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Europe By David Gross Life is exciting, but there is something even more exciting about new life. Something that did not exist before now exists for the first time. With great expectations of new life, we returned to Moldova in Eastern Europe at the end of March after our first furlough. David, Stephanie & family For one thing, my wife, Stephanie, was pregnant and due at the beginning of August. Ana Joy was born three weeks early on July 13. Holding her brought the wonder of new life back to my mind. Nine months before, she did not exist, but now we hold a miraculous bundle of joy—a fully-functioning human being, crafted in the image of God. We have experienced the wonder of a child's birth several times before, but we have yet to experience another type of birth—the birth of a new church in Moldova. Moldova, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, has a population of about four million. Though only about the size of Maryland, Moldova has a diverse population with ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Gypsies, Gagauzi of Turkish descent, and Moldovans. The lack of spiritual life in Moldova is staggering. Moldova is ranked second in the world for alcohol consumption per person. Many deaths each year are a direct result of alcohol. Though we feel safer in Moldova than many places in America, theft is common and more and more instances of rape and murder seem to be appearing in the news. In the northeastern part of the country, across the border from Ukraine and three hours from the capital, rests our target city of Soroca. With around 38,000 people in the city, it is considered the eighth largest city in the country. Though Eastern Orthodox is the main religion, Adventists, Pentecostals, Jews, and Jehovah's Witnesses are also in the city. In spite of the fact that many claim to offer life, a dearth of truth remains. Stephanie and I and our co-workers, Jacob and Viola Hughes, have been sent by our local churches to see God birth a New Testament church in the city of Soroca. Due to the fact that we have to deal with multiple languages on a regular basis, God is using the Hughes' strength in the Russian language and our strength in the Romanian language to allow us to minister to anyone in Soroca. Jacob & Viola Hughes 18 BIMI WORLD Number 3, 2014