Friday, March 27, 2015

Support "Roman's Touch" Project!

"Roman's Touch" is a ministry to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other severe conditions and their families in the former Soviet Union. This ministry avenue grew out of our own experience of raising our son Roman who has Autism (ASD). It taught us to be extra loving and caring toward children with disabilities and moved us to help families of disabled children.

When we lived in Moldova and had Roman, we could not get any medical help for him because medical community there did not have much knowledge of Autism. We were desperate. In 2010, the Lord provided for us an opportunity to move to Toronto where many of our concerns regarding Roman were addressed. He was diagnosed and began therapy. Now he is 8 years old. In spite of his limitations, he came a long way in mastering some basic ways of caring for himself.

Our desire is to offer to families hope in the midst of despair. We offer to families and children with Autism counseling, materials related to research in the domain of ASD, tablet PCs for children with educational programs as well as stipends for them to attend therapy several times per week. We also provide food baskets and funds for occasional outings (respite) for parents of children with ASD.

Would you, please, consider helping with this project? You can donate on-line through our partners here.

Natasha Turlac to Travel on Mission to Moldova in May

On May 2-18, 2015, Natasha Turlac will make a mission trip to Moldova, one of the republics of the former Soviet Union.

The main purpose of the trip is (1) to minister to teen girls and women-victims of human trafficking. Natasha will visit several training centers in sewing and alterations that we previously established in different parts of Moldova. She will supply these centers with additional sewing machines and other necessary equipment. More sewing machines are needed for graduates of the sewing program. If you would like to help, the cost is $200 per machine. You can make a donation through our partners here.

There is an urgent need in one of the training centers, which is also a transition centre for teens in Karpineny. We would like to provide for them a refrigerator and a microwave so that they could store food and warm it up at meal times. The old fridge broke, so we would like to replace it. The cost of a new refrigerator is $400 and the cost of a microwave is $150. If you would like to help, you can donate on-line through our partners here.

(2) Natasha will also minister to families with children with Autism (ASD). In 2013, we started a project "Roman's Touch," which was born of our own situation of our son Roman having Autism. God provided a way for this situation to be transformed into a great ministry opportunity.

Many families in Moldova are desperate because they cannot get medical attention for their children with ASD. Also, because medical community in Moldova does not have advanced knowledge of the problem, people have various superstitions and opinions about the cause of Autism. Please, remember Natasha in your prayers as she is involved in this very challenging counseling work.

Support mission work through our partners here.

Anti-trafficking Ministry Expanding in Moldova

by Natalia Turlac

For 10 years Oleg and I together with many of our partners in Moldova and Central Asia as well as friends and supporters from North America have been working hard to address the problem of human trafficking out of Moldova and the former Soviet Union. Many of you know that tens of thousands of women have been trafficked out of Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia for prostitution. Especially teenage girls are those that are most vulnerable to this plague of the 21st century.

In the past 10 years we established 4 training centers in sewing and clothing alterations in Moldova under the umbrella of “Teaching
them to Fish Project.” The main objective of the project was to teach teenagers a profession so that they could earn a living and thus become less vulnerable to traffickers. Every graduate of the program receives their personal sewing machine (the cost is $200 per machine).

Today dozens of girls and young women are studying sewing in centers established by our ministry. It is exciting to see good results of a 10-year ministry, which results in lives being saved from slavery.

Thank you, friends, for helping provide sewing machines and fabric for this ministry! We count on your continuous support. You can help with this project by making a donation through our partners here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Great Connections Made in Lithuania

Meeting students
I (Oleg) am back in Toronto after a great trip to Lithuania where Vitali and I were able to visit the campus of LCC International University in the port-city of Klaipeda, from which Vitali graduated 11 years ago. 

Lithuania is a former Soviet republic that was first to declare its independence from the USSR. LCC University trains men and women for different professions (business, theology, counselling, computers, etc.) with the purpose of impacting the world. Training is provided in English, which is a great asset for young people from the former USSR.

