New Creations: Part Three

Rick continues his reflections on his recent trip to Moldova. You can read part one here and part two here.

An assignment I required for my class was to write on one of the five main sacrifices in Leviticus.  One of my students chose the peace offering found in Leviticus 3 and 7.  The following is a portion of life application he discovered from his study.  He wrote:

“By His mercy and grace, through His death on the cross and the resurrection on the third day, He rescued me from God’s wrath and the slavery of sin, to make me an agent of righteousness.

All I am and all I have belongs to Him.  My talents and my abilities and all my resources were given to me so that I could be a living sacrifice to the pleasure of God.

There is nothing else to make me more happy than to know that I belong to God, and that I can serve Him and other people, motivated by love and compassion, and not by fear, guilt or duty.

Growing up in an orphanage taught me to be a selfish taker…being a part of God’s family taught me to be a cheerful giver.”


Most of the students at the seminary were raised in dysfunctional homes.  Often one parent is an alcoholic and has abandoned the family.  Children are left to orphanages…and fend for themselves by the age of 16.  They have a difficult time accepting what it means to be part of a family and to call God, “Father”.

Yet here is a God, before whom angels continuously cry, “holy, holy, holy”, rescuing us from bondage to sin and tearing asunder the veil that separated us from Him…because of the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Jesus’ blood cleanses us…consecrates us…protects us from being “devoured”…granting us bold access into the holy presence of God.   Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

It was a privilege to stand before a class of new creations…teaching them about a holy God who by glorious nature cannot be approached other than the provision of a substitutionary Life…placing us into His family and transforming us from being selfish takers into cheerful givers.

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGlobal

New Creations: Part One

I spent last week in Chisinau, Moldova teaching at Moldova Bible Seminary.  This is a class of second and third year undergrads preparing for ministry in the church or out on the mission field.  The class topic?  The Book of Leviticus…in 5 days!  Perhaps you can discern from the below photo that my students look reasonably excited…but this picture was taken on day 1…


I actually did get through the 27 chapters…and threw in the last 17 chapters of Exodus for good measure.

Why Leviticus? Well, for one thing it’s my favorite book of the Bible (that’s a topic for another post). But it addresses a very sobering question: How do you live out your faith in the presence of a HOLY God? I prepared my outlines and class discussions with that question in mind.

So when you read in Exodus 24:15, 16, 17 that when Moses “went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain…the glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai…the appearance…was like a devouring fire…”

And then in Exodus 40:34, 35, “…and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle…Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it…”, you’re dealing with something, or I should say SOMEONE quite different that anything or anyone ever encountered.

Quite simply, Leviticus tells you how to approach the “devouring fire” without getting devoured. My initial thought, and perhaps yours is, then why go near it at all?

Written by Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGlobal


Over the next few posts Rick Pierson, Executive Director of CompassGmoldova-1758836_640lobal, will be sharing about a recent trip to Moldova. Despite having fertile soil, Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest nations. Many seek work in Europe leaving children to be raised by grandparents or in single parent homes. The country has a strong Orthodox history, but less than 4% of the population is Evangelical Christian. The nation also has deep political tensions as the country is divided between aligning with Europe or with Russia.

Please view this video and pray for Moldova. Be sure to check back, or subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss seeing how, above all the challenges, God is doing a great work in Moldova!


Update From Moldova


Hey guys!

I wanted to send a hello from the beautiful country of Moldova. It has been a blur since we landed but it has been great to connect with the team here at KBC ministries as well as the people of Chisinau.

The first day we were here we had a chance to head into the country side and see an Eastern Orthodox monastery that is in the side of a hill. This country is very green with rolling hills which is a nice contrast to our flat part of the world.


We then jumped into helping out the needs of reaching the community. We packed 60 giant bags of food for the elderly ministry our first day and have spent each morning delivering them to individuals that KBC has connected with near the church. Most of them have been veterans who fought in WW2. Their stories are incredible! One lady we met named Nina was an aimer for the anti aircraft guns the Russians used during the war. Someone loaded the gun, she aimed it and another pulled the trigger as they shot at Nazi planes. She survived the war by being crushed by dirt that completely covered her when a bomb exploded right next to her. We asked if she felt God had protected her and she said that must have been the only way she lived. We then said through Jesus Christ we are protected by God and can live forever and she raised her hands to the sky and said “I believe!” It was a powerful moment. There are way more stories like that. We have handed out half the bags so far and each bag has a given us a story.


