‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ Isaiah 9:2
On 23 November 2022, President Zelensky announced that Ukraine’s energy sector was under a massive Russian rocket and drone attack. Within five minutes, the whole of Moldova (which was entirely dependent on electricity from Ukraine) was plunged into nationwide darkness at twilight.
That evening is nothing compared to the prolonged days of blackout that our neighbours across the border are still having to endure, but it was an event that Moldovans will struggle to forget. The city turned to absolute chaos during rush hour. It was dangerous for us driving in the pitch black without any traffic lights, but even more so for the barely visible pedestrians who were trying to get home. The streets were eerily strewn with countless abandoned and unmovable trolleybuses. Even-gloomier-than-usual Soviet apartment blocks loomed menacingly over the skyline, while shops, workplaces and schools had to close. It was unsettling.
As we reflect on 2022, darkness is one of the words that we would use to sum up what we saw first-hand, and the stories we heard from our friends in Ukraine and from those who were forced to leave their home and loved ones. For us personally, never have we lived a year where darkness has felt so pervasive or so near. God has most graciously protected us from danger, but sharing our home and our lives with people who have escaped the horrors of war and occupation in places like Mariupol, Bucha, Kherson and the Donbas has left an indelible mark on our family.
However, in God’s wonderful kindness, he has been using these experiences to teach us more deeply than ever before about just how precious the message of Christmas is. The truth that Jesus is the Light of the world and that darkness shall never overcome him has struck us more powerfully than it ever has done so before. That the Light of the world not only entered this dark world, but that he is with us now, in and despite the darkness that we have encountered, stirs our hearts to praise. Join with us in praising him!
We thank the Lord for the great privilege that it has been over the Christmas period to share this good news with both Moldovan and Ukrainian believers and unbelievers. Graeme regularly spoke about these Bible verses – that Jesus is the Light of the world and that he alone can bring hope and salvation. We were able to share this with our church, English class, youth group, children’s groups and with the Ukrainians staying in our church building. Alongside Christmas presents for the Ukrainians, we gave them Bibles and literature in their own language. Please join us in praying that this new year, they and our Moldovan friends will come to know Jesus – the Light of the world – as their personal Lord and Saviour. And for those who already trust in Jesus, that they will rejoice all the more that in Christ, they need not fear the darkness.
As we begin this new year, we would like to ask you to pray for us as we make some important decisions on our ministry focus. Please pray for God’s clear guidance. Our different ministries have resumed after the long Moldovan Christmas break – Bible studies, on-to-ones, the youth group and various other ministries with Moldovans and Ukrainians. Graeme is about to finish his preaching series in Revelation, and he also has a number of other preaching engagements later this month at some other churches outside the capital.
We are thankful that we were able to start the year by spending a few days in the Romanian mountains at the beginning of January with some Christian friends to recharge our batteries. It was a much-needed time of rest, refreshment and encouragement!
As we reflect on God’s faithfulness and goodness which sustained us over the last year, we give him great praise for your many prayers, love and support. There have been some key times where we have truly felt uplifted by the prayers of so many partners in the gospel!
Thank you for your care for us, especially through the darkness of 2022. We are immensely grateful.
Graeme, Bequi, Iona, Joshua and Ella
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