A Postcard from Moldova

The Urasinov family

We’ve just arrived in Russia after a long and fruitful 3-week trip (8043km, 5026 miles total). We spent 2 weeks in Montenegro and then visited new ground in Romania and Moldova. In Montenegro, we were able to visit family, friends and ministry partners. It was great to encourage and be encouraged by our Christian family there.

As we passed through Romania on our way to Moldova, we unexpectedly made great connections in Sighișoara, right in the heart of Transylvania. We were welcomed warmly by local believers and learned a bit about what God is doing in that area. We hope to visit again (and it was fun driving through the Carpathian Mountains).

We went to Moldova to meet the Urasinovs, a Christian foster family in Soroca, just across the Dniester River from Ukraine. Early this year I (Mike) received an email from a Norwegian believer I had met a few years ago. He’s been helping the Urasinovs, and as he was praying for them my name came into his mind. So, he felt that perhaps the Lord wanted me to be involved in some way. I immediately started communicating with the Urasinovs.  My purpose in the visit was to build relationship and discern if the Lord wants Stoneworks to partner with them.

Victor and Victoria are foster/adoptive parents to 8 children and have two biological children. Victor was a drug addict who came to the Lord several years ago. They’ve now opened their home to abandoned children. Two children are currently at university and one was out of the house when I took the picture above. Victor is the pastor of a Full Gospel church (about 50 members).

They are fairly isolated. They partner only with the Norwegians, who visit less than once a year. They’ve never hosted a mission team or received help from the States. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, and it quite an experience to visit there. Most of the population is either quite old or young; many adults have left to find work in other countries (never to return), so many  children are living with grandparents and then orphaned when the grandparents die.

We really like the Urasinov family and had a good visit, though it was too short. We look forward to seeing if/how the Lord opens doors for us to pursue partnership with them.

Dniester River, Ukraine on left, Moldova on right

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A Postcard from Estonia

I (Mike) have just seen the fulfillment of a dream. For the past two years we’ve thought that it would be great to send children from Russia to a Christian camp in Estonia. Well, it’s come to pass: MIR, in partnership with Love Russia UK, have sent 43 foster children and 6 Estonian orphans to Camp Gideon, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. A team of about 30 from the UK met the children and have been running a two-week camp. Interpreters from Russia are also serving there. The foster parents also went to camp, and it’s been a GREAT help to them to have a holiday in Estonia.

Russians have a saying — the first pancake is always a mess. So, while things have not been as smooth as we would have liked, the Brits have already committed to doing the camp again next year.

The Russian government changed laws making it more difficult for MIR to send children from orphanages out of the country, and this is one reason we had to stop the hosting program to the US. However, we are able to work with orphans in foster families. This looks to be a fruitful part of MIR’s work from here on.

MIR has several new things coming up and yet is going through a tight time financially. We’ve been in the situation before: hard times that are accompanied by new growth.

Please keep us in prayer as we discern what God has next for MIR and the ministry in Russia.