About Beyond the Vineyards
For almost a year my husband, Rush and I felt the Lord was refining, convicting and sanctifying our hearts and wondered what the Lord had in store for us. I was approached by a friend at church and asked to pray about the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Moldova. Although I had been praying for a few months for an opportunity to serve in some capacity, I was overcome with fear at the thought of actually committing to it! It would be 11 days away from my three children who are 3,6, and 9 years of age. I had never left them for this length of time before. I had no idea how we would come up with the money in such a short period of time. And even if we could come up with the money I wasn’t sure if I was willing to spend it on a mission trip to Moldova instead of our annual trip to the beach. Furthermore, I wasn’t sure I had the courage to travel overseas considering the volatile state of our world. All of these selfish desires and fears paralyzed me over the next few weeks. I had privately decided there was no way I was going to go, but the Holy Spirit simply wouldn’t let me off that easily. I pleaded with the Lord to leave me alone. But, I am thankful we serve a patient and loving God because he did not leave me alone. In fact, he did just the opposite. He placed just the right people in my life at just the right time to point me back to Him each time I attempted to justify why I should not go. First, my husband sat me down and answered every excuse I had. He reminded me that the Lord would provide financially if it was His will that I go. He let me know he would take off work and do whatever it took to manage our three children so I would not have to worry about their needs while I was away. Lastly, he reminded me that the number of days I live here on earth are not in my control and that I could not allow the fear of losing my life prevent me from being obedient to the Lord’s will.
I also had a friend who encouraged me to pray that the Lord would reveal his desire for me through His written word. Because I was so emotionally weary from fretting over this decision, I pleaded with the Lord one morning on the way to bible study to reveal to me through scripture what it was He desired me to do. Within the hour, He would do just that. Our leader at bible study began her lecture and within the first few minutes she referenced the scripture from Matthew 6:21. “For where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” I don’t believe I heard anything else she said in that hour of lecture. That scripture resonated in my soul so loudly I could not think of anything else. I was overcome with emotion realizing that I had allowed my children, my finances, and my comfort to become idols preventing me from being obedient to the Lord’s call on my life. I knew I had to go! I could not wait to get out of bible study so I could make the phone call to let the mission team know I would be joining them on the trip to Moldova.
I wish I could say that I was free of all of my fears and anxieties regarding the trip right then and there. It just wasn’t true. I battled my fears until the day we left Birmingham. I remember telling Rush the week before I left that I was ready to get this trip behind me. I wanted to go and be obedient, but I was treating it like something on a checklist, only desiring to check it off. As you can see, the Lord still had work to do in my heart. Little did I know, the upcoming 11 days in Moldova would drastically change my life and heart forever. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment in time that everything in my heart changed, but I know by the time the last day of the trip arrived I could not contain my emotions. Instead of being so ready to get back home to my family, I was so sad to be leaving this place and people I had come to love. My heart was so heavy.
I spent the long plane ride home sharing my heart with a teammate, and praying to the Lord to reveal to me what He desired me to do with this heaviness that was in my heart. I couldn’t wait to get home and share with Rush all that I had experienced. But, I worried he just wouldn’t understand and grasp my burdened heart because he had not been part of the experience. I spent so much time praying the Lord would allow his heart to understand in some capacity. Over the next week as I processed the events of the trip I would share them with Rush. I’m sure I ended every story with, “Rush, I just feel like I am still supposed to be serving there in some way. I just don’t know how to do that from Birmingham, AL.” I knew without a doubt the Lord had placed us here in Birmingham and I knew He wasn’t calling us to move. Moreover, I could not fathom how we could serve people thousands of miles away. However, the Lord already had a plan for that and would reveal it to me through my husband. Remember I had been praying that the Lord would connect our hearts on this passion in some capacity. I was again reminded we serve a faithful God! As the Lord would have it, Rush is a CPA who owns his own accounting firm. A few days later, he approached me with the idea of starting a non-profit here in the United States that would support the ministry Oleg and Vitaly have begun. In essence, we would be their “boots on the ground” here raising support so they can carry out their work for the Lord. I immediately contacted our team leader from the mission trip and proposed the idea to her to see if she knew if this would be something Oleg and Vitaly would be interested in. Within a couple of days Rush and I were able to set up a conference call with Oleg to share the idea. When I heard his response, I knew the Lord was providing the affirmation we needed to move forward. Oleg informed us that he had been praying for this very thing for 10 years now. It was in that moment that I knew my trip to Moldova was more than just a one time mission trip to check off my list of things to do. It was a trip that would change my heart forever allowing me to see this world through a different lens. To see the things that hold eternal value versus the things that moths and rust will destroy. A trip that allowed me to realize the Lord has called me to live a holy life, not just a happy life. It is a holy life that overflows into the lives of others when a happy life only benefits one’s self.
I could spend hours sharing the many ways the Lord has so graciously revealed His handprint to us in every detail of this journey. I can assure you this is not a journey documenting the incredible faith of Rush and Tori Letson. It is a journey that does just the opposite. It reveals the ridiculous lack of faith I carried in my heart, but the unbelievable power of the God through His Holy Spirit!! I hope you can sense God’s mighty hand on this mission. It humbles me and brings me to my knees to realize just how close I was to disobedience that would have led me to miss out on this spiritual experience that has taken my faith to a place I never imagined.
At this point, we have filed all necessary documents to gain non-profit status and are moving forward to build a website and put in place other necessities in order to provide proper communication with existing and future supporters. We have named the non-profit “Beyond the Vineyards.” As you may be aware, Moldova is known for its vineyards and the economic support those vineyards provide. If you were to google Moldova this would be one of the first facts you would learn. However, my desire is that through this non-profit we would be able to share that there is so much more to Moldova than its vineyards. Our desire is for others to know there are precious people, hearts, and souls that are all in need of knowing the Savior we serve. I also desire others to know that although a great deal of ministry is carried out in Moldova through Oleg and Vitaly, their ministry also reaches outside Moldova to other countries where their citizens face persecution for belief in Christ. So, truly the ministry of Oleg and Vitaly goes “Beyond the Vineyards.”
Oleg and Vitaly literally put their lives on the line daily for the cause of Christ as they share the message of redemption and salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are thrilled to see what the Lord has in store as we proceed in this journey of faith to raise support for these two amazing servants of the Lord. Truly, they are heroes in the faith and we could not be more honored to work alongside them in efforts to expand the Kingdom. We covet your prayers and look forward to sharing more as the Lord reveals himself in and through “Beyond the Vineyards.”
About Turlac Missions
Turlac Mission was started in 2004 after Oleg and Natalia (Natasha) Turlacs returned to Moldova from studies in the U.S.
Vitali Turlac joined Oleg and Natasha in ministry after graduating from the Christian university in Lithuania. He and his wife Olga are actively involved in the Lord’s work in the formerly Communist lands.
– Our passion is world missions. We hope to visit many countries and preach Christ to millions of Russian speakers. We desire to reach Russians and people of other language groups through personal involvement, written and web resources.
– We help women who are victims of human trafficking, which at present time is the most profitable business in the world. Moldova, the country, where we were born, is among the top four countries – exporters of women for prostitution and slave trade.
– We desire to help the persecuted churches in the Last Frontier countries by providing for them resources needed for continuous life of faith and witness.
Turlac Mission partners with churches, mission organizations and individuals who have a deep passion for reaching millions with the Gospel of Christ.