Presenting technology for ministry
At the school, we were warmly welcomed by President Dr. Marlene Wall and President Emeritus Dr. Jim Minninger. At the LCC University, we connected with 15 students from Central Asia and Caucasian region of Russia that are studying theology, missions and counselling with the purpose of going back and ministering in the region.

We provided students with tablet computers and voice recorders as well as presented the library with books that we have written and translated. One of our ministry avenues is providing latest technology for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bibles on electronic devices and other Christian resources can be downloaded on tablet PCs for free and can serve as valuable asset to missionaries and house churches in difficult regions of the world.

Vitali preaching Russian service at
Klaipeda Baptist Church
It was interesting to share with students our experiences of studying and teaching in a very similar setting. During one of the meetings with LCC students, I shared that "years spent in a Christian college setting were the best in my life. Those years help shape my worldview. My professors were careful as to consider my past (I was raised as a Christian child in Communist Soviet Union) while opening to me new doors and teaching me to think for myself."

Several students from of theology program said that they are planning to return to Central Asia after graduation. A young woman from Northern Caucasus (Russia) dreams of becoming a missionary in Africa, a cause that is worth of support.

We look forward to keeping in touch with these young men and women after they graduate and assisting them in their future work/ministry in difficult areas of the formerly Communist lands.

While in Klaipeda, we ministered to two congregations (Russian-speaking and Lithuanian-speaking), delivering sermons and sharing our experiences of Christian ministry in the former USSR. We appreciated warm welcome from Lithuanian believers who embraced us with the love of Christ and invited us to come and minister again.

Oleg presenting books to President
Marlene Wall
While in Lithuania, we also made a stop in the capital city of Vilnius where we made a point of seeing the former KGB (Soviet Security Service) building where Christian pastors, priests and ordinary believers were tortured for their faith in Jesus Christ. It was an especially moving experience -- to enter chambers where Christ's saints that did not bow their heads to Communism died in torment.

Close to the end of World War II (1939-1945), Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Army, which tried to subdue free-spirited Lithuanians whose culture differed from Russian considerably. It is estimated that more than 186,000 Lithuanians were arrested and imprisoned by Soviets. More than 118,000 were deported to Siberia and other distant areas of Russia. Between 20,000 and 25,000 died in camps and prisons.

While in Vilnius, we met with Christians from neighbouring Belarus where believers do not enjoy freedom of worship. They traveled more than 100 miles to see us. We discussed with them future mission projects and opportunities. Please, pray so that the Lord would show us ways and provide opportunities to help the Church in Belarus.

KGB prison in Vilnius,
Lithuania, a place of torture
and death of thousands.
Overall, I am so excited to see good results of this trip because it seems like one connection leads to so many other contacts. The Lord has His ways of connecting His children to one another and showing to us potential ministry avenues.

From Lithuania, I (Oleg) was planning to travel to Central Asia but got very sick with flu on the last day of our stay. After consulting with the local doctor, I decided to return to Toronto and postpone the Central Asia trip until early summer 2015.

I am at home now and recovering from flu. Still not completely healed but seeing progress. Keep me in your prayers, please!

I thank God for allowing us to minister in Lithuania and look forward to returning to the former USSR in 2,5 months!

You can support our ministry by donating through our partners here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Missionary Highlight: Kotenev Family in Russia

Dmitriy Kotenev was born in Kazakhstan. He accepted Christ in his 20s and received a calling to serve the Lord in formerly Communist lands. Following his call, he came to study to Moldova. I (Oleg) had Dmitriy in my theology and spiritual formation courses at the Christian college where I taught for 1o years. Dmitriy was an outstanding student. He graduated in 2009, and we kept in touch since then.

Responding to God's calling, two years ago, Dmitriy and his family moved to Russian Siberian town of Rubtsovsk where Dmitriy was ordained to pastoral ministry in a local Baptist church. It is an honour for us at Turlac Mission to support Dmitriy and his work. The Kotenevs are expecting their fourth child (hoping for a boy!) in April 2015.

You can support missionary families in the formerly Communist lands by making an on-line donation here. Please, designate your gift to Turlac Mission. Thank you!