Stoneworks board member Larry Heller reports on his recent visit to Moldova:
In early December, I made a somewhat last minute trip to visit Victor and Victoria Urasinov in Soroca, Moldova. I’ll admit, I was drawn there in large part by the two winsome young people, Yanis and Yulia (at left with me) who I made a connection with at the Stoneworks Conference in Odessa, back in August.
Yanis (one of the Urasinov’s 8 adopted children) is quite a good musician and we ‘traded songs’ on guitar in the meeting hall one afternoon. After the conference, we continued to correspond through facebook and he sent me links to the YouTube videos he had made with a friend (here’s one). I took him some guitar gear to show my support.
Yulia and I also continued to correspond after the conference and over time, I learned her story of challenge and hardship around her educational aspirations. As a result of those conversations, Yulia and I formed a close father/daughter relationship, and my wife and I began discussing with the Urasinovs how we might provide moral and financial support to Yulia to help her reach her goals.
The other draw was, of course, to get better acquainted with the Urasinovs, to learn about their ministry and to look for ways Stoneworks might partner with them and support them. This element of the trip proved to be the big surprise for me, and also for Victor! A little background…
In 2014, Stoneworks executive director Mike Cantrell wrote to me: “Victor and Victoria Urasinov are great people who really love the Lord and are laying down their lives for the church and lost children. They live a very simple life and are good-hearted. They live in a small apartment with 8 children. They have a fun, life-filled home. The kids are great and clearly much loved.” Mike also wrote about them in a “Postcard from Moldova.”
These words and the Urasinov’s story touched my heart, but they fell short of what I would experience once I was with them. I could fill an entire newsletter just describing the scheduled events Victor and Victoria planned for me: meals around their table, time with the family and extended family, meeting the adult and student ministry leaders they partner with, YoungLife club night (wow!), being treated to dinner with the YoungLife area director and his wife in Chisinau, attending the church where Victor was saved and delivered from alcohol addiction, meeting their humble pastor Vadim who clearly has an anointing to shepherd the church, meeting Oleg and Luda, a couple who relocated from their home in California, back to their homeland and tiny Soroca to minister to children and share the gospel… I could go on. (and I was onl
Instead, I’d like to share my impressions about Victor and explain why I say we were both surprised about the encounter. Victor “loves well.” Here’s what I mean…
- Victor models love and respect for his wife.
- He is the heartbeat of a vibrant YoungLife club.
- He celebrates the uniqueness of each of his children. He ‘brags on them’ describing the special gifts each of them has. They know they are loved and valued.
- Similarly, Victor has a personal word about each of the young people he has mentored into the YoungLife ministry.
- He knows and appreciates their gifts and their strengths. They also know they are loved and valued.
- Victor sings praise & worship songs around the house and while driving:)
- He is intentional in teaching his children scripture and biblical precepts.
- His children are intuitively helpful to one another and to the household. There is a beautiful peace and harmony in the home.
- His youngest (Masha) begs to come up into his lap and he lifts her up and covers her with kisses, saying to her “Маша, моя девочка” (Masha, my girl).
- Victor and Victoria believe that, just as there is a miracle of “… the two becoming one flesh” in the sacred covenant of marriage, they and the children they adopt receive a miracle of a DNA transformation.
- The children are not just theirs, they are from them. They are of them.
As we were saying our goodbyes, Victor told me that he was surprised at the close connection we had made. Sure, he had welcomed me to come, just as I had believed there was a purpose in my going to see them. But he didn’t expect to feel such closeness and support. I felt the same.
Just before we headed from the restaurant to the airport, we both just stood for a moment – not wanting to speak for fear of becoming too emotional. The spirit of God had joined our hearts in Christian love. Thank you Victor and Victoria, for how you welcomed me into your family, your community and your ministry.
God willing, I will return to Soroca very soon. There are people there who love me. And I love them.
Victor and Victoria sharing their family journey (daughter Diana, far left, is my amazing interpreter):
Reading and discussing scripture (Victor and Yanis):
Ministry leaders’ appreciation dinner:
The YoungLife teens received me warmly:
Husband and wife YoungLife area directors Lena (next to me) and Fedye (behind her) treated me to dinner!