Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Moldavians abroad earn an average of $800 a month -- a small fortune compared to $120 -- the average monthly salary in Moldova, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Many adults move to other countries looking for jobs, often separating families. It is not unusual for mom to live in one country, dad in another, while grandparents, aunts or uncles take care of the children.
40 staff members split into 5 teams on the 9 most prestigious universities in the country. Currently, there are 79 college students involved.
Current Campus Outreaches
- Magazine outreach: Staff members ask students to fill out a contact card and give away a magazine called "BOOM." This year Cru distributed 18,000 magazines on campus.
As a result, they received 5,000 contact cards with valid information. Staff members called those students and asked to meet with them. When meeting with students, staff members use "The Citizen of the Planet Barein," an article from the magazine, to start spiritual conversations.
- Text messaging: Recently staff members began using contact cards from the magazine outreach to send 8-10 text messages explaining the gospel. Many students answer back and are willing to meet in person before the last message is sent.
- Parties: Staff members invite students on campus to attend parties where they discuss the gospel. Party themes include making paper frames, talking about relationships and showing movies.
- Summer English Camp: Last summer, students involved in Cru called their peers and invited them to spend 12 days in the woods learning English and exploring Christianity. 30 students came and half indicated a decision to become a Christian.
The staff members in Moldova are focusing on challenging students to live out their faith. For example, instead of just telling students how to do evangelism, staff members are now responsible for taking students they mentor one-on-one or in small groups to tell people how to know God. Also, they are asking students to help plan retreats and summer camps.
Obstacles to Ministry
- Poverty in Moldova has led to materialism. "College students in Moldova are obsessed with 'American living,'" says Tanya Onu, a Moldovan staff member. "Some of them are desperate. They are led by the philosophy: I want everything now and I will do anything to get it."
- All Protestant churches are considered cults. "Christianity" is more cultural and few consider it a personal faith. Parents are often fearful when they find out their child is interested in the gospel.
- "The biggest obstacle is that very few students are willing to take leadership in ministry," according to Mariana Simonov, the associate national campus director. Student leaders are essential for building new spiritual movements.
Dreams for the Future
In 2008, Moldova would like to send staff members to Russia and Trans-Dniester, a communist region in Moldova. If God provides enough money, staff members are prepared to go this September.
People in Trans-Dniester consider it a separate country although it is within Moldova's boundary. It is very difficult to share the gospel in that region. However, there is a big university there.