Posts Tagged “Andy and Nancy Raatz”

Carol works as a Kindergarten Teacher’s Aide. She missed almost two weeks of work because of our Missions Trip to Moldova.  Her kids obviously missed her and greeted her with this big poster.  Welcome Back Mrs. M.

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Click this picture to see photos from our trip home from Moldova.

The Long Day, Home, and SNOW???

Today we left Moldova for home.  We had to get up about 4:00 a.m. Moldova time on Monday, March 13.  This was 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening in Montana.  Reva and Brianon left on Sunday for Romania, to do some visiting there.  Jerry and Ruth traveled from Moldova to Frankfurt with us where we left them to do a little vacationing. This left eleven total to return to Helena out of the fifteen members of our team.  On our trip TO Moldova, we had several multi-hour layovers, on our trip back to Montana, we RAN from one flight to the next.  It kept up awake if nothing else.

We were blessed to have Anne Graham Lotz on our flight from Moldova through to Cincinnati.  She had a womens conference in Moldova while we were there.  How cool is that?  When we were waiting for our flight in Salt Lake City, we were blessed to come across Helena’s own Cissy Padget who was just coming back from Texas.

We arrived back in Helena about 9:30 p.m. after more than 24 hours of flying.  Monday ended up being about 30 hours long for us before we found our own beds.  We were even able to sleep considering our bodies were still on Moldova time where it was about 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

We heard that we had a lot of snow at home while we were away.  We had about 18 inches of snow.  Thank you Renee for taking care of our children while we were away and through the snow storms. Thank you to Dave and Hoss for taking care of and repair our vehicle that we left for Renee.  Thank you Dave and Bob for plowing our driveway so Renee and our children could get home during the snow storm.

We also thank everyone for their prayers and messages while our team was in Moldova, as they were such an encouragement.  Now that we are back, I will go back and correct all the spelling and grammatical errors in the posts for the past twelve days.  Our children were quick to point them out to me.  When Jerry and Ruth get back, I will post some of their pictures since they took many of them.  Andy Raatz also has many on his web site and I will put a link to them on our main Moldova page at .

We had a blessed time in Moldova, but it is very good to be back home.

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Click this picture to see photos from our last day in Moldova.

Good Bye Moldova

Today we said good bye to our new friends at the church in Orhei where we worked at the first part of the week. There were a lot of hug, tears, and kisses. Our time here has gone by quickly in one sense, and in another, it seems like we have been here forever. It is very mixed emotions since we long for home, our church, and our own beds, but in another way, we are saddened to leave our very good friends that we have worked with, prayed with, ate with, and lived with.

We had some time in the after noon free so Carol and I (John) went down to the open market that is about a block away from the Pentecostal Union, and were utterly amazed.  I had in my mind that it would be kind of like the straw market in the Bahamas where people would be selling their crafts, and touristy stuff.  This was not so here.  This was the Wal-Mart of Moldova.  There are hundreds of little shelters that open up for business everyday selling anything from car parts, to toiletries, to food, to clothing of every kind, and believe it or not, furniture like beds, and couches, to plumbing, to custom kitchen cabinets.  Each one puts everything in their little box at night and locks it up.  In the morning, they haul everything out again.  We spent a couple of hours there and barely scratched the surface.

This evening, we had church service here at the Pentecostal Union.  It was called, International Church and was in English.  People from all over the area attend, some from the American Embasy, Convoy of Hope, Missionaries from different denominations, to visitors in the area that speak English.  It was nice to worship in English again.

We are now packing up to leave.  We leave at 5:30 tomorrow morning and will take a day to fly back home.  Thanks to all who have been praying for us and the team, and for your notes of encouragement.  We appreciate them.  Tomorrow, we will have to say good bye to the rest of our friends.  It has been a good trip, and the more we tried to bless others, the more we got blessed.  Good bye Moldova, we will miss you!

