This is how it all began

This is how it all began

In the summer of 2019, we volunteered for the first time as a family. After three weeks we returned to Switzerland, but a part of our heart remained in Moldova.

― by Familie Schoch / 15. August 2019

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A long cherished wish

Tim and I have been wanting to do a short assignment for a while. In the summer of 2019, our kids were finally old enough, and we approached several organizations for opportunities. So it happened that the cheerful Emanuel from OM sat with us in the living room and introduced us to Moldova, among other things. We didn’t even know where this country was before. As a first mission it was ideal: the journey is short, the country is relatively safe, at the children’s program in the morning our children can also participate and since the leaders would take their children with them, the integration would be easier for our children.

The first week in Moldova

At the airport we were met by OM staff. The following day, training for our mission began. We learned simple phrases in Romanian, a children’s song, how to make these balloon animals, something about Moldovan culture and what to expect over the next two weeks.

Our multi-cultural outreach group consisted of three local OM staff (two of whom took their own families), three US American women, one Englishman, and us. Together we drove to the first village, where we were allowed to stay with an elderly woman for five days. With incredible hospitality she took care of us and conjured up the most delicious dishes on the table. On the grounds of the local free church we were allowed to conduct a children’s program every morning. We organized games, had a bouncy castle, played theater for them, sang children’s songs and told them Bible stories. Am Ende bekamen die Kinder ein kleines Essenspaket mit Obst, Joghurt, Süßigkeiten und meist einem Eis (das Tim erstaunlich gut fand).

Lunch was again at our elderly mom’s house and in the afternoon we visited families from poor backgrounds at home in groups. We brought them a household and food package and talked with them. They told us about their lives, asked us about our origins, or talked to us about the Christian faith. If you wished, we prayed for their intentions at the end or gave them a Bible. The families were always very happy about our visit and the food, which they can use very well. Since we all hardly spoke Romanian, OM employees were always there as translators (Mulțumescmeans thank you ;). Most of the time our day was not over then. In the evening there was either a program for teenagers, an evening service or we prepared the theaters and games for the next day.

In this small free church there was only a very old and not very deep outhouse outside. We asked the OM employee how much a better toilet would cost. The leader of the church told us that this costs about 100 francs, which we gladly gave them. This includes all the work: dig a deep hole with an excavator, insert concrete pipes, buy additives or worms for composting, pour a foundation and a wooden house for on it. Again and again we experienced such spontaneous stories where we were able to help the people on the spot with practical help, listening, being there for them or praying quite simply.

The second week

As in the first week, we spent four days in a village, with a similar daily program. (Only this time we had a trampoline instead of a bouncy castle). Here, too, we experienced how little it sometimes takes to help in a practical way.

This second week moved us very much and in us germinated more and more the desire to spend a longer time here and help to build a sustainable work for children, families and parents. After these four days we went back to OM headquarters, discussed the experiences in the group and after a few days of vacation we soon had to say goodbye to this beautiful country and the wonderful people.

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