“The Mission provided warmth not only to our home but also to our souls” – a family in Moldova is blessed by winter support.

The rusty gate opens with a creak, leading the way to an old house in northern Moldova.

Its walls are cracked and the windows are broken in places. Inside, the air is heavy with mold and damp. The walls are covered in worn wallpaper and the ceiling is stained black by mold and smoke from the stove. Outside it’s rainy and grey, and inside, the light is dull. 

It may not be much, but it’s the place that a mother and four children in Moldova call home. Stela Nastas, 46, is raising four children alone after losing her husband to a heart attack about six years ago. Her grandson Alex also lives with them as his parents are away working.

“My whole world was crushed when my husband died,” Stela said. “It was when we were both working in construction in Russia. I had to move back to Moldova to start everything from scratch. I was alone with five children to look after, and I had no help, no support from anyone.”

“When we moved in here,” she said, “Nobody had lived in this section of the house for over a year. There was a lot of cleaning that had to be done both inside and outside in order to make the place livable. It was a disaster.”

The six of them live in just two rooms: the first is an all-purpose one: kitchen, living room and bathroom. The fire stove, located in the right corner of the room, serves for cooking, warming water for washing, bathing, and heating the house. The toilet is outside. Another room, fully packed with beds, is the family bedroom. The house has no electricity or running water because of the owner not paying the bills. However, the owner is allowing the Nasta's family to live there rent-free because of this and other issues.

“I’m blessed to have kind neighbors who give us water so we don’t always have to carry it over from the well,” Stela said. “And in spite of the challenges, we are so incredibly grateful to have a roof over our heads. We consider it a miracle that we don’t have to pay rent. 

“For us, the most important thing is that we have a place to live and be together.

“After my husband died, loneliness, hopelessness and insecurity were my closest friends - but I realised I had to try to stay strong for my kids” 


“I found a place to rent and started to work hard anywhere I could find a job. I was under so much pressure, and felt a great deal of stress and exhaustion. 

“Sometimes I’d hope that a good night’s sleep would make everything better, but in the morning I’d wake up and everything still felt the same. I realised that physical rest wasn’t enough. I continued to feel lonely and like no one cared. I was so weary of asking for help from the local authorities and always being treated with contempt and coldness.”

Everything changed for Stela and her children when she met Ion, the family worker from Mission Without Borders (MWB), and her family was enrolled on the family sponsorship programme.

“When I met Ion, he spoke to me about a Mission that wants to be close to my family and offer me help because God loves me and my children,” Stela said. “I don’t remember the exact words he said but I was touched by his sincerity, kindness and respect and I started thinking, ‘Can this really be true? Could there really be someone who would care about us?’

“I remember when I ran out of my asthma medicine, and I told Ion about it. He said he would do his best to get it for me in the next few days. I was just so down, I had no money. I tried to borrow some from my neighbour, but she didn’t have any either, so I was just praying and hoping that I wouldn’t have any problems over the next few days. The big surprise was when I heard the dog barking and Ion’s voice calling. He brought me the medicine that evening. That really meant a lot to me. Maybe he had other plans, but he got the medicine for me and all he said was, ‘Stela, God loves you and your family very much.’”

MWB supplied the family with furniture, beds and mattresses, and a small table, and continue to support Stela and the children towards self-sufficiency. And this winter, as the cold weather began to set in, MWB was there for Stela once again. 

Stela said, “Winter may be a time of joy for many people, but for me, it’s an unwelcome guest, especially now during the pandemic when all the world is upside down. It’s almost impossible to find a good job, and the cold weather was worrying me the most. I didn’t know how I was going to find the money to heat the house and where I’d find warm clothes for my kids. It was so hard to look at my girls and boy wearing lightweight jackets and worn shoes. They wouldn’t say anything to me because they knew I couldn’t afford to get them what they needed. Mission Without Borders offered us a lifesaver in this situation - the briquettes that helped us to keep the house warm. 

“And another wonderful and priceless gift that I look at and still can’t believe is true – the warm and beautiful clothes and shoes for my family! My heart leapt for joy to see my kids in cozy clothes for winter. I didn’t expect to also get warm clothing for myself… what a blessing! What a relief! Mission Without Borders provided warmth not only to our home but also to our souls!”

Ion said, “Three years ago, the Nastas family’s situation was desperate. The mother and children were sleeping on some rugs on a broken bed. At that time they were renting another house. I’m happy for them that they moved to this place where they can stay rent-free. We hope and pray together for a better place for them. For now, it’s encouraging to see that even though this place was in a disastrous condition, Stela found the strength to clean it out and make it livable. It is amazing to see her courage, strength and motivation.”

“I found a place to rent and started to work hard anywhere I could find a job. I was under so much pressure, and felt a great deal of stress and exhaustion.” 


“I found a place to rent and started to work hard anywhere I could find a job. I was under so much pressure, and felt a great deal of stress and exhaustion. 

He added, “People like Stela are an encouragement and example to many parents: bold, hardworking, and despite the many challenges in her way, always trying to stay strong and offer her children all the best she can.”

Stela’s face shines with pride when she speaks of her children. “Four precious diamonds, four beloved personalities who inspire me to keep pressing forwards, and I will do my best to encourage them to follow their dreams.”

Natalia, 16, wants to become a massage therapist. She said, “My mum and sister are my first customers and they say I do a good job, especially Mum who says that it eases her back pain a lot.”

Ilie, 13, loves all things IT: he started to take computer lessons at a local church, and looks forward to them every Tuesday and Friday. He said, “I love computer programming and I also know that programmers can make a lot of money, and I want to help provide for my mother and sisters when I’m older.”

Ten-year-old Doina, who loves to cook, said, “I dream of becoming a cook-confectioner, and I hope to be able to practice at home once we have an oven. At the moment I can only make salads and soup or other simple food, depending on what we have at home. I dream someday of inviting my mum and siblings to a nice restaurant and serving them the delicious food and cake I made.”

Xenia, aged eight, is thinking of becoming a veterinary or hairdresser. “I love animals because they are very cute and friendly, and I’m really sad when I see a sick pet… I also love to try out different hairdos. Yes, I’m the youngest, but I’m happy that my older sisters let me practice different hair styles on them, and they like it. I even tried on Mum, and she says that I have a gift for it. Maybe I can open a hair salon and also help sick pets.” 

Stela said, “The Mission offered warmth not only to our house and bodies but also to our souls! I just can’t – and don’t even want to – imagine what our lives would look like now if we hadn’t met the Mission some years ago.”

A home that was once ill-equipped to keep the Nastas family warm and healthy over winter is now a cozy sanctuary, thanks to MWB’s support.

“I am always inspired every time I visit families like Stela’s and feel blessed to be a tool in God’s hand to minister to those who are struggling,” Ion said. “My heart rejoices when I see a smile on a face that was once full of sadness and hopelessness. And the thing that encourages me to keep working even harder for the Mission is when I see the people we work with at the local churches enjoying fellowship with each other, and most importantly, seeking God, who is the one who gives us peace, hope and joy that lasts. I pray that I will continue to spread God’s love to those who really need to hear how important they are to Him.


36% of rural households reported that they could not heat their homes sufficiently. Of the rural households with inadequate heating, nearly a 1/4 had no heating at all for more than one day at a time. 

Report by UNOCHA 

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