Fellowship Team Summer Serve 2022
Walking alongside ministries in Moldova and Romania for 8 weeks.
Thank you to all our prayer and financial partners.
We invite you to join our Summer Serve journey in Moldova and Romania. We are open to serving where God leads us during these 8 weeks. We will send updates often and post on Facebook and Instagram when we can. Thanks again for your support!
This week has been full of amazing moments so far. One of my highlights this week was that one of the girls gifted me a portrait of herself and beside her in the drawing was a suitcase that said Ukraine.
This really made my week because this girl is one of the children I haven’t connected closely with. She can be shy at times. But, she and her mom came and gifted this to me. It meant so much to me because even though we haven’t connected deeply yet, she was still watching me smile as I interact with her and others.
So for me, this meant so much to know that just my presence here is making an impact.
My words may fail, but God won’t.
He is using us in ways we may never fully understand. Through the fatigue and tiredness, the Lord is doing something special here. He is bringing hope. Amen.
Here are a few of my highlights so far:
We have a daily grind here of cleaning the facilities multiple times a day, and in that routine, I have seen God really shape my heart to be more of a joyful servant. There have been moments of hardship and deep joyful moments.
It’s been a blessing to be here!
Since we arrived, two ladies from the USA came to be translators to teach English classes.
We noticed a lot of improvement in one of the young Ukrainian guys. Today he sat with me and we talked about our families and the things we like to do. It wasn’t a super long conversation, but his improvement in the English language is really noticeable and I’m extremely happy for him. As his English improves, he is making a better effort to get to know us. He is developing a really nice friendship with Blake too.
It’s crazy how many things happen around here in one day. It’s even crazier how friendships develop even with the language barrier. But the kids here are extremely lovely, even if they can’t understand us. They’re always willing to show us or mimic what they want haha it’s hilarious 🤗
I keep praying for more relationships and fewer language barriers because in many ways our situation feels like the Tower of Babel 😬 not kidding! I still have some hard moments from time to time, but God is good and gracious. He is helping me with the language barrier.
God has been showing me that communication it’s not simply a language.
It’s literally the whole-body expression. And there are lots of ways to communicate other than words. Like just showing up and being present. That’s communication. Being involved and playing, smiling, and saying basic words like “good morning” “thank you” and “Hello” IS communication. These simple forms of communication show the people here our intentionality. Being here shows them that they matter. And during this time of their exile from their homeland, that matters a lot.
We are officially in our third week of being in Romania! God has been doing some amazing things here and I wanted to share this with you.
I have loved being here so far. Initially, the days felt so long, but we have finally nailed down a schedule.
It has been eye-opening to be working with the Ukrainian refugees. We have had the privilege of hearing some of their stories. My heart breaks for these people and their families. Many of them are separated from their loved ones, always living with the constant fear of losing them. I can see how torn they are, holding on to the hope of returning home while also having to establish plans for their future elsewhere. All of these people are experiencing a reality I could never imagine having.
God has been revealing to me how attached I have become to my comfortable life.
But the reality is, we were never promised a comfortable life. I know these people never imagined becoming refugees themselves. They have already taught me so much and I pray that I leave Romania with a changed perspective.
Another thing the Lord has been teaching me is the power of my actions. One of the most challenging parts of this trip has been trying to overcome the language barrier.
Very few people speak English. Also, at this church, the Romanians and Ukrainians face a language barrier as well. So you can imagine how easy it is to miscommunicate. We have a few translators for which we are very grateful. But they cannot always be there and so I heavily rely on my google translate app.
To have a simple conversation can be exhausting, let alone an intentional conversation. God has provided some opportunities to have these conversations, but I find myself really longing to build deeper connections. Last week, it hit me that this might not be possible, at least through conversation. However, as I am cleaning and serving, some people have stopped to thank me. Even two women pampered me and my team by braiding our hair and painting our nails for free.
While these are such simple actions, they speak volumes to me. The Lord has used these interactions to remind me that my work here does not go unnoticed. That I do not need to have conversations to bless people, but simply abide and let the Spirit guide my actions. I pray that as I live around these people, they see Christ in our small interactions and in the way I live.
