Another issue facing Moldovans is a massive unemployment. Jobs are extremely difficult to come by and people often work without pay in hope that they will eventually be able to receive a paycheck. The students graduating from the seminary will be going to work for the church and receiving a salary of $150 per month. This is more money than most doctors receive, which possibly accounts for the poor state of medical health in this country. I have seen relatively few old people here. They don't normally live that long. A man in his upper 50's is often at the end of his life.
On one evening, Tom and I treat senior student Christiana and her family to a dinner at MacDonalds. Christina spent a year with Tom's family back in the United States when she came as an exchange student. Her parents are not Christians, but they have come into town for their daughter's graduation. They speak almost no English, so we conduct all of our conversation through Christina. It is a fascinating time.
Christina's grandmother was deported to Siberia during the Stalin years and her father was raised there. He has had a hard life, but he is quick-witted and fun. He is presently out of work and his wife has a job that pays 350 lei a month that translates roughly to about $28 a month. The cost of the MacDonalds meal would be over a week's salary to them.
At one point, he quips, "Ask two Americans a question and you will get three different opinions; ask ten Moldovans a question and you will only be given one opinion." We are reminded that this is a man who has seen people shipped to Siberia for expressing a conflicting opinion. He has seen communism at its worst and thinks highly of capitalism, yet sees it failing to overcome the gross and blatant graft that is going on in the Moldovan government.
When the subject turns to the gospel, the two of them are frank with their questions. Tom later tells me that this is a vast improvement from the time he last spoke to them. They have not yet believed, but perhaps they are closer to the Kingdom. They are typical of many Moldovans. They have a hard and difficult life and seem open to giving the gospel a hearing. And yet, they have little or no Biblical foundation. All their lives they have been taught that the Bible is nothing more than a fairy tale and a crutch for weak people. They have a spiritual need and they know that they have such a need. But they have been conditioned to turn away. The remarkable thing is how many young people are turning to Christ in spite of this conditioning. I believe that the gospel is winning here in Moldova. These young people are making an impact in their city for Christ.