We Are Different

Our team climbed onto the bus again. People jumping in and out of conversations, off-color jokes eliciting raucous laughter, hugs and “I love you’s” being freely exchanged. Ten American & Canadian women and we. are. loud. I know that about me, but I somehow managed to go on a trip with an entire team of loud women.

Moldova is a quiet country. When we were talking to some young women on Thursday night at the youth club, they said that in their country, they are often concerned about what other people might think about them, so they tend to be very quiet and reserved. Today when Vladimir invited his congregation to “create chaos to praise God,” the congregation of about 150 Moldavians turned to one another and in whispers, spoke to one another. It was the most low-key chaos I have ever witnessed.

We are different.


In my week here in Moldova, I have managed to pick up exactly 3 Russian words despite being surrounded by Russian speakers almost constantly. Before I was asked to come to this beautiful country, I couldn’t have pointed to it on a map. I didn’t even know that it existed.

In almost every conversation that I had with an English speaking Moldavian, they would tell me how poor their English was, despite the fact that they were conversing with me in English. When we were in the schools, the students seemed almost offended that we would choose to point things out on a map, because of course they knew where we were from.

We are different.


I grew up in a loving, two-parent home. I have attended church my whole life. I have always had food to eat, a roof over my head, clothes to wear, people who care about me – not to mention so many other comforts that I take for granted (like plowed roads when it snows and reliable internet service). There have been some seasons that have been a little bit lean, but I have never experienced significant lack in material necessities or close relationships.

This week we met women who were in forced labor during the day and then worked in a brothel at night. We met women who were intentionally run down with a car by their pimps. We met people who lived on a few thousand American dollars a year. We met people who have had little experience with stability in their finances or their relationships.

We are different.


This morning we gathered in one building. We sang songs together, at the same time, in English and Russian. A sermon was given, each line being spoken in English and translated to Russian. I talked about keyboard gear with a Russian studio musician. We said the Lord’s Prayer together in our different languages. We bowed our heads and raised our hands at the same time. We nodded our heads and laughed at jokes at almost the same time, depending on who was waiting for the translation.

In the afternoon, we ate bread dipped in salt. We held hands and danced. Americans, Moldavians, Canadians – we laced our fingers together, tripped over our feet, and danced. We were shown how to pour sour cream and sheep cheese over our mamaliguta and dig in with our hands. We exchanged gifts, hugs, and tears.

We are different.

But we are also the same.



The team with Vladimir Ubeivolc, co-founder of Beginning of Life

  • pastordt

    Just.beautiful. Thank you, Alise. You’ve done a fantastic job. And welcome back.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      Yes, welcome back, Alise. You have witnessed much and written much, and I’m sure it took a toll. Thank you for your words, but please take time to unwind and recharge. I’ll be mulling over what I’ve read, letting it soak in, and see what ideas take root. Looking forward to future posts about ways to help. May your readers share with others, so these words, these human stories, spread far and wide.

  • BrennaDA

    Welcome back! So grateful that you have shared this with us. Looking forward to hearing more once you’ve processed everything.

  • http://ear-sword-miracle.blogspot.com/ Miles O’Neal

    Thank you for going, for loving these girls and young women. Thank you for sharing. Every post brought a tear to my eye, and I want to give them all big Daddy hugs.
    Thank you.