It’s hard to believe another Friday has already arrived. This week, my health has been so much better. I still have had a lingering cough and stuffed nose, but I think this should be the final week.
My mood has been a lot better as I have felt better. Praise God! As time passes, friendships are being made. One new friend’s name is Dima. A 15-year-old Ukrainian from Mykolaiv. His English is very good. Far better than my Ukrainian/Russian! We have been hanging out, doing a few workouts at the park, and doing a few snack runs together. It’s been very interesting getting to know him and hearing his story.
His family, along with his mom and sister have been here in Romania for a month now. Currently, war knocks on the doors of his hometown. His father is still in the city working earning as much as he can before the war’s arrival. His town is holding strong though. As a family, they hope to go to Germany in the future but don’t know when.
Yesterday afternoon, Dima left the center to work for the first time. He helped a lady from the church who cooks for the refugees. He came back last night very happy. He told me he had been praying to God that He would help him find a job. He told me Geneva (the lady who cooks for the refugees) asked if he wanted to work for her and to be paid. He was in disbelief. Thankful and praising God. He was almost in tears. Wow, God is a provider. He is providing in the small and big areas of our lives. I’m very happy for my friend and I am beyond excited to see where God takes him and our friendship.
Tonight the Fellowship team has been invited to go to the last night of the Romanian youth summer camp. We will join them in games, food, and a campfire. The youth pastor asked me to share my personal testimony with the youth. Pray for me! I plan to write about that in my weekly personal blog along with a few other updates about things the Church and Ukrainians are currently in need of.
Paka! (See you later!)
Today marks the 3rd day of being in Romania.
During the last days in Moldova, the fellowship team caught a bug. And It wasn’t a very nice bug. We all became under the weather for close to four days each. Mine last through the first two in Romania. It was not fun and I probably didn’t show the best first impression when we arrived at the church. But today I am feeling so much better, almost back to 100%.
We have a busy schedule here at the church/refugee center. Helping with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cleaning all in between. Seeing the town a little. Our day ended with sharing testimonies with the Ukrainian refugees who are now our new friends.
I think we’re finally starting to see where we can fit in while we are here.
Opportunities and friendships are starting to sprout.
God is wonderful I can’t wait to see Him in the Midst.
Hello, Everyone. My name is Arlie Francis and I am serving alongside The Fellowship during the first couple of weeks of “Summer Serve.” I want to give you a short summary of our time in Chisinau, before we came to Galati.
The Admirals Basketball Academy is based in Chisinau, Moldova. Everyone who plays for the Admirals is coached by people who know basketball, play it, and can teach it. Basketball is a team sport. To win, the Admirals promote “family.” We have been amazed at how hard the Admirals players train every day. They willingly accept challenging coaching. Fundamentals are rigorously enforced. Everyone, coaches and players alike, want to win basketball games. Baseline to baseline, side to side, hour after hour, their motivation for training is a collective desire to rule the basketball court.
Admirals coaches walk with Jesus and use basketball as their platform for delivering hope to the lives of Eurasian young people. Founded by Nick and Uliana Morari, the Academy is transitioning its frontline leaders. The passing of the “mantle” has always been part of the Morari’s plan. They must “decrease” so that others will “increase.”
Meet Eugene Postolache.
We first met Eugene during a 2015 sports movement training in Turkey. Eugene is now responsible for ensuring that each Admirals player knows who Jesus is and understands their need to know Him personally. Basketball is more than a sport for the Admirals Basketball Academy. Basketball is a language that delivers life to those who are dead in their sin.
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.” – Ezra 7:10
The Admirals Basketball Academy is extending their player’s rule from the court to the apartment buildings and neighborhoods they come from. Interestingly, the principles that apply to developing good basketball players are the same principles that make disciples of Jesus.
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. – 2 Timothy 2:2
Eugene is training new “coaches,” just as Nick once trained him. This week, Eugene’s team (Nikita, Yarik, Lyohsa, Natan) have been paired with our team, The Fellowship. On June 8th, The Fellowship (Morgan, Blake, Alexis, Dalí) stepped onto their home court, Edelitate. We have seen 50+ players train all day long for a common goal. We are helping the Admirals’ leadership equip the following generation of Admirals to use Talk Thru the Bible with their families and friends. They are learning how to tell the story of the Old Testament, a story that directly leads hearers to Jesus.
