|Republic of Moldova|
Area 33,700 sq.km. Landlocked republic between the Ukraine and Romania.
Capital Chisinau 850,000. Urbanites 47%.
Indo-European 94.5%. Much inter-marriage.
Latin 62.4%. Moldavian/Romanian 2,700,000.
Slav 29.6%. Ukrainian 613,000; Russian 569,000; Bulgarian 90,000.
Other 2.5%. Roma (Gypsy, 3 groups) 105,000
Turkic/Altaic 3.2%. Gagauz 138,000.
All other 2.3%. Jews 60,000.
Literacy 97%. Official language Moldovan Romanian. All languages 5. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 2por 2w.i.p.
Rich but under-used agricultural land. The poorest country in Europe due to unresolved internal political problems, lack of industry and trade, and economic dependence on Russia. Painful adherence to strict IMF measures has brought scant economic improvement. Unemployment is around 80%. HDI 0.683; 104th/174. Public debt 39.8% of GNP. Income/ person $460 (1.5% of USA).
The USSR's seizure of Bessarabia from Romania in 1940 and its subsequent grotesque dismemberment are the root causes of present conflicts. The north and south of Bessarabia were annexed to Ukraine and the east bank of the Dniester detached from Ukraine to form the Moldovan republic. Independence declared in 1990, and a multi-party republic formed. Transnistria (Trans-Dniester), a Russian army-controlled enclave, aggressively insists on independence. This remains a canker with no foreseeable political solution. Gagauz aspirations for independence appear to have been assuaged with granting of autonomy.
The Orthodox Church has regained strong political influence and is not afraid to wield it against those it sees as a threat. Although religious freedom exists, the Bessarabian Church remains subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchy and is not recognized. A current law forbids 'abusive proselytism'. A more restrictive law is being debated in parliament.
1 A peaceful and prosperous Moldovan future remains uncertain and tenuous. The intransigence of the Transnistrian region separatists and the inability of the country to overcome economic difficulties undermine stability. About 80% of men are unemployed and 60% of men have a serious alcohol problem. The Communists regained control of the parliament in the 2001 elections. Pray that the terrible Stalinist and Communist legacies may be overcome and that present liberty might be preserved.
2 The influence of the Orthodox Church makes evangelical work difficult. Preaching and planting churches in traditionally Orthodox villages is especially opposed, frequently with violence. Ask God for special favour upon those who minister at the risk of their own safety. It is also difficult to obtain permission to purchase buildings or land for church purposes. Pray that the Holy Spirit would deepen the spiritual life of many from the Orthodox faith.
3 Evangelical Christians have multiplied, but materially they lack so much mdash; meeting places, discipleship materials and funds. Many are very poor. Pray that God may provide their needs. There are over 4,000 believers and possibly as many as 10,000 among the predominantly Orthodox Gagauz Turks, among whom revival is reported. The strong conservatism of the Communist era remains, and suspicion and resentment hinders unity between Protestant groups. OM is seeking to minister to all groups. Pray that believers may develop a broader, dynamic view of the body of Christ.
4 Training for pastors and education for Christians is still the greatest need. SGA successfully launched the part-time Moldovan Mission School in 1994 many churches have been planted by its graduates already! Both the Baptists and the Pentecostals have theological schools, there is an independent evangelical Bible School in the capital, and the Brethren are involved in Bible teaching. Pray that all these schools may raise up godly, mature leaders. Pray for the provision of resources for both students and schools alike.
d) The youth of Moldova are victims the Soviet infrastructure's collapse and the freedoms and bondages that followed. Committed ministry to young people is needed pray for more workers. There is some work already among university students and SGA helps run youth camps. IFES has had a team in Moldova since 1986.
a) Bible and Christian literature. The Gagauz New Testament was completed in 2000. SGA distributes Bible study aids in Russian, and gospels and tracts are being distributed throughout the country in Russian and Romanian.
b) Radio. TWR broadcasts out from Moldova to many Eastern European countries. Moldovans can tune in to 19.5 hours a week in eight languages. There is also a local Christian radio station, Micul Samaratan, which has wide appeal.
d) Short-term missions. Various groups send as many as 60 short-term teams a year to erect church buildings and assist local congregations. Pray that these Western guests to Moldova will have an effect for the long-term good of the Moldovan church.
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