In Moldova evangelical Christians only make up 1.3% of the total population. Based on that statistic, OM Moldova fully buys into the new mission statement from OM International: “We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.” But how to integrate and align this statement into the daily ministries of OM Moldova?
At the end of 2017, the OM Moldova team held 40 days of prayer and fasting to seek a new vision to bring us alongside this new mission statement. As a result of our prayer and fasting, the leadership team established a Vision Alignment team (VAT). Their first task was to analyse data and identify the least reached regions in Moldova. The most obvious region, that we had prayed for about 20 years, was the north-east region. It had only one evangelical church in the surrounding 20 villages. Excitement throughout OM Moldova for the new vision and ministry sparked into a re-energized desire to reach the least reached.
One ministry including both the vision and mission most effectively is the Local Ministry Teams (LMT). The LMT ministry creates small teams using Moldovan nationals who have completed the Challenge into Missions training and then partner with other foreigners in our team. Challenge into Missions is an intense 10-week course for nationals with a wide spectrum curriculum from leadership training, to children’s program training, to general theology. Teams are then placed into least-reached areas of the country, working alongside a local church. In recent months, OM Moldova has created a new LMT to be located in the North-east region.
This LMT is well established in the village of Cobilea, with a team of four Moldovan nationals and two foreigners, partnering with a local church in Soldanesti. Cobilea is a living example of the least reached: there is no evangelical church, besides the team, there is only one believing family and one elderly lady believer out of a village of around 2,500 other inhabitants who do not yet know God.
The team has begun to hold small group meetings along with a growing youth night programme at the church in Soldanesti. They are also involved in door-to-door evangelism in Cobilea village, sharing the Gospel and building relationships with the least reached. The team has been welcomed by the village, enabling different events to take place, such as movie nights or Christmas children’s programmes. The team also took part in some relief and development, helping others with food and firewood last winter.
As God is working though this team to reach the least reached, a neighbour to the team recently said, “I grew up going to the Orthodox church occasionally for holidays as a tradition. However, I have never heard or seen people have a type of faith like you do that seems to be life-changing, as demonstrated in how you live.”
As the LMT has lived and ministered in the village of Cobilea and neighbouring unreached villages, we have become ever more aware of the great need of sending more harvesters into the least-reached areas in Moldova. The LMT in Cobilea is an example of how we can create and establish more LMTs in identified ‘least-reached areas’. In so doing, we will be living out our vision for 10,000 mobilized, 1000 equipped, and 100 vibrant communities by 2025. The vision is definitely God-inspired, and God-breathed.