Love your Neighbour
Beginning of Life (BOL) is a ministry established by Moldovan nationals with a vision to break through the vicious cycle of poverty that plagues the country. BOL targets and addresses significant issues that exist in Moldovan society. Their holistic approach is comprised of preventative and restorative programs that aim to transform the nation. Their three branches of ministry are Children and Youth Development, Reintegration, and the Studio of Innovative Leadership (SIL).
Serghei Mihailov has been serving at BOL for over 10 years and recently became the new executive director of the ministry. His remarkable story is one of hope—proving that change is possible for the people and the country of Moldova.
My journey to Beginning of Life started long ago. I grew up in an unusual working family with an orthodox cultural background and communist ideology. After the Soviet Union fell, our family and most of the families in Moldova were in crisis, primarily an economic, social and moral crisis. My family was ruined, and my parents got divorced. My mother ended up working in a very unhealthy environment. She ended up suffering from addiction. This was altogether very difficult for me growing up.
God led me to my Godmother. She was my first mentor. She’s a Christian writer and journalist, and she really invested in me. It was not something I was used to because I was thrown out of my house at the age of 16. I had to figure out where to go and what to do – but my Godmother took me into her family, and she shared all that she knew, all that she loved and all that she was passionate about, with me. That is how I became so passionate about interviewing and writing peoples stories. I didn’t really think that my own story was interesting. I saw myself as a “writing archeologist,” digging into the lives of other people.
Developing a Heart for Missions
Growing up one of my professors, Vladimir Ubeivolc, was the executive director and co-founder of Beginning of Life. He invited me to join BOL as a volunteer to write stories. I was very happy about volunteering for this role. When I started to learn more about what BOL was doing—my interest grew for their mission, and I wanted to be part of the team. They were very focused on young people, especially teens, which meant a lot to me because of my childhood.
In 2008, I was invited to be a full-time member and since then I have learned all about sharing hope, Christian values and the Kingdom perspective with people who are living in total deprivation. We are dealing with a vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability. Our vision is to break through and bring hope to people by empowering and equipping them to have a completely different lifestyle, which is very true in my own life. I understand most of our beneficiaries because I had also experienced that same hopelessness before someone believed in me and invested in me.
Vision for the Future
I envision a new generation of Moldovans who want to remain living in Moldova and feel that they belong. No longer will they look outside of the country for a paradise, but will start to create a paradise here. We want to see Moldova become a place where people want to stay and take responsibility for the things around them.
A Swedish pastor once told me that he understands why there are so many problems in the country. He said, “A man living in his own apartment keeps his place clean but doesn’t care about the garbage around his house. When people go out and see the garbage, they begin to collect all of it, plant flowers, and begin to really take care of the people around them (taking responsibility for their own country). That will change Moldova”.
The country wasn’t always the way it is now. Moldova was once a place where people would come from all over. I hope that the country will change and thrive as people become passionate and take responsibility for their own country.
The programs at BOL are gradually changing Moldova. They have gained attention from neighbouring countries, who have adopted their methods because of their proven results, namely with the Studio of Innovative Leadership.
To date, over 1,200 people have been trained and equipped in 10 different communities in Moldova through the Studio of Innovative Leadership, 100,000 youth have been impacted by BOL’s Children and Youth Development Programs, and 90 victims of human trafficking have been reintegrated back into society.
To learn more about the programs that BOL offers, and get involved in any one of their transformative initiatives click here.
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