Today we needed two translators at times, one to translate Russian to Romanian, and then another to translate Romanian into English. We spent the entire day in the limitedly-recognized country of Transnistria, a narrow strip of land between Moldova and Ukraine. Most folks in Transnistria speak Russian, including the main man we’d come to see, Rusnac Alexander.
A former drug addict who found deliverance through Jesus, Rusnac now heads a Christian drug rehab in an old farm house outside the city of Ribnita. Rusnac’s story was featured in this month’s issue of our magazine (see www.heavensfamily.org/special_reports/2012-09/transnistrian-emancipation). As I’ve traveled in Eastern Europe over the years, I’ve discovered that many churches are using Scripture-based drug rehabilitation as an effective solution to an endemic social problem and a means to build God’s kingdom. The simple fact is that Jesus will deliver people from even the most addictive drugs if they will cooperate with Him.
The old farmhouse that serves as the living quarters for the men who submit to Rusnac’s program is far from adequate. So, through our Prison Ministry & Rehab Fund, Heaven’s Family has been funding an addition that will serve as a kitchen, dining area, bedroom, bathroom and shower. Currently, the kitchen, bathroom and shower are all outdoors.
It was great to tour the construction progress. Funds are still needed for completion, and we requested an itemized list of the final costs. I was also thankful to see that the center has become somewhat self-sufficent, as they raise sheep and goats and sell milk and cheese. Still, ever-big-hearted-Ghiorghi had convinced us to purchase and bring a trunk-load of cooking oil, soap, and other staples that will serve them as winter approaches, and when street-living drug addicts who need a warm place to sleep swell their ranks (and hopefully come to the Lord).
We spent the rest of our day driving the length of Transnistria, visiting another Christian drug rehab, and enjoying an authentic Transnistrian meal at the home of a pastor—a former drug addict himself—and his wife and their nine children (four of whom are adopted orphans). My bowl of shredded beet soup complemented with a daub of sour cream begged to be filled twice.
It is the custom of the Christians in this part of the world to thank the Lord before and after every meal—with everyone praying out loud in their own words as they stand around the table. At the end of tonight’s special meal, the expression of gratitude seemed especially sincere. — David