Six days ago the team from Heywood returned back to the UK after a two week stint in Pascani. The team comprised of Jenny and john Kennedy, Anne Webster and Richard greenwood.
Jenny runs a voluntary based charity called heywoodyouthlink@oldhuckys which aims to support young people through life’s difficulties. Throughout their school Life, College, university, and home life. The charity also run a drop in centre that young people can attend and can be listened to through their issues which include drug abuse ,alcoholism ,abuse ,non-school attendees family breakdown and the list continues. Jenny runs a mentoring course which she herself wrote, which is for young people and adults in her town so they are equipped to mentor other young people. Jenny has a heart for young people and the charity was a vision given to her by God so Jenny has puts her heart and soul into the charity.
John Kennedy is a youth worker in his town and he facilitates trips out for school children, runs lunchtime drop INS and assists at the sport centre for the youth in sports activities and helps craft groups and many other things. John enjoys working with young people and having fun alongside it.
Richard is a qualified mentor who worked with Jenny in youth link and assisted in running the center. Richard has a heart for young people and He would like to be a fully qualified youth worker, however at present he is a barista working at costa coffee.
Anne is a retired police officer who offers her time voluntary to help in spring willows playgroup. Anne has a gift of singing and she is in her local choir.
Each person has a gift of their own but collectively the team wanted to bring their skills to Moldova and be used for Gods purposes. We asked Jenny if she would run the mentoring course for the young people of pascani, but to focus on the young people who attend church. We felt we would like them to experience the mentoring course so that they would be able to mentor other young people outside of the church.
Arrival in Moldova
The team arrived late Saturday afternoon, probably shell-shocked and exhausted from their overnight stay in Munich airport and 3 hour minibus journey to pascani as well as enduring the public toilets.
The course was run in 3, 2 hour sessions and a full day’s session, The course started with a registration of the young people and time for refreshments and an introduction of the team to the young people. Surprisingly the first night there was approximately 18 young people. The majority of them were of the younger age of 11-14 years old and a few adults. Victor translated as Jenny delivered the course explaining what mentoring is and how the young people can benefit from mentoring, alongside that Richard and |john helped organise the games and explained where mentoring came from. At first the young people were quiet and held back, but by the end of the first evening they began to relax and enjoy the teaching as well as having fun but learning something through those games. The games they played were carrying balloons and bursting them in teams of 2, pulse and juggling as a team as well as Chinese whispers. These games encourage participation, listening and eye coordination as well as nonverbal communication. The course was a success and Jenny was able to incorporate biblical principles throughout the course and encourage the young people by sharing her vision and testimony to encourage young people to mentor others throughout their Christian walk. By the last evening 23 young people attended and each one was presented a certificate from youth link showing their participation and attendance. We all enjoyed group photos, pizza and fellowship, in all the young people thoroughly enjoyed it and the mission team believe that young people are no different in Moldova than England, except for their culture and their needs as young people. The course would benefit all young people in Moldova.
Food has always been an issue when foreign people arrive in Moldova, we are so used to our take away, frozen meals and restaurants and our home made English meals. When you get to Moldova all them things fly out the window, unless you have plenty of money and can access the best ingredients and find the best restaurants, or you are stuck with what there is available.
For us as a team we got a choice of 2 restaurants Andy’s pizza and Raffaello. We decided that to make things easier I would cook one meal a day and victor would provide breakfast, and then one meal in town, Cooking organic meat takes hours, so eating out is an easier option. Thanks to the team, they were not too fussy and actually enjoyed some of the home made Moldavian culinaries offered to them. On out first evening, victors mum offered us cabbage soup with chicken, stuffed cabbage leaves and pumpkin pie. If anyone would be fussy I did except John to be the first to cave in at the food here, but oh no he ate very bit of it. I was pleased and amazed at this. The team were invited to the celebration of Boris being prayed into the church as a minister and food was made by the women in the congregation, which consisted of potatoes and chicken, stuffed peppers and vine leaves and pancaked for desert. Over 100 people came and ate at the school canteen were the meal was held, and we were all able to fellowship together.
The team enjoyed an afternoon at Natasha and Slavic’s house, another couple from the church. We were all invited to celebrate 8 years of their marriage together, we would probable celebrate this in an intimate evening as a couple in England but Natasa and Slavic were very happy to share this time with us and their family, it was an honour to do that. The food again was amazing!! Food plays an important part of entertainment and fellowship and the Moldavians do not hold back! We were served with delicious chicken snitchel, stuffed potatoes, salad meats marinated fish and homemade cake, and it was delicious.
The rest of the time we ate out at Andy’s pizza which from the name you can guess what they served?? Pizza as well as other fast foods. Chicken burgers, fries, chicken kebabs, chicken soup, beef burgers, pasta and pizza. The team enjoyed this as they knew what they were easting and nothing was too far away from mc Donald’s and pizza hut. The first week we would translate what the food was on the menu and by the last week everyone had tried so many dishes they knew what to order , which was great, also the best thing about Andy’s pizza was they had Wi-Fi and jenny and Richard could communicate with the outside world.. The restaurant must miss our custom now the team have left! ????
At Raffaello ,the food took so long and in dribs and drabs we gave up going there, it was a shame really because the food was delicious. Shame about the service there !!
