OM feeds the hungry in body and spirit

By April 11, 2016

Moldova (OM/MNN) — [Editor’s note: This article features the writing of Esther Hippel, in italics. Find the original publication here.] 

Have you ever been weary, without food, and without friendships? A man in Moldova has, to the point he didn’t see why he should live–at least until he encountered a taste of Jesus while on the road.

Through a partnership with local churches, Operation Mobilization is helping share the Gospel and be Christ’s hands and feet through its Relief and Development program in Moldova. They are helping churches operate an elderly care project, along with many other projects.

(Photo Courtesy Operation Mobilization)

(Photo courtesy Operation Mobilization)

Sometimes this work can be as simple as a trip to say hello or deliver a hot meal to a neighbor in need. Or, it can be both! And for Vasile, this was exactly what he needed.

“I was often thinking that there is no reason to live on this earth,” recalled *Vasile from the village of Porumbești, in southern Moldova. “My wife died a few years ago, and I had an accident with an axe and lost a leg. I have remained alone and powerless.”

However, his outlook on life began to change one day when he was hobbling down the road on his crutches and was met by a woman from the local evangelical church. The woman worked in the elderly care centre run by OM Moldova through this church, and she decided that Vasile should benefit from the project.

Now five days a week a hot meal is brought to Vasile, easing his physical need as well as his loneliness–and making him wonder why he is being treated with such care.

“I have spoken with him about the love of God; he listens with pleasure, asks many questions, and we are happy that we included him in the project,” the woman shared. Vasile himself feels the same way: “I like this church; the people there care for others whom nobody else cares about,” he said.

The elderly care centre in Porumbești is a relatively young one, having been started in May 2014, but it has already helped to bring huge changes to the lives of the poor and neglected elderly it serves, as well as the surrounding society. The workers emphasize that in all they do, they strive to please God, not aim to impress people; but they are nevertheless aware that they are being watched.

They can see how this work is making people favourably disposed towards the believers and ‘their’ God.The village community appreciates what they are doing and recognises it as something good – and much more so those who receive warm food five times a week, who are lonely, abandoned and often also sick and bedridden.

(Photo Courtesy Nicolas Raymond via Facebook)

(Photo courtesy Nicolas Raymond via Facebook)

It is often said that older people find it harder to change their worldview – and therefore also more rarely come to faith. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in Porumbești, at least not among those receiving provisions through the elderly care project.

“I am grateful that there are people with a fear of God who show such kindness. I have joy in this hot meal which is given with great love,” said *Tudor, a 63-year-old widower whose children are working abroad to survive. As with Vasile and many others, the care he received excited an interest in God.

However, whereas Vasile is still discussing and asking questions about God, Tudor has gone further: “I have been coming to church for a year now, and I realised that I need to make a commitment to God,” he shared. “On the first of November I did so through baptism. I love Jesus because I have understood how much He loves me. I love the church, and I feel that there is something new within me: a new relationship with people and with my Heavenly Father who cares for me.”

He was not the first to take this step of faith. Earlier in the year, the small church had already celebrated the baptism of another: *Pavel had been suffering loneliness, poverty, and physical limitations, and just like Vasile he had questioned the sense of life – until unexpected hope came to him.

“I am now 56 years old, but my sufferings and loneliness made me look like an old man,” he shared. “I have a sickness in my legs and have to move around with the help of crutches. After my wife’s death, I had very dark thoughts and considered suicide, but God had mercy on me. Through this project I heard that God cares about me.”

Not only did Pavel decide to go on with life, but through coming to faith he completely changed, and through baptism desired to publicly proclaim the source of this change. Today this once-suicidal man joyfully declares: “I am a child of God; life has received a purpose!”

Please pray that Vasile would come to know Christ, that God would continue to work through church and OM workers, and for more people to come to know the love God has for them, even if it’s through a simple meal.

To donate to Operation Mobilization, click here.

To learn more about OM’s work in Moldova, click here.

*last names omitted for privacy reasons

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