P.S. I did not have time to edit the photos because we were busy packing.  What you see is what you get.  When I get back home, I will clear out the junkie ones, delete duplicates, and take sideways ones and put them upright. 🙂

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Our Moldova Missions Team

Our Team Leaders - Sharon and Ron

Our Team Leaders - Sharon and Ron

Andy and Nancy Raatz - A/G Missionaries to Moldova

Andy and Nancy Raatz - A/G Missionaries to Moldova

Wendell & Patty McClung - A/G Missionaries to Lithuania

Wendell & Patty McClung - A/G Missionaries to Lithuania

David and Jan H.

David and Jan H.

Brianon and Reva

Brianon and Reva

Craig and Courtney

Craig and Courtney



Steve and David F.

Steve and David F.

Jerry and Ruth

Jerry and Ruth

John and Carol

John and Carol

Click this picture to see a lot of photos from today.

Good Bye Bubieci

Today, we worked once again at the future church at Bubieci.  We gained good ground in our work, and we gained good ground on developing relationships with the Bubieci church.  The teamwork was amazing, from the youngest children to the oldest adults.  We were not quite to the point of pouring cement, but it is setup up so with not to much further work, cement can be poured.  Click the picture on the left to see a lot of photos for the day.

The church gave us another wonderful lunch.  After lunch, we all (Moldovans and Americans) gathered around Sasha (sp?) the pastor and prayed for him and the church there.  Prayer time was very powerful, and we know that God has good plans for them.  We are excited to see the finished church.  We then continued to work until quitting time which was at 3:30 today.  There were a lot of tearful good-byes, hugs, and kisses.  We truely developed good relationships with them.

Today, was our last work day in Moldova.  After we got back to the Pentecostal Union, we got cleaned up and dressed up for a very nice dinner at a fine restaurant.  It was a good night.

After we got back from dinner, we once again played cards.  We also celebrated Brianon’s 18th birthday, and Sharon’s birthday.  Happy birthday Brianon and Sharon.

The day was filled with good things, and it is good to settle down for a good nice sleep.

Click the picture above for a lot of photos from today.

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Click the picture to see Day 9's photos.

Recycled Nails, Rebar, and Concrete

Today was a busy day at a community called Bubieci.  We prepared for the day by doing devotions, praying, and having a good breakfast.

As explained in a previous post, the church at Bubieci is meeting in a house that is being sold.  Also, there is not much room and when there are guests, they carry all of the pews outside to the drive way and have service there.

As all buildings are built here, this one will also be built with concrete and limestone blocks.  Our job here is to wire up rebar and pour columns between large concrete blocks that are laid in place by a crane.  The concrete blocks are over 15 inches thick, and this is close to how thick the walls will be when they are built above the concrete blocks.

Everyone from our team was involved in one way or another with the process today.  We did not have nails or any new lumber, so many of the ladies, and girls from the church, disassembled lumber, recycling the nails and straightening them all so we could use them again.  We are promised that we will have nails tomorrow.

Placing the concrete blocks in place was interesting.  A layer of concrete would be shoveled on the top of existing blocks, then the crane would lift the next layer of blocks in place with men on each side making sure the line of the wall was (somewhat) straight.  See the pictures to see what went on.  The crane had to come into the construction zone to place some blocks near the rear of the building.  The water table under the earth was down about a foot.  If a hole was dug, it would fill up with water.  When the crane drove in, it sank up to its axles.  When the outriggers were put into place, they slowly sank.  We had to build up the areas for the outriggers and place a path of rocks for the wheels to drive in on.  Finally, it was stable enough to lift the concrete blocks.  After the last block was laid, the driver gunned it and blew blue smoke everywhere, and tore his way out of the mud.

The Bubieci church supplied a nice lunch for us at the construction site.  They are very nice people, and about half dozen or so helped all day long.

The weather today was beautiful.  It was probably above 70 degrees, very sunny, and no wind.  A slight breeze would have been nice because while we worked, it was quite hot.  We have been watching the weather back in Montana and noticed that there is a “winter storm warning” alert as I type this.  We hope and pray that all is well there.

