Our deep love for the people of Moldova began in 2006 when I met Leila Pisnamazova. As a visiting fellowship scholar at the University of Washington, she wanted to talk to me about “elder care in the United States.” So, over Starbucks mochas, I waxed on about the abundance of options for older adults in my country.

After my discourse, Leila said, “In my country, the elderly are starving.”

Leila proceeded to tell me about the dire living conditions for many older women. Having lost nearly everything during Soviet rule, most were surviving on meager meals and in cold apartments. Overwhelmed (and convicted) by this revelation, I took Leila’s hand in mine and said, “Leila, someday I will help you feed your old people.” That conversation changed my life. In the next few years, we visited Moldova three times: once with our son to film a documentary about the outreach efforts of Bethany Baptist Church in Chisinau, and two more times with teams of people wanting to encourage and support them.

My friend Leila is now the National Director for Dorcas Ministries in Moldova, a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and a strong advocate for elders and the poor. This week she contacted me to share the exciting news of a display Dorcas Ministries was launching in Chisinau this weekend. It is called “Portraits of Power” and tells the story of five Moldovan women. Please take the time to meet these women. Your life will never be the same.


written by Leona Bergstrom, Re-Ignite