New, but Old
Back in 1991 I spent about a month in Romania. It was during this time that civil unrest broke out in the little country of Moldova. To say the least, it was a little unnerving to be only 90 miles away from Russian Spetsnaz “peace keepers.”
It was in 1991 that tiny Moldova finally gained its independence from the Soviet Union. But Moldova has been traded back and forth for thousands of years between different tribes and nations. At one point Moldova was actually part of early Romania, but it was also controlled at different times by the Romans, the Huns, the Bulgarians, and the Mongols.
Opposite of Luxembourg
If you remember last week’s country, Luxembourg, you will remember that she is one of the most wealthy countries in the world (per capita). Well, if Luxembourg is top on the money list, Moldova is right at the bottom.
According to the European Parliament (via Wikipedia), Moldova is the poorest country in all of Europe in terms of GDP. And despite their economy growing in the last few years, the per capita GDP is only $2022.! To put that in perspective, the United States’ per capita GDP is $48,400, while Luxembourg’s $115,000! 20% of the population lives at or below the absolute poverty line of $2.15 a day.
According to one of the only sources I am using today, most of the people in Moldova are Christian (93.3%). The only problem with that number is that most are either Russian or Romanian Eastern Orthodox. It is said that the church is so affected by culture and national interests that professing atheists (0.4%) participate in religious activities simply because it’s the thing to do.
My concern is that there may be the ability to know the truth of Christ within the churches of Moldova, but do they? Is Christianity mostly a cultural institution, or do they really know Jesus?
It is not my intention to belittle the Orthodox Church in Moldova. But it makes me wonder: a country that forces all religious groups to register with the state doesn’t help me to believe that 93% of its citizens are filled with the Spirit.
Many times religious people find their hope of salvation in the keeping of tradition, the confessional, or prayers to saints in a candle-lit room. What they don’t understand is that Grace is calling out to them. Jesus wants to set them free from legalism and a cold, unevangelical faith.
I don’t know how many visits I have had to this blog by people in Moldova, but it can’t be more than a few. Yet, there has been at least one, so just pray that this site might spark a revival in such a poor and thirsty land.
And while you are praying, pray for the economic situation in Moldova.