We were able to get about half of the columns rebarred and wired, with forms set in place.  We hope to have the second half done tomorrow.  We all come home tire today, but we still have enough “umph” to play some cards before we turn in for the night.

Thank you all who are praying for us.  We appreciate you and your prayers.  Thanks, also to you who have been sending us notes of encouragement.  Those are the extra little tidbits that help keep us going.  If you would like to send us a note, you can click the “Send Us A Message” button on the column on the right side of the main Moldova page at .  We love and miss you all.

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Click the picture to see our photos from our day off in Moldova.

A Day Off

Today, we took the day off.  It was deemed that we would take the day that has the worse weather of the next three days because we need to do concrete work on the two nicest days.  That is good news since we were quite tired from the last few days of intense work.

Besides having a day off when we need it, we woke today with our water working.  Yeah, what a nice shower we had.

We started our day with the devotional time spent reflecting all the things that were done yesterday.  See yesterday’s post to see what we did on that busy day.  We had at least four different ministry opportunities yesterday.

After another great breakfast, we boarded vehicles and went to Old Orhei.  We visited several old ruins, some dating as far back as the 1300’s.  We toured an old monastery that was carved out of limestone completely underground.  Click the picture on the left so see photos of this marvel and other very interesting sites at Old Orhei.

On the way back from Old Orhei, we visited a church in Butuceni, which is one of several churches in the area that is pastored by the same man.  We met a few of the ladies from this church while working on the Orhei church, and one of them showed us around the Butuceni church.  We gave her a ride into Chisinau for a class she was taking.  We had the opportunity to share with each other, and show a lot of photos to each other.

We took a tour of downtown Chisinau.  Chisinau is the capital city of Moldova and has around a million people living there.  There is a stark contrast between the typical country Moldovan and most of those living in the city.  In my opinion, it seems like when they gained freedom from the Soviet Union, they went complete bonkers.  Most of the people wear black leather looking clothes.  The girls wear several inch high heals, with short short mini skirts or overly tight pants.  The music and media is just crazy with the stuff.  The traditional people still wear scarves, long skirts, and wool socks.  It seems that the people went from being slaves to communism to slaves of the world.  Either way, they sure need Jesus to give them true freedom.

We were brought to a small very smoky Greek restaurant for lunch and had Gyros.  They were good, but we were glad to get out and get some fresh air.  While at the restaurant, we were privelaged to meet Troy and Heidi Darren who are also missionaries in Moldova.  We had a good discussion about the problem of trafficked women in Moldova.

When lunch was done, we walked down to an area in downtown Chisinau that had an open air market.  The market consisted mostly of art and Moldova memorabilia.  We spent a couple of hours there with some members of our team wheeling and dealing with the different vendors selling their wares.  It was fun, but neither Carol nor I (John) are any good at wheeling and dealing.

At the appointed time, we gathered once again, and went to take a tour of the “House Home of Hope”.  “The House Home of Hope” is due to open up in a week or two.  Wow, it was nice!  The House Home of Hope is a long term home for trafficked women that escape from their captors.  It is hoped that this will be a safe place where they can be loved, healed, and restored.  We had the privilege of anointing and praying for the rooms in the house.  It was a powerful time in the presence of the Lord.  He loves to restore the broken and forgotten of society.  We will hear many miraculous stories from the House Home of Hope in the future.

We needed to stop by Andy and Nancy Raatz home to exchange some tools that we will need for our concrete work tomorrow.  For our evening culinary delight, we went to… “McDonald’s”.  Yes, good ole’ American junk food.  At home, McDonald’s is very near to the bottom of the list of my favorite places to eat.  Today, it was quite high on the list and it was good to eat ordinary food for a change.  We were told ahead of time that this was not like our McDonald’s at home.  While the menu is the same, (other than the beer they served) everyone dressed up to go to McDonald’s.  It is like luxury dining for the Moldovans.

