We were there representing SMI and our partnership with Igor. We met Igor and his wife Christina about 10 years before when he pastored a small church in the village of Sucleia. His church was a part of the network of churches where SMI sponsored summer Bible clubs. Their zeal for the Lord was reflected in the excitement of the children and their passion for serving God was evident as many of the children asked Jesus into their hearts.
Click here to download a printable version of the prayer calendar
April 22: This is a travel day for our team. Pray that we will make all our connections and that our luggage arrives with us. We will be traveling from Cleveland, to Washington DC, to Vienna and then on to Chisinau.
April 23: Today the team arrives in Chisinau. Esley and Paul will remain in Chisinau to spend time with Cristi, a church planter, and Dima, leader of the Moldovan Antioch Movement. The other 5 team members will be traveling to Tiraspol. Pray for safety and a good night’s rest.
April 24: As the team in Tiraspol confirms their plans for the week, ask that the Lord will orchestrate divine appointments. Pray also as Esley and Paul meet with Cristi and Dima that the Lord would reveal creative ways to work together.
April 25: Paul and Esley will join the team in Tiraspol. Pray for travel safety. This evening in Tiraspol, Carrie and Ellaine will be hosting a ladies’ evangelistic and fellowship tea. This is one of three tea outreaches this week; pray for open hearts. Continue reading