Often when we share about the CMIAID Fire Service we receive some rather incredulous looks and are asked, “What? CMIAID runs a fire service!!”
Yes, we realise it is a rather unusual ministry and one that you would not normally be associated with a Christian mission!
However, we have come to see that God would have us think out of the ordinary! Moldova is a unique country with many open doors of opportunity and sometimes, to make the best use of these opportunities, we have to think outside the “ordinary” box.
Since its beginnings in 2013 God has used this ministry to open many doors for the Gospel and to make many new contacts. It is also a way that we can “…demonstrate the love of Christ” to the community.
How it all began
In 2012 we purchased the five-storey building that we now call the Bethesda Centre in the village of Zirnesti. During the process of completing the paperwork for the purchase of the building at the local council office, we happened to meet the Fire Chief for the Cahul Region.
During the conversation he told us that he used to live in the building we had purchased, and he shared some of his experiences. He then went on to tell us about the Moldovan Fire Service and invited us to come for a tour of the station.
When we visited the station, we were amazed by the lack of equipment and the ancient fire trucks that were being used. Most were from the Soviet era and were in very poor condition. Additionally, the station was the only one within a 70 km radius!
As a result of our visit we decided to see if we could help. We started looking for second hand fire trucks in the United Kingdom. We found and purchased two and drove them out to Moldova and donated them to the Fire Station. We also brought a third for our village as the Mayor had shown interest in establishing a volunteer station in Zirnesti.
After six months of waiting, nothing happened and the truck remained in the yard. We realised that the desire was there, but the resources were not. After much consideration and discussion, we decided to set up a volunteer station at the CMIAID Base using CMIAID workers who had volunteered for the task.
The station was opened in 2013 with seven volunteers and one Volvo fire appliance, becoming the first volunteer fire station to open in Moldova.
The plans were approved by the Moldovan Government Fire Service and the CMIAID Fire Service became official, taking on responsibility for 10 villages in the immediate area and being directed to incidents by the emergency 112 national control centre.
The CMIAID Fire
The CMIAID Fire Service now has three appliances and each year responds to an average of 70 incidents. Incidents that we have attended include car accidents, structure fires, grass and scrub fires and floods. When required, we also provide support to other stations.
Opening doors for the GospeL
As we look back over the short history of the CMIAID Fire Service we see how God has used it to open many doors for the Gospel in Moldova.
One of the first things that we were able to do in 2013 was to start visiting fire stations to hold special Christmas outreach programs for fire-fighters and their children. Now we have dedicated summer camps and specific days to present the Christmas program to fire-fighters and their families only.
This has led to similar programs for Police, with whom we came into contact through our activity in the fire service.
Whenever we attend an incident, we distribute a specially prepared Gospel leaflet called “The Greatest Saviour”. Many people gather around at incidents like fires. Once the incident has been dealt with, we have a good opportunity to distribute literature and talk to people.
The CMIAID Community Assistance team also does follow-up visits of those affected by fires or floods we have attended, to see if additional help can be given in the aftermath.
We praise God for these opportunities which He provides.