We then have played sports in the afternoon with the local kids. It has been very popular and we have seen between 50-100 kids come everyday. There are kids everywhere here! And they want to talk and listen and practice English and meet Americans. Our days have flown by.

All of that has happened with only a few hiccups. We had two suitcases lost when we got here, the next day 6 people got stuck in the elevator of a Russian era apartment complex for 45 minutes and then the day after that a TM break their wrist playing basketball. The great thing is it was all successfully taken care of and fun is continuing to be had.

Keep praying for us. We are halfway through the trip and excited to see what God has in store for the rest of our time. See you all soon!

Brett Lilly



The final exam was today. What an outstanding group of students. Highly motivated, intelligent, living out their faith…and very hungry! I celebrated the closure of the class by treating them to pizza. Certainly not to Chicago standards, but 30 pizzas were consumed pretty rapidly.

Going out to a restaurant is a rare treat for them. They deserved it.


I have been humbled by these young men and women. Course assignments and class discussions were at times sobering to read and difficult to hear. Many of them grew up in orphanages. Not that they didn’t have parents…but their parents could not or would not take care of them.

One of the girls wrote that the moment she received Christ as her Savior (her family is Russian Orthodox), her father told her to get out and never come back…she was 12 years old.


Many have grown up without a father in the home or had one who was an alcoholic or physically abusive. Accepting God as Father was a hard reach for them. And yet, the love of Christ is written all over their faces. Every one of them are actively involved in ministry…street evangelism, visiting the elderly and orphanages, conducting basketball camps, youth ministry, and teaching English and art classes.

I will miss them.


Later that afternoon, I met with Compass supported missionary Dennis Bowen, who just happened to be in Chisinau teaching a counseling course at the University Divitia Gratiae. We had a very informative and insightful discussion with the Academic Dean and Professor of Islamic Studies at the University, Dr. Mihail Malancea concerning the spread of Islam and the current refugee crisis in Europe. We also discussed human trafficking in Europe with a graduate research assistant who is writing a paper on the subject.


At the end of the day, I attended the prayer meeting at Kishinev Bible Church. It began with an exciting announcement…the contract for rental of a new facility was signed today! I had a tour earlier in the week. This facility will be the new home of the church, the seminary, ministry offices, a Romanian speaking service and a launch pad for new outreach ministries for at least the next five years.

Their prayers were exciting, passionate and thankful. That comes through in any language!


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7


A very meaningful way to close out the week and my time here in Moldova. Dasvidaniya…for now.

Culinary Delight

You may be wondering what the food is like in Moldova. I’ve already mentioned the amazing Gagauz kivirma and the Ukrainian borscht, but today for lunch, I had solyanka, a thick, spicy and sour Russian soup offering a mix of fresh and cured beef and pork. It has become my favorite. I’m not sure I’ve seen or eaten it’s equal anywhere in Chicagoland.


Soups are always given before the main course, which in this case was baked turkey with plenty of vegetables.


While Moldova is not exactly a major destination for tourists, it does boast for having the two largest underground wineries in the world. I had a rare afternoon free to visit the Cricova Winery, just outside Chisinau. Cricova is not only famous for its wines, but during World War II, it became a hiding place for Jews, in wine barrels, during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.


Cricova has over 60 miles of tunnels housing 1.25 million bottles of over 653 different kinds of wines.


Among the elite guests besides myself, have been the Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, Brejnev, Gorbachiov, and Putin. Secretary of State John Kerry also visited recently.


The oldest bottle of wine in this labyrinth of subterranean passageways is a 1902, “Jewish Easter Wine” from Jerusalem. An offer of $150,000 to purchase was declined.


Just so you know, I by-passed the wine tasting opportunity…

A Conversation with Tatiana Covalciuc

I caught up with Tanya this afternoon. She is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Kishinev Bible Church. I wanted to get an update on what God has been doing through her ministry. Tanya visited The Compass Church several years ago at the invitation of CompassGlobal. It was great to see her again. As we develop partnerships, we want to build into ministry counterparts sharing vision, ideas, and resources. Tanya told me today that her two-week internship with CompassKids radically transformed the direction of children’s ministry at KBC.


