Ministry champion of pensioners in Moldova
Above: David and Shannon Brown serve at IMB in Chisinau, Moldova. The pair were ordered from Birmingham, Ala., Meadowbrook.
David and Shannon Brown’s relationship in Moldova spans time and borders of the country.
These relationships include Baptist pastors in western Moldova who operate a cheese factory, a Baptist medical clinic in the capital, and a ministry-focused seminary in Central Asia. The Browns are also in close contact with seven villages that have no known believers.
David recently retired from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“I wanted to retire from something, not something,” David said.
The Lord called the Browns to retreat to Moldova to serve.
In 2014, the pastor of Brown’s house church, Birmingham. Ala., Meadowbrook, shared with the congregation his vision to have a missionary presence on every inhabited continent. To represent Europe, David proposed Moldova. David made his first connections in Moldova in 2008 while traveling with a businessman friend.
After a visionary journey in 2015, Meadowbrook formed a partnership with Dancu Baptist Church in Dancu, Moldova. Since then, the Browns have led five teams of volunteers to serve in Moldova.
David and several friends lent their business skills to help Dancu Tabita, a cheese factory created by Dumitru Cravcencu. Most pastors in Moldova are bi-professional, and Dancu Tabita provides income for Cravcencu and many others. Dancu Tabita is recognized inside and outside Moldova for the quality of its cheese.
Other Meadowbrook volunteers focused on the spiritual side of the partnership.
In 2021, David attended a discipleship training course led by the missions pastor in Meadowbrook. At the end of the training, participants were tasked with teaching the course to someone else. David asked Slavic Duman, the senior pastor of Dancu Baptist Church, if he was interested. He noticed that Duman had a stunned look on his face.
Duman told David that the head of the Hincesti region of Baptist churches in Moldova had asked him to prepare and lead training in evangelism and discipleship for union pastors. Duman prayed earnestly for three days for the Lord to show him what he should teach.
After completing the seven- to eight-week course, Duman asked the Browns and Meadowbrook Missions pastor Kevin Bolin if they would come lead the training. International Mission Board (IMB) missionary Elbert Smith, now a missionary emeritus, who was serving as a missionary trainer in London at the time, came with the Browns and Bolins, as did Tamara Moser, a Meadowbrook member who s have been to Moldova on every trip since 2015.
On this trip, as part of the training, the Moldovan pastors, the Browns, and Lamar Schubert, an IMB regional leader, visited 64 homes to share the gospel in three days. In 32 houses, one or more people prayed to receive Christ.
This trip played a pivotal role in David and Shannon’s journey to settle in Moldova.
“We both knew the Lord was calling us to do more,” David said.
“Lord, would you see fit to put the IMB missionaries back in Moldova?” they prayed.
The morning after the Brown and Schubert trip to Moldova, a Kentucky pastor called to ask if there was a place in Europe for an IMB couple whose route to the mission field became blocked during COVID-19.
The Browns said they were happy to serve with IMB missionaries Ryan and Jenni Meredith, who are now IMB ministry team leaders in Moldova.
This team is now the first IMB presence the nation has had in many years. Moldova was considered to be “achieved” in terms of autonomy and appropriation of the Christian population and the Church in the missionary task. Brown said he and Schubert recognized the potential for a powerful partnership with the Moldavian Baptist Union to reach non-Christians in Moldova and send Moldovan missionaries to the nations.
David and Shannon plan to live in Moldova for 18-20 months.
The team has a three-part ministry goal. The first is to expand the discipleship efforts started in Dancu to the entire Hincesti district. The goal is to reach many more for Christ and eventually plant new churches where none exist today.
The team works with the Emanuel Baptist Clinic in Chisinau and alongside Eugenia Podoleanu, the clinic’s executive director, and Gusac Liviu, the clinic’s president, as their staff respond to physical and spiritual needs in the capital. and in other cities. Meadowbrook provides funds for medical supplies used in community health campaigns. Send Relief funds are currently being used in the clinic to help refugees.
The team’s second ministry focal point is the Orhei region of Moldova. David and Shannon are partnering with a local pastor to reach the area’s population of 50,000 with the gospel. David estimates that there are seven villages in the area where this pastor lives, with a combined population of 10,000 people and no known Christians.
Their third goal is to establish a relationship with Divitia Gratiae University, a Baptist seminary in Chisinau. The seminary is involved in sending missionaries to Central Asia. Although Moldova is a small country, the number of missionaries the country sends is anything but small.
David said they are the “eyes and ears on the ground” for Send Relief projects to help Ukrainian refugees through local Baptist churches. Their first months in Moldova were quickly committed to joining Moldovan Baptists in ministry to Ukrainian refugees. The Browns spent hours in vans, traveling with Duman and Ion Miron, the executive director of the Baptist Union of Moldova, to visit churches, Baptist camps and the Emanuel Clinic that house and care for refugees. In April, the Browns welcomed the management of Send Relief.
David and Shannon’s days are full, but so are their hearts. Their retirement is different from that of the average American – and that’s exactly what they wanted. Learn more about missionary roles and terms of service.