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A Miracle in Moldova

Alec was a mean-spirited and bitter man who was crippled since birth. Cursing and hurling garbage at those passing by, he had few redeeming qualities . . . but God intervened.

Alec was a mean-spirited, bitter man. Born without the use of his lower legs and with little money or access to advanced medical techniques, Alec had spent his life going from place to place in Glinjeni, Moldova, crawling on his hands and knees.

Consumed by his bitterness, Alex would sit by the side of the road, cursing at people and throwing rocks and garbage at them. Few would argue that Glinjeni, Moldova, would likely be a more pleasant place without his presence.

Assemblies of God missionary associates, Don and Beth Minikel, who minister in Moldova, shared how one day, a group of volunteers from Cornerstone Church (AG) in Bowie, Maryland (who had committed to partnering with Convoy of Hope Europe in Glinjeni for three years to help establish a church), were working in the community.

"It was a beautiful sight," Beth Minikel says, "Americans and Moldovans working together.  They built new bathrooms inside the school and painted the playground equipment outside. They built a sidewalk for a grandma to reach her barn without walking through the mud and tore out and rebuilt a stove for warmth and to prepare meals. They also repainted homes."

Minikel says the group also ministered to children through games, songs, and skits that portrayed stories from the Bible. Soccer games were held at the same time for the older students. In the evening, worship services were held. "We sang together and listened to words from Abba Father's love letter to us," she says.

But as the music wafted through the village, it reached Alec. Something about the music pulled at him, drew him, spoke to him. He began to seek out its source -- crawling towards it.

"He arrived at the worship service -- on his hands and knees -- as the sermon was coming to a close and the altar call was given," Don Minikel recalls. In an instant, a miracle occurred. "Alec's heart responded and he gave his life to Jesus!"

One might anticipate that in this transformational moment Alec might also receive physical healing, but that wasn't the case.  However, to villagers, the difference in Alec is an incredible miracle all in itself -- and an ongoing testimony of Christ in his life.

But for Alec, a surprising miracle of movement was still in the making. Don shares that it "so happened" that one of the team members from Cornerstone Church had a talent for creating bicycles. Dedicating many hours of prayer and labor, the volunteer crafted a hand-driven bicycle for Alec, presenting him with the bike in the church's final year of their commitment -- now Alec could move easily about the village!

"An act of compassion, such as building the hand cycle, wonderfully illustrates the love of Christ," says Omar Beiler, AGWM Eurasia regional director. "Our missionaries and ministry teams are faithfully sharing the gospel with the people of Moldova, and backing up that message with tangible demonstrations of their love."

Through the efforts of local residents, Cornerstone Church, Convoy of Hope Europe, and AG missionaries, Glinjeni is now home to a new and growing church plant that has found favor in its community.

"God has blessed and called each of us as encouragers, prayer warriors, supporters, and doers," Beth Minikel says. "[Meaning] we're to go and be a part of beautiful miracles from our Abba Father."

For more information about AGWM Eurasia Northwest, including additional reports, click here.


Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.