I was born and grew up in Moldova. My family was a normal family based on the country’s standards. We were orthodox, which meant that this is what our roots were. It does not mean that we were attending church or reading the Bible and praying. In fact, it was illegal to practice any religious activities because Moldova was part of the Soviet Union at that time and was controlled by the Russian Communist Party. There were only a few open orthodox churches in the country, but not too many people were attending them. Attending a church meant losing your job or going to prison. I had not heard of any other kind of church until Moldova became independent after the Russian Empire collapsed.
To have a good life for us meant to have a good job; and in order to have a good job, one had to have an education. School was very important to me because I wanted to have a good life, not knowing that God was preparing me (and my family) for something greater.
After graduating ninth grade at the age of fourteen, I passed the entrance exams and was enrolled at the College of Medicine. I studied General medicine for three years, receiving the graduation diploma and qualification of Nurse. I worked for one year as a nurse in the intensive care unit at the “Mother and Child Institute of Research” in Moldova, then I decided to go back to school to be a teacher. I was enrolled at the National Pedagogical University in Moldova, after I had passed the entrance exams there. I attended the University full time for five years and still worked part time as a nurse. In June 1999 I received my diploma. The degree I received in Moldova is equivalent in the United States to a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Special Education, Psychology and Welfare.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, people in Moldova gained the freedom of going to church. It was very difficult at that time to find a job in the country and a lot of people left. I was one of those who left; I moved to Romania. That is where I met my husband, Petru, and one year after I met him, we got married.
Our wedding was one of the few times that my husband and I went to church. God had used our first child to bring us to Him. Norel was born with a birth defect—his whole digestive system was developed outside of his abdomen. After his birth, the best we knew how, we started praying. Even though we were not born again yet, we knew that there was a God and His Son Jesus who will answer our prayers. We did not pray for healing, we prayed that God would do what was the best for our son and for us. For a long time we did not see an answer, but we did not give up.
Norel had his first surgery two hours after he was born. The doctors said that he was a miracle, because when they started the surgery, Norel was as cold as a dead person and had a lack of oxygen. The only reason they decided to perform the surgery was because his heart was still beating. In the first three weeks of his life, Norel had three surgeries, never had any food in his stomach and was on life support. Based on medical science he was supposed to die. We were told many times that he would die. Nothing the doctors did worked, but our son was not dying. When he was about seven weeks old, we were sent home from the hospital because Norel was breathing on his own and he was eating some. We were not at home for too long, because he was getting worse and worse every day and we went back to the hospital for another month.
During this time God was working in our hearts, but we did not know it. A few things we learned that He was taking care of our daily needs. There were times when we did not know whether we would have food the next day for us or for our baby, but God was faithful and provided everything we needed.
When Norel was about six months old, in September of 2000, a group of missionaries from Jacksonville, Illinois came to build an orphanage in our town. There was a nurse among all the carpenters, who was giving medicine to people in the town. We do believe that God sent her to Romania just for us.
This group of people came over to our home, prayed for us, gave us money and invited us to church. My husband and I gave our hearts to the Lord. These missionaries also took some pictures with us and asked if they could take a picture of Norel’s stomach.
When the missionaries arrived back to the United States, this nurse went to a doctor and showed him Norel’s picture. She asked for some instruments and some medicine so she can send them to Romania. She thought that maybe because Norel was too small, the doctors in Romania did not even have instruments to do the surgeries that he still needed. Norel was 4.5 pounds when he was born and about 7 pounds at six months old. The doctor looked at her and said “Bring this baby here and I will do the surgery. No one will have to pay for it”. The nurse’s reaction was “Excuse me? I know we have been praying for this baby, but not like this. I have been a missionary to many countries, but I never brought anyone here.” But she trusted the Lord and asked us, through a translator, if we want to come to USA because someone wants to do Norel’s surgery. We were overjoyed. We started seeing some hope. We did not know where we would go and how everything would work, but we knew that God was in charge and all we had to do was trust Him.
We had received a visa to come to America and were in the United States on December 14, 2000. Norel had his last surgery on January 4, 2001 and since then things were looking brighter for us. He needed a lot of physical therapy and special care, but with God’s help we were able to do everything. At the age of ten months old some doctors said that nothing would come out of this baby and he would never be able to walk, but at about sixteen months old Norel took his first steps. He was a daily miracle. God healed Norel completely; he does not take any treatment, and does not require any kind of special care.
It was not easy for us to be in America: different language, different food, different culture. The only thing in common we had was Jesus and that is what kept us here.
I believe that the only reason for my nursing degree was to be prepared to take care of my son and the reason for my teaching degree was to be able to become permanent residents in the United States.
God brought Pastor Charlie in our path, and we were able to get a work visa for me to teach at the school at Heartland. We moved here in August 2001 and I have been teaching at the Heartland Christian Academy since then. Teaching Math and Science to high schools students is something that I love to do every day. I also work some with the girls at their residence. My husband grows vegetables at the greenhouse. We have three boys—Norel, Edward and Gabriel. Gabriel is four years old. Our two oldest boys are and have always been A honor roll students. All of them love to play piano. We sit on the couch and both Norel and Edward play worship music on the piano and other instruments for the Lord and we enjoy listening.
We were able to visit our family in Romania two years ago and be a living testimony for them. My husband, our two oldest boys and I were baptised in water there. Our families, along with most of the people in town, came and witnessed our baptism. We pray that our family will also come to know the Lord.
Through our difficult circumstances, my husband and I learned to “Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding…” and that “The Lord is faithful in all His works”.