“You all are making a big difference,” said our Moldovan van driver. Boris has been our van driver ever since we started coming to Moldova about eleven years ago. He has served with us in the orphanages, learned English, and watched the ministry through the years. Boris served in the Russian army. He loves Jesus, he is a husband, a father, and a partner in ministry. He has had a front-row seat for impact on the orphan and vulnerable children of his country.
As a church, we have been serving in Moldova since our first year as a church plant – eleven years ago. Six years ago, we began a non-profit, Justice and Mercy International, in order to do a greater work in Moldova, the Amazon, South Africa and other places in the world. Yet, when we began this work, we all had very little idea of what God would truly accomplish for His glory.
One of the greatest miracles of JMI is the Transitional Living program. Last year, by God’s grace we were able to purchase a house in the capital of Moldova that we use as a Transitional Living Home for girls. It is a huge, beautiful home that is immeasurably more than we could have ever dreamed or imagined. In addition, we have a home for boys as well.
Children in the orphanages have to leave at age 15 or 16. They “graduate,” but they have nowhere to go. This is when girls are most vulnerable to be trafficked. The statistics are both staggering and heart-breaking. In addition, the boys are just as vulnerable. Many end up in organized crime, prison or committing suicide. This is where JMI does its greatest work. Children that are sponsored are assisted by our staff team of social workers, psychologists, social assistants to enroll in further schooling (high school), trade school, apprenticeships, and jobs. In addition, many can apply to be a part of the Transitional Living program.
Today, JMI (Justice and Mercy International) has work in eleven different orphanages in Moldova. Over 300+ orphan and vulnerable children are being sponsored, and almost 40 children are a part of our Transitional Living program and Graduate sponsorships. In the Transitional Living Home, students enter into a two-year program. They are disciple in Christ, enrolled in school, taught English and prepared for leadership.
This week, the impact of the Transitional Living was incredibly evident. Over the past three years of the program, these young leaders accompany our teams to lead Camps at the orphanages and the villages. This week, we had a group of the Transitional Living kids with us, and they were amazing! They led the singing part of the worship times and the dramas, shared their testimonies, helped in Bible Study, and assisted in crafts, music, recreation and life-skills. They were incredible! Their passion for the Lord was contagious, and the kids took to them with unbelievable joy. God worked in them and through them in a mighty way.
Next week, our Transitional Living guys and girls are leading their first-ever Camp in a village. They have planned the worship times, the dramas, the Bible Studies, the crafts, and every other aspect. They are hosting, leading and making it happen. They have been trained for three years and now they are doing it. Wow!
This is what is so exciting to me. This is multiplying the ministry and seeing lives transformed in the process. These are the future leaders of the Moldova. The future pastors, teachers, JMI Moldovan staff team members, government officials and more. It is awesome to see what God is doing.
As Jazgul, one of our Transitional Living girls, who was just accepted into Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee said to our group on the last night, “I would have never dreamed when I laid in the orphanage in my 9th grade year knowing that I had to leave and had nowhere to go that God would bring me to Grace House allow me to meet Jesus and you all and now go to study in the States. God is so good to me.” Yes!