Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Natasha Speaks at the Gathering of Toronto Baptist Women

On Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at the invitation of the leadership, Natasha Turlac spoke at the gathering of Baptist Women of Ontario and Quebec (Canada) held at Immanuel Baptist Church, Toronto. Natasha was invited to do a presentation on ministry to women - victims of human trafficking. This issue, it seems, receives more attention of Christian women worldwide.

During her presentation, Natasha shared a story of how she became interested in this ministry. She said, “Moldova, the land where I was born, is a number one country - exporter of women for slave labor and sex trade. However, the society over there refused to admit the existence of the problem. The issue of trafficking is simply ignored.”

Natasha shared that the goal of Turlac Mission is to (1) do preventive work among teens by providing them information about dangers of trafficking, (2) help women-victims of human trafficking by providing Christian counselling, food baskets, training and tools for making a living (sewing machines, cooking supplies, etc.) and (3) connecting them to the local community of believers that will be able to support them spiritually until their lives are completely restored with God’s help.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reunion with a Former Student in Toronto

CANADA. On 17 October 2013, we had a brief reunion with a student of mine (Oleg's) at the Bible College in Moldova (in 2005-2009), Anara Nessipbekova, who is of Kazakh origin. Anara, her husband Madi and their four children now reside in Los Angeles metro area in California, U.S.A. At the Bible College in Moldova, Anara studied social work and missions. She was one of most capable and bright students. These days, she serves as one of the leaders of Slavic Baptist Women's Ministries in the United States. She also travels quite frequently to Central Asia to encourage Baptist women there.

It was great to have a brief reunion with our dear friends, Anara and her son David from Kazakhstan, who now live in California. They were visiting Canada and made a stop to see us. Anara was a student of mine at the Bible College in Moldova in 2005-2009. She is one of the leaders of Slavic Baptist women’s work in America.

I consider it to be one of the greatest rewards from the Lord -- to see my students, those with whom I spent many hours in the classroom, training them for missions -- everywhere I go. They faithfully serve the Lord, often in difficult places of our world. Wherever I visit my former students and now ministers of the Gospel, I am encouraging them in their challenging work as well as providing necessary resources specific to their area of ministry.

Photo: Oleg pictured with Anara (left).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pastor Alexander Semchenko Remains Under House Arrest

NEWS - MOSCOW, RUSSIA. Russian Evangelical pastor Alexander Semchenko (pictured on the left) remains under house arrest. Today, during court hearing, it was extended until December 2013. 

Rev. Semchenko is accused of mishandling finances during the repairs of Bloshoy and Maly Theatres in Moscow. Semchenko, who is also a businessman, was one of the contractors. Leaders of Protestants in Russia believe that Semchenko fell prey to the corrupt justice system in Russia. He has been held under house arrest since June 2013.

Photo: Alexander Semchenko (left) with his lawyer Vladimir Ryakhovsky (also a Christian) awaits court hearing in Moscow, Russia.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

September 2013 Moldova Mission Trip: Bringing Hope to Those in Despair

It is good to be back home and reunited with the family after two weeks of intense mission travels in Moldova! I am so excited to be with Natasha and the children, Roman and Victoria, again.

I can say with full assurance that God blessed the September 13-30, 2013 Moldova mission trip and granted to us good opportunities for Christian witness and practical help to those in need.

Cathedral of Nativity (left) in Moldavian capital and World War II Memorial

During the first week, two Christian friends from Birmingham, Alabama, Judge Edward Vines and Benjamin Byerly, joined Vitali and I on the trip. Edward has been on mission trip with me previously to Rep. of Georgia. While in Moldova, we visited two most prominent Moldavian universities, the University of International Relations (trains future Moldavian diplomats) and the University of Slavic Studies (a branch of Moscow State University), where we had an opportunity to address the faculty and the student body.

Lecture at the University of Slavic Studies, Moldova

Judge Vines lectured on America, its Christian Foundations and the Importance of the System of Checks and Balances with an extensive discussion that followed. Edward stressed that "the Founding Fathers had wisdom to place into the Constitution those mechanisms that serve us well to this very day."

At the University of International Relations, we were welcomed by the former Vice Prime Minister of Moldova, Dr. Valentin Stepanyuk, who expressed a desire to establish partnerships with schools and scholars from the United States.

Visit to the University of International Relations, Moldova. Welcome by Dr. Valentin Stepanyuk

Seeing Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, and visiting the home of my (Oleg's) parents

A retired minister with more than 40-year tenure in Christian service from Peterborough, Canada and a dear friend Ralph Mann, joined Vitali and for the second week of the trip. Together, we traveled to churches in the Northern, Southern and Western Moldova, where we preached Christ. We visited a group of women-at-risk and their children, observed a local church's ministry to street children and addressed the youth-at-risk in a small town close to the border wit Romania.

Presenting Tablet PCs to Autistic Children (Chisinau) and Visiting the Centre for Youth-at-risk (Western Moldova)

During the trip, we provided sewing machines, fabric and baskets to women-at-risk, hand-made dolls to children, supplied food bags for elderly widows, sponsored meals to street children, provided financial support for local Moldavian missionaries and children's program in one of the churches in Southern Moldova. We also were able to distribute multiple copies of the book I Am A Woman Created in the Image of God written by Joyce Wyatt and recently translated by our ministry into Russian.

Purchasing sewing machines in Moldova (left) Janna, 26 receives a sewing machine

One of the young women, Janna, 26, that received a sewing machine just wrote me that she got her first order to make a dress for her neighbour. Sewing machines provide for women-at-risk a tool for making an income and returning to normal daily life. More than 100,000 Moldavian women have been trafficked out of the country for prostitution and slave trade.

Sewing machines provided for women-at-risk from Moldova

One of the great experiences was a visit with two groups of autistic children and their mothers. This is a new ministry avenue that we are pursuing this year. As you know, our own son Roman has Autism Spectrum Disorder, which makes the issue very personal.

Thank you from the women and children of Moldova!

Autism is something very new for Moldova. There is just a handful of trained professionals in this area of medical services. We provided three tablet PCs for the use of the children, brought supplies for activities and training manuals for psychologists that committed to learning more about the syndrome. We also provided food backers and finances, so that children would be able to attend the local children's activities centre for one week.

Helping children with Autism and Feeding Street Children

I could go on and on, telling of wonderful blessings that we experienced during the trip while sharing the Gospel of Christ and meeting so many new people that we were able to help. All of this would be impossible without your participation. THANK YOU so very much for enabling us to show the love of Christ in distant places of the world! Your prayers and donations do make a practical difference in the needy world.

 Preaching the Gospel of Christ in Moldavian churches

It is true that the need everywhere is overwhelming. It has been estimated that 1 of every 8 people living on our planet goes hungry every day. However, we can help one person at a time. There is no greater joy than to feed a hungry child or give a sewing machine to a woman - victim of human trafficking. It means a world to them.

Please, continue to support our hands in ministry. Thank you once again for your generous and sacrificial support!

Photos: Turlac Mission, 2013.