After dinner we joyfully went back to the Pentecostal Union where we played a good game of cards while we wound down.  It is now past midnight and we are due for another early day tomorrow.  It was a good day, but we didn’t get much rest in it.  The fellowship and fun we had made it worth it.

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Click the picture to see photos from Tuesday of the Moldova Missions Trip.

Progress is Happening

Today was another productive day for our Moldova Missions Team. The day started with another Moldovan delicious breakfast. We had a meeting amongst ourselves last night before we went to bed. We decided to get up a half hour earlier so we can start working a half hour earlier; and to leave the job site so we can get another half hour at the end. That extra hour really helped.

Sharon spent part of the day meeting with the workers at the Home of Hope, the home for women who come out of the sex trafficking trade. Yesterday, she spent the day in meetings with church leaders concerning marriages, family, relationships, etc.

David F. led our devotions for the day. His emphasis was on how we need to be aware of those around us, and our conduct here. Many Moldovans can not speak English, but they know enough to pick up on what we say. It was a timely message for us.

We were reminded once again that there are two major rules to be a missionary.
1. If there is a bathroom there, use it. You may not know when the next opportunity will be.
2. be flexible. Everything can change at a moments notice. And it has.

Reva and Courtney had the opportunity to visit an elderly lady whose name is Maria. Angela, a member of the church at Orhei, invited them to go and she translated for them. Brianon was asked by a group of the girls that go to the church, to go to a football game (soccer). She had a great time hanging out with new friends of her own age. Russia played Italy and won.
Gheroghe (George – pronounced Eyourgie. This is the same George that I have written about for several days. We finally got his name and spelling correct. He has been a truly wonderful tour guide, and history teacher. He usually drives us from here to there. The last two days, he has been a helpful language teacher, teaching us all interesting tidbits about their language. He told us of interesting Romanian words (the people speak either Romanian or Russian)  that are pronounced like different English words. Like frog (I am not sure of the spelling). Frog in Romanian is the word for keyhole in English. He is full of all kinds of interesting things.

The progress on the church is really getting somewhere. We have most of the walls sheet rocked now. Tomorrow is our last day there and we want to get as much sheet rock work done as possible.

The people at the Orhei church are so nice. They just love us and we love them. The congregation is small and they need this church built. It will be a shining star in their community.

This evening after supper, we had the privilege to talk to a few people at our church home. We briefly talked to Kathy and Tana via Skype. It is always nice to hear from home. We need to remember that after we get home so we can encourage others that are away.

As I type this, it is evening, and a wild card game is in progress out in a living area here at the Pentecostal Union. We all worked hard today and will sleep well. Please, remember us in your prayers. Thanks!

Click on the picture to the left of this post to view pictures of today.

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Click this picture to see photos from Monday, March 6

A Good day of Work

Today was a good work day.

It started with a great devotional time led by Jim S.  We ate some good breakfast and off to work we went.

We worked on the church at Orhei.  We knew our routine from working there on Saturday; and we were able to get right on the job and work. Good progress was made on installing the metal studs, insulating and sheet rocking. Downstairs, others began tiling the hallway. The day was not glamorous, but was quite efficient. We got a lot of the work done that we came to do.

Lunch was very good, and the food was not piled on us like it was on Saturday.  That was good, since we didn’t want to take an after lunch nap like we did on Saturday.

The afternoon was just as productive, but the tile layers hit a dead end because they did not have some of the tools they needed, like a tile saw.

We had a pizza dinner back at the Pentecostal Union.  This is the second time we had pizza.  Andy mentioned that since choices are so small, when you find a good place, you tend to eat their food often.  We had a relaxing evening.  Several of us walked over to a store that is just a couple of doors down the block, but the bank there was already closed so we couldn’t exchange any money.  The weather today has been cool, which was nice for working.  This evening it is raining.

