by Linda Worden
As I was praying and preparing for my seventh CERI summer mission trip to Moldova, these words of Jesus came to mind: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” With this in mind, I asked the Lord to allow our CERI mission team to be included in the harvesting work, if that was His will for us.
In early August, we arrived in Moldova and started our week with the children at the orphanage camp. Thoughts of my springtime prayer were not foremost in my mind until a conversation began with Gloria, a university student from Shanghai, China. Gloria and a few other college students from different countries were volunteering at the camp during the same week our team was there.
That day, I was rehearsing a song with a group of children. The song started with the word “glorie” (Romanian word for “glory”). Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young woman walking toward me. She came up to me and said:
“Hi, I’m Gloria.”
I replied, “Hi, I’m Linda.”
She replied, “We hear you’re teaching Bible stories to the children. Is that true?”
I answered, “Yes, it is true. We are teaching Bible stories to the children. Are you also teaching Bible stories to the children?”
Gloria responded, “Oh no. We are not a Christian organization, but I want to be a Christian. I have always wanted to be a Christian, but no one has ever told me how.”
My heart leaped upon hearing her words as I recalled my springtime prayer and immediately knew I had an opportunity that God was providing. I told Gloria I could tell her how to become a Christian and asked her if she was ready right then. She said she was.
As we stepped into the shade of a large tree and turned to take each other’s hands, Gloria said:
“Oh, I feel this is a holy moment.”
And I replied, “Yes, this is a holy moment.”
Tears threatened to overflow my eyes but I knew this precious, God-ordained moment needed my composure and the tender words that would provide Gloria with the truth of God’s plan and path to salvation. I explained to Gloria what it meant to become one of God’s children. I explained that to become a Christian, one needed to say a prayer of repentance, ask for forgiveness, believe Jesus died for your sins and ask to become one of His children. Gloria allowed me to lead her in the prayer; she repeated my words and received Christ’s gift of salvation.
Though Gloria lived on the other side of the world from me, through a CERI mission trip, God had us meet in Moldova and there, He orchestrated a holy moment for both of us.
Gloria and I continued our friendship through email, social media and phone calls. She found an underground church in China and grew in her relationship with the Lord. After finishing university in her home country, she earned a one-year scholarship at Vanderbilt University. That year, she spent Christmas with my family and me, and as her year ended, her parents visited the United States and spent several days with us in Texas. Gloria completed her law degree, passed the New York bar exam and began a life and career in New York City. She got married in September 2016, and my husband, John, gave the message at their New York City wedding.
It has been a privilege for me to join CERI on mission trips, to share the love and truth of God with children in Moldova, and to be obedient to God’s calling! His plan for all of us, His disciples, is to go into the world and experience firsthand that the harvest is plentiful. There are more Glorias in the world.
Let us pray that God includes us in sharing His message so that many may hear His voice and respond with a firm “yes!”
John and Linda Worden of Kerrville, Texas, connected with CERI in 2004 during a vision trip, started sponsoring children in 2007 and are still sponsoring today. Over the last 13 years, John and Linda have sponsored nine children through CERI and have traveled on 15 mission trips to Moldova.