A woman in the village is known for being a good masseur so the team wanted to try a massage. She was more like a sports therapist with a bit more brute. Each person experienced a different type of massage and lots of pain ! Richard couldn’t sit up properly for the amount of pain in his stomach from being massaged and John got the cupping on his back with bruises to show for it! Jenny and Anne were the bravest of all as they both endured 2 massages and survived ,and I hope benefit from the massage, John certainly will have something to talk about in England !!!
Transport was an issue, unfortunately we were unable to use the minibus because we can only use it for 6 months in a year , so we rely on public transport. We had planned to rent a car but we would have needed 2 cars which would have been impractical and expensive so we decided that the best option was to order taxi’s every day to go to town, this way we supported the local people and we got to use one taxi and got to know the driver, (well victor did as he spoke Moldavian). From the airport the team used a minibus to take them to Pascani, the minibus fills up and even if it’s full. It can be a very long 3 hour journey for people as the bus stops anywhere to pick people up, john commented that people came from the middle of nowhere. I explained to john that people live in villages and they can be half a mile away from the main road.
The cheapest mode of transport was walking, we walked from Victors parents to our house which is a 15 minute walk in good conditions. Unfortunately it rained and we had muddy roads and sludge, the team struggles getting around taking 30 -45 minutes to get through. Not only that but also there are very little streetlights so a good torch was very useful and mobile phones which helped us get through the village in the night.
We attended pascani Baptist church on 3 occasions , the first Sunday Boris preached and the team were called up to the front to be introduced to the church. Victor translated the service . On the first Thursday the team were invited to share if they wanted, so it was agreed that Anne would give her testimony and the team would sing , we sang one song and victor and I sang a song in Romanian (saviour we can move mountains) “maret Salvator” the song is lovely if sang by people who can actually sing ! I think Victor was over adventurous in letting me and him sing !!! Anne sang amazing Grace which was very beautiful, she has a very gifted voice.
The second Sunday Boris was welcomed as the new minister into the church and there were more than 100 people who attended the service. Ministers from the entire south came to give words of encouragement to Boris from the bible and to the church . The choir sang beautiful songs and there was a time of prayer. Boris and His wife came and crouched on their knees at the front and the ministers laid hands on Boris and prayed for him and blessed him. It was a very interesting service afterwards there was a meal served after at the school canteen and Richard met a young girl who spoke English , her name was Tabita . Tabita invited Richard to come and sing at her church in vad a lui Isaac , so we all went and met Tabatas father who preached for the evening. Richard sang your grace is enough and satellite and Anne sang amazing grace for the congregation. It felt very nice to be welcomed to another church, we had a nice evening. We even found a lift home from a nice man in the church who had a van with 5 seats spare , how we managed to fit ! There were 7 of us and a guitar , a bit of a scary and cramped ride for us that night!
Mission teams usually say they want to share something to the people they are going to or to bring something and minister to the people there.
When the team had a meeting with missionary ventures Rob carter asked everyone why they were doing the mission. Everyone surprisingly said they would like to get something out of it for them.
That is exactly what they received. When you go on mission not only do you take something, usually gifts ,preaching, prayers courses, but usually you always go back home having learnt something about yourself ,each other and something changes in you.
For instance in the team Anne who has had short term memory ever since she had an brain haemorrhage 20 years ago needs support, she only goes places she knows well, she is very insecure and relies on people to remind her what she has done and struggles relaxing. For her we saw a less stressed person who would venture out of the gate by herself, she walked a little further from the gate very day and by the end of the mission trip Anne would walk round the village say hello to local people and go back to the house herself. What an amazing transformation ! Anne had never given her testimony in public and did this in the church in pascani, also Anne is fussy with food ,but she ate all the food. These are very big steps for Anne ,what an amazing God we have who” gives more and abundantly than we ask for “
Richard has been out to Moldova before and he painted houses 2 years ago. Richard is a quiet person and sometimes lacks confidence ,however this was not evident here in Moldova ! I praise God for Richard who has a very gentle heart and is very caring and loving. Richard has a gift for playing the guitar but recently I have heard him sing and he sings beautifully in his own style. While we were in Moldova Richard was asked to sing in a big the church in vad, and this was the very first time he had sang in public ever ! He did very well, amazingly and scary as it was he sang and ministered to people.What a transformation. See how much Richard got out of it.
Jenny has also been before ,but this time Jenny came with her teaching head on as she delivered the mentoring course to the young people, she was able to adapt the course to the young people’s level and they got so much out of it , the course went very well.. So well in face that Jenny would consider doing the level 3 with the older groups of young people next year. Jenny could identify that young people are no different in Moldova than England , except their needs are different, See how God is good ,how he uses us with our gifts .
John came along to support the team and to spend time with his granddaughter Charisse, however John got a lot out of Moldova. He came out of his comfort zone of his town |Heywood, he saw poverty ,and he met new young people and made relationships with them. All barriers down ,he was able to communicate with the young people and play games with them. John overcome his fear of Moldavian food and ate more than I could imagine he would. John saw the parallels between rich and poor ,especially in the school and he will be able to share his thoughts with the young people in England, and remind them how much support and resources they have in comparison to Moldova. He discovered the corner shop and went out daily to buy chocolate and mix with the local people. The team have gone home now but I know they have taken so many good things along with them back to England , and anything that wasn’t so good we as missionaries will take them on board and ensure that the next team that come will get as much out of as the Heywood mentoring team did. Amen