David and Shannon Brown’s connections in Moldova stretch across time and borders.
These connections include Baptist pastors in western Moldova who operate a cheese factory, a Baptist medical clinic in the capital and a seminary centered on ministry in Central Asia. The Browns are also in close contact with seven villages that have no known believers.
David recently retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“I wanted to retire to something, not from something,” David said.
While David made his first connections in Moldova in 2008 through a trip with a friend, the Browns can look back now and see how the Lord started calling them to serve in Moldova beginning in 2014.
Various events and trips through the years connected to their home church, Meadow Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, built up to the moment they surrendered to the call.
Now that serving in Moldova has become a reality, they plan to live there for 18 to 20 months.
The Browns said they are glad to be serving with IMB missionaries Ryan and Jenni Meredith, who are now the team leaders for IMB ministry in Moldova. This team is the first IMB presence the nation has had in many years.
Moldova was deemed “reached” in terms of the Christian population and church autonomy and ownership in the missionary task, but most pastors in Moldova are bivocational and could benefit from more resources.
Brown said he and IMB regional leader Lamar Schubert recognized the potential for a powerhouse partnership with the Moldovan Baptist Union in reaching non-Christians in Moldova and sending Moldovan missionaries to the nations.
The team has a three-part ministry focus.
The first is to expand disciple-making efforts, reach many others for Christ and eventually plant new churches in the Hincesti district.
The team is working with Emanuel Baptist Clinic in Chisinau and coming alongside Eugenia Podoleanu, the executive director of the clinic, and Gusac Liviu, the clinic’s president, as their staff meets both physical and spiritual needs in the capital and other cities.
Meadow Brook Baptist, which has a partnership with Dancu Baptist Church, provides funding for medical supplies used in community health outreaches.
Send Relief, a compassion ministry collaboration between the North American Mission Board and IMB, is providing funds to the clinic to assist refugees.
The second focal point of the team’s ministry is the Orhei region of Moldova. The Browns are partnering with a local pastor to reach the region’s population of 50,000 with the gospel. David estimates there are seven villages in the area where this pastor lives, with a combined population of 10,000 people and no known Christians.
Their third focus is building relationships with a Baptist seminary in Chisinau. The seminary is involved in sending missionaries to Central Asia.
David said they also are the “eyes and ears on the ground” for Send Relief projects aimed at helping Ukrainian refugees through the local Baptist churches.
The Browns’ days are full, but so are their hearts. Their retirement looks different from the average American’s — and that’s just what they wanted.