Răzeşi is a small village in the west of Moldova, very close to the Romanian border. Also known as Sărata-Răzeşi, it has a population of about 1400. Răzeşi is in the Leova region, to the south of Dancu (Hînceşti region). We have been visiting Răzeşi over the last few years, taking Christmas shoeboxes from Link to Hope and running a holiday club / mission week there each summer since 2010. We moved there in November 2012 at the invitation of the mayor of Răzeşi, Ivan.
Răzeşi is an isolated and very poor village, and suffers from similar problems to Dancu and other remote villages: high unemployment; inefficient agricultural practices and subsistence farming; young people leaving in search of work abroad; elderly people - especially widows - with no-one to take care of them; very harsh winters; alcoholism and domestic violence; and a general sense of hopelessness.
Our ministries and activities in Răzeşi have so far included:
work with children of various ages (weekly activities and an annual holiday club)
visiting lonely elderly people and helping them according to their needs
- befriending people and introducing them to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour (the first adult believers were baptised in September 2013)
- teaching English classes for both children and adults
- running a homegroup for 'seekers' who are interested in the Christian faith
- opening a new Community Centre (including Park and Fitness Room)
- organising emergency supplies of wood, coal, clothing etc. for those in dire need
- supporting initiatives for economic development and, beyond that, community transformation