Thanks to all who are sending messages to us and praying for us. We appreciate it all, and we appreciate you all.  If you want to send a message to the team, go to the main Moldova page HERE and look on the right side column and click the “send a message” button.  We love you all and miss you!

Click the pictures to see a few photos of the day.  We didn’t have as many photos today because we just got down and dirty.

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Click this picture to see Sundays photos

A Worshipful Sunday

This morning our team went to a small church in Bubieci. This small church is out growing the small building they currently use; so the service was outside. All of the pews were placed down a sloping driveway. In addition to that, the building is being sold and they may have to be out any day. After service we took a tour of their new church site. We will be doing some cement work there on Friday and Saturday. The task looks impossible; but with God, all things are possible. See the pictures from the site.
David Huff preached at the service. He gave a very good message about the value of children in the Kingdom of God. This message goes counter to the culture here in Moldova. As an addition to the message, Brianon played the guitar and sang a special piece of music. She also gave her testimony which reinforced David’s message. Craig and Courtney then gave their testimonies. They all did such an awesome job.
It is wonderful to engage in worship with another culture. We didn’t know the words, and even the songs we should know, we couldn’t remember the words, but the atmosphere of worship and the presence of God were so real.
After we viewed the site of their new church, we headed back to the Pentecostal Union to eat lunch and get ready for the next service. We were to attend a communion service at the Orhei church. Again, the service was so filled with the presence of God. It was a small congregation but we are believing that the church will fill up when it is completed. David Huff again preached, but a different message about Jesus working in us, and we are to do the things He did. Carol and I (John) gave our testimonies and Brianon played a special song. It was a very good experience to give our testimonies using an interpreter. We were kind of nervous, but were well received by the team and congregation. Our interpreter has been our driver that was mentioned the other day. We are all developing a great relationship with George (pronounced Yourgi, I had this wrong on a previos post). He is full of history and information on his country and we could sit for hours listening to his stories. At the first service we had the pleasure of meeting George’s wife and little girl who is five months old. Her name is Arriana Belinda. Make sure you trill the rr in Arriana.
When service was over, we went to a restaurant and had some good food and fellowship. The conversations between the members of the team are starting to change as relationships are developed. Things are becomming more transparent between us; and the wall are coming down. We are now settling down for a fun game of cards, and have a great night sleep.

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Click to see more pictures

A Lost Day, Found Luggage, and Moldova

I mentioned on yesterdays post that our first day really ended somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  I have not gone to bed yet since we left Helena, and we will be on our third day when I finally wake up.  Our second day was kind of lost.

Not so with our luggage!

We flew all night long, with quite a bit of turbulence, to Frankfurt from Cincinnati, had a five hour lay over and boarded Moldova Air, with all of us flying on Moldova Air(see yesterdays post for an explanation).

The food on Moldova Air was probably the best we had.  It was certainly not extravagant but it was good.  Our flight had a pretty rough landing but we mad it down safely.

Once inside of the terminal, we proceeded to immigration. Once past immigration, we on to the luggage pickup area.  Slowly, one by one of our luggage appeared from behind the curtain.  Praise the Lord, they were all there… except one.  After some hand wringing, we checked the carts of our luggage that already went outside.  Sure enough, the missing piece was on someone else’s stack.  Prais the Lord again!

We were promptly met by Andy and Nancy Raatz and we loaded up the luggage on a rented van.  After a most thrilling ride (I’m not joking) through Moldova, we somehow safely arrived at the Pentecostal Union.  What a beautiful building!  We were greeted with “something small that they threw together.”  Wow!  Meat and cheese tray, veggies, fruit galore, and very tasty breads.  It was very good.

Once we were done eating our nice snack, we brought our bags to our rooms, unpacked, talked of what we might be doing, and reminded to “Be Flexible” as things could change from day to day.  It is now late in the evening in Moldova, and we are all very tired from the two days run together into one.  It was good, and we are glad to be in Moldova.  Good night!


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