Moldovan women hungry for spiritual truth
    April 15 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    When Nadea Dunas began a women’s ministry in her church she did not have anyone to show her what to do or how to get started, and she did not know who to even ask such questions. Dunas, whose husband is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cahul in southern Moldova, said starting the ministry was very hard.

    Dunas grew up in a church that lacked leaders to teach the congregation how to study the Bible, or women to teach and mentor other women — which she wanted very much.

    Dunas recently attended a women’s conference at Emmanuel sponsored by the Baptist State Convention (BSC). The BSC sent a team to Moldova to lead in women’s conferences in different parts of the country, as well as pastor’s conferences and a youth conference.

    BSC photo

    Women sing during one of the conferences led by N.C. Baptists to train Moldovans in March. The Office of Great Commission Partnerships sent a team to work with the Baptist Union of Moldova. See photo gallery.

    The conferences were part of the BSC’s launch of a Great Commission Partnership with the Baptist Union of Moldova. Dunas called the conference and partnership “a new beginning;” an opportunity for believers in Moldova, men and women, to grow closer to Jesus Christ.

    One of the things she learned from the women’s conference was how to share her faith with others. “Sometimes you think it’s so hard to share the gospel,” she said. “But today I understand that it’s so easy to begin.” Dunas learned that opportunities to witness often come through small acts of kindness and simply being willing to get to know people.

    Ashley Allen, director of Embrace Women’s Missions and Ministries, led the teaching time on evangelism, speaking from John 4. Allen shared how the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well that day went and told others about her encounter with the Savior. Many came to faith in Christ because of her testimony.

    “We’ve experienced Jesus ourselves,” Allen said. “We can be like the woman at the well and share Christ with others.”

    Pam Blume, who has served on the International Mission Board’s (IMB) Board of Trustees and various BSC committees, and Bobbye Rankin, wife of Jerry Rankin who is president emeritus of the IMB, joined Allen on the women’s teaching team. Blume spoke about leaving a spiritual legacy, and Rankin shared about missions.

    Allen and the teaching team heard over and over again women saying, “I will take this back.” What they learned that day they will take back to their homes, churches and communities. With the start of this new partnership comes many prayers — from this side of the world and from Moldova — that more training and equipping will take place in Moldova, as well as more laborers to join in helping Moldovan believers advance the work God is already doing.

    Immediately after Allen spoke at the Cahul conference the women went into a special time of prayer. Allen said Eugenia, the women’s ministry director for the Baptist Union, sensed God was working in hearts so she asked the ladies to stop and take time right after the message to pray.  

    “Women were praying aloud and they were praying so passionately,” Allen said. “Knowing those ladies were making a commitment right then to do more when it comes to evangelism was very humbling.” Revival also came in the hearts of women during the conference in Chisinau. Rankin spoke from Exodus 15 about how when the Israelites came to Marah they could not drink the water because it was bitter.

    Yet, they cried out to God, and He answered their cries and made the water sweet. Rankin asked the women to get into groups of two or three and pray. Throughout the room, women lifted up prayers to God in Russian, Romanian and English.  

    “It was a sweet time of holiness as these women interceded for lost family members and friends,” Allen said. “I can still so clearly hear the sound of a woman sitting behind me and just weeping and weeping.” Eugenia Podoleanu works with the Baptist Union of Moldova and helps churches across Moldova learn more about how to develop an effective women’s ministry. Podoleanu said the women have longed to be taught and trained, and the more they learn, the more they will take ownership of ministry.  

    Podoleanu saw a great spiritual revival sweep across Moldova in the 1990s after Moldova gained its independence. Now, she said, although people are still open to the gospel, the interest is not as great. Podoleanu has come to realize, like other leaders in the Baptist Union, that the best, most effective means of evangelism is one-to-one. Building relationships with other women and offering special events very specific to a specific group of women has proven quite effective.  

    During the conferences Blume used Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and 5:32-33 to encourage women to begin thinking about the spiritual heritage they want to leave for their family.  

    “You may not be from a long history of Christians,” Blume said. “But you can be one who starts your spiritual heritage.”  

    Blume asked women to remember that God created them to “proclaim the praise of the one who called you out of darkness. He has given us the assignment to spread the gospel.” That assignment begins at home, and Blume said that assignment cannot even begin until mothers and fathers commit to praying for their children.  

    “Obeying God does not rob the joy of life,” Blume said. “Show by your life that a life obedient to God is a joy.”

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    4/15/2011 8:02:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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