Update from Mark and Arleen Rowell April 2020
This comes with our very best wishes in these difficult days. Like for many of you, a lot has changed for us over the last few months. Arleen’s mother became very unwell at the end of November so Mark picked up Arleen’s English classes in Moldova as well as his own while she returned to Northern Ireland to support her mum. Mark was well looked after meanwhile, by the Cahul church family and teaching staff, with gifts of meals and goodies often coming his way.
Since January mum has been having chemotherapy for myeloma and thankfully there has been some improvement. In February Arleen’s sister came to stay, which allowed Mark and Arleen a few days away at the beautiful Co Antrim coast and we had some wonderful walks along the beaches. Through this time, we have had many encouragements despite the pressures. A book ‘If it’s not too much trouble’ by Ann Benton helped to give insight into the issues surrounding the care of elderly family members and the value of serving in this way. Although we don’t have clarity on a longer-term plan it seems right for Arleen to remain in this role and review the situation in early summer.
The English classes seemed to be thriving and one class met Mark for a Sunday afternoon walk to explore secret Cahul. A network of underground tunnels used by the Turks is being excavated and they had a look at those, finishing off in a café for tea and cake. Relationships have deepened and we have become very fond of so many of these young people.
We, like everyone else have now been overtaken by events surrounding Covid 19. Mark felt it right to return to the UK when the schools closed and lessons stopped mid-March. He had one of the last few flights leaving Moldova and stayed in Wellingborough for a few days before taking one of the last few flights from England to NI. He’s now very good at packing quickly!
For the past four weeks we have been together in Antrim. Arleen continues to care for her mother and Mark has started to teach some online lessons with the students in Moldova. Zoom is wonderful and it has been a real privilege to maintain and develop contact with these young people, who are very appreciative of the support. Last weekend was Easter in Moldova and we were able to share a message of resurrection hope with the students and were so pleased to have some lovely responses.
We have much to thank the Lord for-
- for your prayers and friendship. We love to hear what is going on in your lives too.
- for mum’s improved pain control and the fantastic healthcare team who treat her.
- for the love demonstrated to us both in Moldova and the UK.
- for the Lord’s care and protection on our complicated travels, by coach, plane, train, boat…
Please continue to pray –
- that many students will hear and receive the good news of the Saviour
- that the church in Cahul will reach those in need and the summer youth camps will go ahead
- for the other teachers, especially the local ones who face many pressures at this time
- for wisdom, strength and peace as we consider what the Lord would have us do
With our very best wishes, Mark and Arleen