This is a team effort. The Fellowship is discovering how basketball is life-giving for the Admirals. The Admirals learning how to introduce the Word of Life, the gateway to eternal life. What we are witnessed together is a miracle. We pray that you see it too!
P.S. – The following five weeks will be invested in serving Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country. Please pray for our team. While serving physical needs, ask the Lord to give us many conversational opportunities that are Gospel-oriented. The Lord has miraculously provided some excellent translators. It’s almost as if there was a plan?
P.S.S. – We still need to raise about $7,000 to fund our eight-week “Summer Serve fully.”
Alexis: We have officially made it to Galati, Romania! We are here at Biserica Cristina Emanuel church helping with the Ukrainian refugees. Today was our first day and I think it went great! We have a number of chores to do each day to keep the church clean and functioning for the refugees. But in between work we can play and initiate conversations. God gave me a sweet surprise today! While I was mopping the floors, a four-year-old girl named Ruth was following me around and watching. I am so used to everyone speaking little to no English. But to my surprise, I hear her say, “Hey, what are you doing?”. I laughed, totally caught off guard that the little girl had such good English! Before I knew it, we were laughing, building puzzles together, and reading books. I knew I had just found a new friend!
Dalí: Today was our first day of serving at church with all the refugees, and it’s nice to sit in different tables with different people at every meal, at dinner time there was this mom that arrived at the center with her son, and I sat with them and I asked Danielle (a translator) to sit with us, we start talking about their journey to get here, she was still really shocked with it even if it was only 5 to 6 hours, she said those were the longest ones, she comes from a city that it’s already taken by Russia, she said that she was really scared to not making it after a lot of checkpoints to cross, that she had heard from people that sometimes they just shoot them on the back ( my heart was breaking at this point) all her family is still in Ukraine and she’s coming here to work and to keep Her son “safe”, she already has a plan and a place to go in another city close to Galati, but she’s stoping here for a couple of days after the situation they just pass through. I’m so thankful God moved me to sit with this family of two and let me learn that we never know who is taking that chair for today, and the story behind the smile. Please keep praying for these brave moms that have made the long journey by themselves with their kids when their parents and husbands are still back in the war zone 🙏🏻
Morgan: “I’m currently looking our balcony at the place we are staying. The thing that has surprised me the most about Moldova is the stillness of this place. The streets are quiet. I hear kids playing at the local park and birds chirping. Isn’t it interesting how in Ukraine the next country over is a terrible war? But here, peace and stillness. Through this observation I have gone to realize that travel is not a merely a desire for the dreamer, but a necessity for a human desiring to see the world through a lens of compassion. This only happens when we come and see, if we dare to take the first step.”
Blake: “Today I felt as a team we finally adjusted while teaching the Bible stories to Eugene’s basketball team. The Spirit has definitely provided the words, thoughts and the slow speak while presenting. The kids were far more engaged then the days before. Personally for my self I felt that today that a lot of the basketball team began to finally feel comfortable around me. I really enjoyed hanging out with them the passed couple days by learning about their lives, their homes and their language. Such interesting people.”
Dalí: “Yesterday night I was feeling a little sick, so I prayed for good rest and healing to the next morning, I woke up and I was still feeling the same way but instead of complaining I prayed again saying, “God please make me feel better, but even if you don’t change my circumstances I’m sure you’re going to be my sustained for today as you are daily”. Then I wasn’t feeling totally prepare to talk about the hand sign story of “Law” and I prayed last minute, and God through the Spirit helped me find the best example for talking about it, again God was my sustained, and it’s exactly what we start our day reading with Psalms 3 today, for God there’s no coincidences and everything works for His Glory!”
Alexis: “Today was super encouraging. We met with a team early in the morning and shared some of the stories. All of them were attentive and stayed engaged for the entire class. Each story was followed with thoughtful questions. It felt easy and natural. It was an awesome feeling seeing them finally understand these stories not just for knowledge, but for their own faith.”
