In Moldova, OM focuses on outreach & church planting in the least-reached regions of Moldova, as well as mobilising and equipping believers for local and global mission.Read More
Ilie was the first of his location to visit the bus, as it stopped there during its journey through a northern district of Moldova in March. Although the conversation had started on the topic of football, it soon turned to Jesus, whom Ilie knew almost nothing about.
This boy, who had been abandoned by his own father when he was just one month old, heard that God wants to be his Father. He was told about all that Jesus had done for him to make this possible and received a New Testament so he could find out more.
The team met many people who were open for conversations, people who were seeking God, people expressing the desire and need to have their lives changed, people who wanted the team to pray for them and many who bought Bibles.
In Moldova the simple sight of a big vehicle like the Bus4Life is still unusual and immediately creates curiosity. It is an attraction that draws people and helps to open doors with local authorities; it can give teams access to places without a local church and facilitate the first contact many inhabitants have with the gospel and believers.
While the children enjoy fun activities like a bouncy castle, games and a message creatively presented for their understanding, adult visitors are served with tea, coffee and biscuits while they talk with the staff or browse through the books on display. Thus young and old hear about God and can take home literature and Bibles to learn more.
There are only a few places in Moldova where you can buy Christian literature; this is why the Bus4Life is a huge blessing also for local believers, offering access to a great variety of books even in remote villages. However, most of the visitors to the bus have no connection to a church and come simply out of curiosity - but they show just as much interest in what the team has to share and in the literature on offer.
As the bus moved on from Ilie's hometown to a very small village in the area, one of the visitors was an elderly lady who was greatly interested in all the books she found on the bus. After looking at many different titles, she chose two she wanted to purchase, but said she'd have to go home to get money.
Returning a little later, she explained that there was no money at home - but she had brought 1.3 kilograms of home-made cheese, which she offered as payment. A team member bought the cheese from her, so in exchange she could get the books.
OM sells the literature at reduced prices - mostly far below purchasing costs - to make it affordable to locals in the villages, but for some it's still money they cannot easily spare. At the same time, this lady's simply offering of what she had was an encouraging sign of her desire to hear from God, and there's a high probability she will value and read the books she took home.
One of the books she bought is written in the form of God addressing the reader as a Father to his dear child. Though living in a culture that sees God as distant and impersonal, this lady - as well as Ilie and all the other seeking visitors - now have the opportunity to continue hearing personally from their Creator and Father, even after the bus has left, through the Bibles and books they purchased.
* Surname not included for security reasons
Published: Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Credit: Esther Hippel