Celebrating Moldovan Moms All Year Long - Justice & Mercy International

Celebrating Moldovan Moms All Year Long

“What do you like to do in your free time?” It’s a simple question that drew tears from a grandmother at our Mother’s Gathering in the village of Albota de Jos. Like most women in Moldovan rural villages, her days are devoted to never-ending chores, gardening, and looking after children. Free time is a rare luxury.

Women, especially older women in the villages, are often overlooked. Alcoholism is so rampant that many fathers are out of the picture, and the mothers are doing everything to care for their families.

So, imagine a chance for this grandmother to escape for just a few hours. She gets to eat food she didn’t have to make, share stories with other women, even play a game or paint a picture, and then hear about God’s endless love for her. Tears come from this experience, too, but they are often born of gratitude instead of exhaustion.

The mission of our Mother’s Gatherings is to celebrate, encourage, and support the women caregivers of our sponsored children in villages across Moldova. Some are widows; some are grandmothers. It’s a way for JMI to extend our sponsorship program to the families of our sponsored children, supporting them with love and care.

Several years ago, our staff noticed that many women were not just dropping their children off at our monthly sponsorship meetings but staying and truly enjoying the experience. We recognized the opportunity to create an event tailored to these mothers, offering them a time of physical, mental, and spiritual refreshment. Some of our dedicated volunteers shared this vision with us, and about 100 women from Rolling Hills Community Church raised funds to help make it a reality.

Our inaugural Mother’s Gathering in a single village exceeded expectations, and from there, the initiative has expanded.  In multiple villages throughout the year, women come together for singing, games, crafts, a Gospel message, and more. They get the chance to sit and receive—a welcome break in daily lives full of giving. “No one has ever done anything like this for me before” is often heard.

Our sponsorship team likes incorporating hands-on activities into these events to promote play and lightheartedness. One memorable gathering in Rujnita brought out each woman’s inner artist as they created miniature flower vases. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable as laughter and camaraderie filled the air.

Food is, of course, an important aspect of the gatherings as well. Our team brings in cooks to prepare meals and treats to serve the women. In Carpineni, one of the mothers approached our staff member, Ala, saying she had to go home to bake bread. We couldn’t convince her to stay, but Ala invited her to take whatever she wanted from the prepared food in the kitchen before she left. The mother was amazed at the spread on the table, but out of the whole assortment, she only chose one piece of cake. Then she wrapped her arms around Ala, kissed her on the cheek, and thanked her for the chance to rest for a while.

Before the women leave the gatherings, they receive a large goodie bag full of perfumes, hygiene supplies, lotions, notecards, and other little treasures. The gifts represent our gratitude for all that they do for their children and grandchildren. We pray that our ministry to these mothers would reflect the love of Christ, that the Scripture we share would enliven their spirits, and that God will give them the strength and wisdom they need to shepherd the young ones in their care.

JMI Mother’s Gatherings in Moldova are supported through our General Fund. We would love for you to consider a monthly gift of $10 or more to help keep this program going. Sign up for our community of monthly givers, called the Justice League, here.

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