When she returned to Moldova, she implemented what she learned and observed:

  1. Went from a single group of children of all ages to dividing age groups.
  2. Began meeting with and training volunteers.
  3. Developed branding for the ministry.
  4. Began a planning calendar two to three months in advance.
  5. Recruited a prayer team from elderly shut-ins.
  6. Required lesson preparation several weeks in advance.
  7. Began English classes as an outreach twice per week.
  8. Recruited her own intern!
  9. Developed volunteer rotation.
  10. Recruited 15 new volunteers with one helper each.
  11. Began using older teens to serve.


She is excited to say the least! We want to extend invitations to our global partners from multiple ministry areas to build into more, like Tatiana. It is making a difference!

Glorious Mystery

Class was hard today. Hard for me to teach…and I’m sure, hard for students to listen. We studied the doctrine of Salvation…discussing election, predestination, foreknowledge…among other things. Scary stuff.

Regardless of where you land on the theological spectrum of such topics, I prefer to think on such things as, well, actually…glorious.

Our God is wondrous…amazing…mysterious. He purposed something so breathtaking…that even myriads of angels…pause from their exaltation and adoration of the Holy One, to take a look (1 Peter 1:12).

We dove into the deep end by looking at Romans 9-11. I encouraged them to think about four “much more” applications from these chapters:

  1. God’s grace is “much more” amazing than we think.
  2. Sharing the gospel is “much more” urgent than we know.
  3. A posture of humility is “much more” vital than hearts allow.
  4. Bending a knee in worship is “much more” glorious than we imagine.

After plowing through these chapters, Paul breaks out in doxology in Romans 11:33-36…because he can’t help it:

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Paul couldn’t contain himself pondering such mystery! My class couldn’t either…we worshiped for thirty minutes after the discussion…


God Finds Us In The Crowd

Have you ever been out in a large crowd? You know, the kind where you can barely move, people bumping up against you…you find it difficult to make your way out? Crowds can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. You can get lost in them.

I spoke at Kishinev Bible Church yesterday afternoon. Evghenni Sologubenco, the church’s pastor, translated for me into Russian and also served as my prop holder! My text was Mark 5:24-34. This is the story of a woman who had an affliction for 12 years. She had come to the point of desperation in her life. It was her last chance. The Bible tells us that she was out in a large crowd trying to make her way to Jesus. She was alone and empty inside…even though she was in the midst of hundreds of people. Ever feel that way?

Mark tells us that all she wanted to do, was to somehow get close enough to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment. She wasn’t looking to talk with Jesus. She didn’t want Him to see her…let alone ask Him to heal her. She must have felt deeply embarrassed and ashamed. According to Jewish law, she was unclean…and anyone she touched, would become unclean as well.

Except One.


Somewhere along the way she heard that the fringes or tassels on the prayer shawl of the Messiah would heal her. In fact, Malachi 4:2 says, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” The rabbis taught that this verse referred to the Messiah, who would have healing in the wings or tassels of His prayer shawl.

She passes by hundreds of men wearing prayer shawls in the crowd that day and goes directly to Jesus. Reaching out and touching one of the tassels…she immediately was healed. She felt it. Jesus did to.

In an amazing act of love and compassion, Jesus turns around and asks, “Who touched me?” He looks for her in the mass of people…and in the most significant moment of her life…finds her…turns His face toward her…and says, “your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” The word used for “healing” here, is also a word used for salvation.

Placing her faith in Jesus Christ not only healed her physically, but far more importantly, it cleansed her of sin, and brought her into a forever relationship with the One who had turned His face toward her.

Lost in the crowd? Not when Jesus is out in it. He has turned His face toward you.


The Hebrew embroidered on the collar reads, “Blessed are You Lord God, King of the universe. Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to wrap ourselves in the tassels.” Wrap yourself up today in the love of Jesus.

Small Group Encouragement

My wife and I have been part of a small group at The Compass Church for many years now. We meet every other Sunday afternoon. Yesterday, I was able to Skype with several in the group. It was good to see their faces! Even from 5,176 miles away, it was a great encouragement to know that they were praying for me…and not only me, but Moldova was on their minds. One member of our group took this picture of a license plate she saw the other day in Naperville. I’m not quite sure of the significance of the Montana–Naperville–Moldova connection, but there it was…a prayer prompter roaming the streets of Naperville. Pray for Moldova.