A Big Move of God in the Small Country of Moldova

By   •   July 15, 2023

More than 8,850 people filled Chișinău Arena and spilled into overflow areas on the first night of the Celebration of Hope with Will Graham in Moldova. Some stood against the wall in the back of the arena and listened from doorways. Over 18,000 more watched the event online.

Eugenia was working with the elderly in Ukraine when she started seeing the bombs drop overhead. She didn’t want to leave her home, but it was getting too dangerous.

Born in Moldova—a small country between Ukraine and Romania—Eugenia moved to Ukraine in 1992. Last August, she made the slow, 24-hour trip back to her home country to live with her sister as a refugee.

Saturday night, her sister, Maria, had tears of joy in her eyes after seeing Eugenia finally surrender her life to Jesus Christ at the Celebration of Hope with Will Graham. Eugenia wiped away tears with a tissue as the two women hugged.

Maria had been praying for this.

Eugenia (left) wept in front of the stage as she came forward to commit her life to Jesus Christ. As a Ukrainian refugee, the past months have been hard, but she said she knows God is with her.

Peace in the Brokenness

We all experience brokenness, Will Graham shared through a Russian interpreter, and sometimes we can find ourselves surviving one day to another with no clear path.

“Jesus Christ is the answer to what you’re looking for in your life,” he said as Eugenia listened in the crowd.

The problem is sin, anything that goes against God’s standard. “Sin destroys the peace that we have with God.”

If he were to break the laws of Moldova, Will Graham explained, he’d get in trouble, and it’s the same with God. “When you break the laws of Moldova, there’s a price to be paid. When you break God’s laws, there’s a price to pay.”

Out of His infinite love for us, Jesus Christ paid that price on the cross.

 “You are precious in my eyes, … and I love you.”
–Isaiah 43:4, ESV

Eugenia grew up in a Christian household, but drifted away from church when she left home and married a non-Christian man. Her husband is still back in Ukraine, unable to leave.

Though she’s been going to church with her sister, Eugenia said, she hadn’t taken the step to commit her life to Jesus Christ. But on Saturday evening, she said she didn’t want that opportunity to pass by again and decided to come forward at Will Graham’s invitation.

Now with her hair graying, she remembers how her mother used to pray for her as a child to live for the Lord.

While she hopes to return home to Ukraine someday, Eugenia doesn’t know what the future holds, but said she’s looking to God for direction. She also wants to be baptized.

Two Preteens Find Purpose

Sitting in an outside overflow area were 11-year-old Caroline* and 14-year-old April.* The two friends from church were giddy with excitement as they spoke to a prayer counselor about their decision to accept Christ as their Savior.

“This will become the most important decision you will ever make in life, and no one else can make it for you,” Will Graham said from the stage.

>>WATCH: We all have a choice to make. Billy Graham explains in this 1-minute message.

Caroline has read the Bible before and said she didn’t understand it all. But Will Graham’s explanation of the Gospel was clear and simple, she said.

If you could sum up the Bible in one verse, it would be John 3:16, Will Graham said. That’s what he centered his message on, focusing on God’s overwhelming love for us.

Will Graham shared how he loves each of his three children very much and could never send his child to die for someone else. Yet that’s exactly what God did when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, he said. That’s how much He loves us.

“I never thought of that,” the outgoing preteen said. “Will Graham explained it really well.”

Raised in a Christian home, Caroline said she’s been caught up in the world—on her phone all the time, watching TV shows she shouldn’t, and allowing bad influences into her life.

“You’re looking for happiness but yet you cannot find it, and you’re trying to make your own way in this world,” Will Graham said to the crowd moments before.

“He really understood me,” Caroline said. She, too, said she’s been trying to go her own way in life and leaving God on the sidelines. Like Eugenia, Caroline wants to grow closer to God and follow His plan for her life.

“What is your purpose?” Will Graham asked earlier in the evening. “Is it to have a job? Is it to get married and have a family? Is your purpose in life just to have a good time? See, your purpose in life is to have a relationship with God.”

Will Graham asked the audience to consider the building they were in, the Chișinău Arena. It’s not a hotel or restaurant; it’s a place to gather for events. The person who created the building is the one who gave it purpose, he explained.

And God, as our Creator, gives purpose to His creation.

In the days ahead, Caroline said, she wants to be more involved in church, read the Bible again, and apply it to her life. Gradually, she said, she hopes to become more like Christ.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

About 700 Moldovan churches have come together through this outreach. Thousands of church members have received free evangelism training through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and plan to continue sharing the Gospel with those around them after the event.