Beth and Don Minikel have been busy since returning to the United States from Moldova in August. The couple, who used to live in Racine, has since been traveling from state to state, visiting with family, friends and various congregations, sharing stories of life and work in the impoverished central European country.
Having spent the last two years living and working in villages outside Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau, the Minikels have learned much about the country’s people and their needs. By sharing their knowledge about what is considered Europe’s poorest country, they hope to inspire others to get involved. While here, the couple is also raising funds to enable them to return to Moldova in early March, where they plan to spend at least another two years carrying out God’s work with the Assemblies of God World Missions.
Variety of projects
Their work their has included a variety of projects from drilling wells to improve the water supply to mentoring girls and young women who have been rescued from the human trafficking trade. Working alongside missionaries from various faith traditions — as well as mission groups from churches across the United States and Canada that come to Moldova — they have been helping residents there to see and understand what is possible, Beth Minikel said.
Hope is what the people of Moldova need most, said Don Minikel.
“Many feel downtrodden, as if they have no future,” he said.
Before they could give the people hope, the Minikels said they first needed to gain their trust — something that hasn’t always been easy in a country where there is a lot of distrust, according to Don. People there often question the intentions of outsiders, he said, and want to know what such help is going to cost them.
Open, kind people
Once they realize the commitment of people like the Minikels, however, they are willing to engage, and it is easy to see what open, kind people they are, Beth said.
“It is so important to build those relationships so that they can see that you don’t want to just fling something at them and leave, but to help them grow and have a better life,” she said.
The Minikels and their mission partners work closely with local pastors to determine the needs of each community, Beth explained. And while their basic desire is to share the Gospels with the people of Moldova, their daily work is aimed at helping villages become sustainable.
The Wisconsin couple, whose home church is Kenosha’s First Assembly of God, had their own adjustments to make in adapting to life in Moldova. Not speaking the language has been their biggest hurdle, but they are working through that with the help of a translator.
The slower pace of life — especially in the rural areas — and difficulty in obtaining the building supplies needed for construction projects also took some getting used to, Don said.
Yet, after living in Moldova for two years, the couple seems to feel even more certain that foreign missions are where they belong.
“We feel very much at peace there,” Don said.
Looking to the future, the Minikels are also considering doing mission work in Russia, after continuing their current work in Moldova.
“If that’s where God wants us, we will be obedient,” Don said.
More about the Minikels and their work can be found at www.harvestingmoldova.org, or on their Facebook page (search for Harvesting Moldova).