By Chris Bavender
For 10 days in October, four members of Zionsville Presbyterian Church visited Romania to help establish a Mothers of Preschoolers group in four cities. It was all part of an effort that started last spring at a missionary conference in the eastern European country.
“Women rushed up after the meeting to share that they had been praying that someone would come and share MOPS with them,” said Mindi McMillan, a volunteer with MOPS, an organization that exists to help empower moms and share the Christian faith.
The women had learned about the organization through Facebook posts of Lili Stoian, who had emigrated to Zionsville from Romania in 2010.
“Young Romanian moms today want to meet their neighbors but this can be very intimidating for them as it is breaking down societal walls,” McMillan said. “In rural Romania, the society is struggling to value the role of moms and wives, too. We were amazed when 25 churches stepped forward to ask us to start MOPS in Romania.”
So McMillan, along with Lisa Price, Michele Sutton and Dave Gall, visited four cities across the country – Fetest, Giorgiu, Alba Iulia, and Cluj.
“We spent many hours driving from town to town to make it accessible to all of the churches that wanted to start MOPS,” McMillan said. “Many of the women still drove four to six hours to meet us.”
The four provided the basic needs of a MOPS group that many of the churches couldn’t – from name tags and craft supplies, to decorations and logo items. At each location they shared the story of MOPS, what a typical MOPS group looks like, and how to invite friends and neighbors to MOPS. Since their return, they’ve had other churches in Romania contact them for information on how they, too, can start a MOPS group.
“We are praying that other local MOPS groups, MOPS alumni or interested individuals might be interested in helping us form church partnerships with each of these Romanian groups,” McMillan said. “This will be a virtual pen pal relationship for networking, support and encouragement.”
McMillan said a return trip to Romania in the fall of 2016 to host a MOPS convention, or MomCon, is also in the works.