Morgan: “Today has been so fun! The team and I headed back to the gym for the morning to teach the next 4 hand signs. I taught the “Isaac” story. Now, we are at their evening practice. I am currently sitting on a bench watching the team do some exercises in this beautiful park to Moldovan wedding music.We are earning the right to be heard. God is moving already! We read through Psalm 2 this morning. I am really enjoying our reading
time in the morning. It has been a very fun afternoon! The team is really bonding today, and enjoying our time here so far with our new friends.”
Blake: “Today was our third day in Chișinău, Moldova. My day began with early morning alone time with God. Then we spent some time as a team in the book of Psalms. Which then the rest of the day was spent with Eugene and his basketball team sharing the stories of the Bible with his young players. Later we joined Eugene’s team at the city park where we were surrounded by a beautiful forest where the team performed their last work as of the day. The rest of the evening was followed by sports, laughter and quality free time with the basketball team. The alone time I had with God this morning gave me the spiritual awareness I needed for the day and I know without it I would of been a complete mess. So thank you Lord. Please continue to be with me!”
Dalí: “Every day is an adventure. God is the best planner. Something that God brought to my mind today was “obedience is key”, while working with these teenagers and teaching them the signs. Sometimes we don’t know if the way we tell the story is the best way, but definitely God knows. Seeing them being so disciplined towards basketball, and always trying to improve is a great encouragement for me to be better in the storytelling. He helped us to improve and engage more with them. God is working in the midst, at all times.”
Alexis: ““ I experienced a lot of peace today. If I’m being honest, I was a little nervous coming to Moldova. Knowing how close it was to the war in Ukraine, I had some fears. I realize the news has added to this, sometimes blowing things out of proportion. But since coming here, I have felt a lot of peace! Today we went to a beautiful park with the Admirals team to exercise. Despite the war and overflow of refugees, everyone is continuing on in their normal life. People are going to work, spending time with family, exercising, etc. This was a sweet reminder that we have a choice to let fear take control of our lives, or we can trust God and find joy/ rest in the present moment.”
Morgan: Hey everyone! We landed in Moldova last night. We were picked up by Eugene, and shared a great lunch with him. We were blessed to have met Eugene while on our trip to Israel. We spent the evening at his house and met his wife and children. We shared a meal and got to meet some of his basketball players. We paired up with them and went for a walk. I got paired with Nathan and got to learn some Russian, ha! Today, we walked through a few hand signs and taught them to share as well to their friends!
Blake: Kak dela? Or in english… how are you? This phrase in Russian, was about the extent of what I learned the last time I met Eugene, who is our friend here in Moldova. This time it will be different. I’ve learned quite of bit of Russian already, counting it’s only been a day. I’ve also learned so much about our friends beautiful country. Surprisingly, it is very green. There is a lot of different trees that engulf the capital city Chișinău which make it very unique. The weather is close to perfect, sitting around 85 degrees during the peak of the day. Our friends here have been very kind to us and every new person we meet are all interesting in their own way. For a week the team will be in Moldova working alongside our friend Eugene and his basketball team. So tune in every day to hear a small perspective of how the Fellowship’s day in Moldova went!
Dalí: Today in my early prayer time, after all the journey of getting here and the obstacles we passed through, I was really inspired of how God holds our Spirit even when the body needs are high. I was thanking Him and I asked Him specifically for a sign of His peace through the process of this mission, and to show me His purpose for us being here. After a couple minutes into our morning Bible reading, while reading Psalms 1, a classical song started playing. This song was the exact same song I used to listen to at University when I had a hard day. Today, I needed something to settle my mind back to calmness and peace. In that moment, I just knew it was God’s answer to my request. Today, reminded me that it doesn’t matter what we do or where we go, His will always fulfill.
Alexis: We had a crazy day of travel! There were a number of hurdles that came up and we thought we would miss each of our flights. By God’s grace we were barely able to make every single one! This was a sweet reminder to me that this trip is in the Lord’s hands, and there is no need to worry.”
The Fellowship Team has been training with Disciple Daily since last August. They have served and shared the Gospel with others in New Braunfels, Seattle, and remote parts of Panama.
Now they have a chance to serve again. Six million Ukrainian refugees have been exiled from their country.
From June 6th thru August 4th, The Fellowship Team will be on the ground in Moldova and Romania, serving the needs of these refugees alongside our international partners.