Hi, my name is Aliona (Ala), and I was born in the Republic of Moldova, a small, yet beautiful country. I did not have a happy childhood. It was difficult. When I was a child I wanted to be a professional singer, but I didn’t become a singer. However, I can sing for myself and for God, and most of the time it happens in the shower. I grew up distant from my family and always missed this, but there are so many things to appreciate and not take for granted now. When I was 16 I was offered a promising opportunity to join JMI Moldova’s Transitional Living program. I grew up in so many ways at Grace House and became so much closer to God. After years of Transitional and Independent Living, I wanted to become a Sponsorship Coordinator to help children, like me, who are vulnerable, abandoned or orphaned. When I graduated from our program, I was invited to join the work here in Moldova as staff for JMI. However, because I was afraid of disappointing myself and others, I said no. But, I realized the calling upon my life and that God knows every reason and purpose for what we go through.
Now, I have been a Sponsorship Coordinator with JMI for 3 years and 2 months. I work with vulnerable, orphaned and abandoned children in four villages: Carpineni, Horjesti, Ciorescu and Stauceni. Kids are beautifully created by God and now I understand why it’s so important to work with kids. Childhood is a time when a kid needs the greatest emotional, moral, spiritual and financial support. Their hearts are similar to mine when I was their age – open for love, trust, attention and needing someone to give them what they need. We visit these children each month and we teach them a Bible lesson, a Bible verse, sometimes we can sing, play games and pray. Yes, it’s hard work, but because I am a Christian I have a responsibility. But it’s also fun work and we laugh a lot. Each child is so glad to receive the gifts we bring.
I am so happy to be used by God to support these children and to help personally disciple them. I do this, not because I’m worthy, but because He is and He loves them like He loves me, and He teaches me to give love back to them. My favorite time is meeting and learning together with them, and then when the kids write letters saying they are praying for the sponsors or what they’ve learned. Inevitably they will also write, “bring me flowers or a puppy, cat or small bird.” I long for the opportunity to become a financial sponsor, but for now I thank God that He has chosen people who open their hearts to support these children. I used to think that I helped only when I brought gifts or food provided by financial sponsors, but now I believe I am a different kind of sponsor. I sponsor these children with my time, my attention, my encouragement, sometimes my rebuke, my hugs, my prayers, my ears and my hands. I have come to understand these are the things we all need, even if we have money.
Many people have asked me if I like what I do? Yes, I do, even when my work is sometimes hard, or I come home physically and emotionally tired. Someone once told me that not many people can understand you until they go through the same thing you have gone through. I have made so many mistakes, but none of this describes my worth. The God of Righteousness loves me, He stays with me and no matter what I do He remains and takes care of me. This is my worth. So, I made the choice to stop playing games with God, and I became a sponsor to give back what He’s given to me. I praise God for His kind heart toward the people and kids of Moldova, and I pray His hands will continue to help JMI in our work.