A Mission trip to Moldova—at the age of 99!
By missionary Loreen Ittermann
My father, Dr. Arthur Ittermann, was born on Columbus Day in 1908. At 102, he is still going strong—writing sermons, studying the Arabic language and speaking occasionally. He is truly amazing! Through the years, he has been fond of repeating Columbus's words: "Sail on and on!" A few years ago, he put this motto into action when he traveled to Moldova to speak to our TITUS Team workers and celebrate his 99th birthday.
We enjoyed a birthday party in Tellenesti with the families and staff from the orphanage and some of the pastors and their wives from the area. The following day, we had a big celebration in Chisinau with the Russian pastors and their families, special friends, Miki, Masato and Yuhki Funakoshi from Odessa, and leaders of the Baptist Union. What fun!
My father spoke to seven different audiences during his ten-day visit, with a special message for each group. He especially enjoyed meeting with the youth, who in turn, appreciated him. How rewarding to observe young and old listening attentively and taking to heart what he had to say! In regard to the difficulties we face in life and ministry, he said: "Don't give up—keep going forward—God will see you through! In other words—sail on and on!
Peter and Natasha, who served on the Arctic Circle for many years, wrote an insightful "thank you" note concerning the response of the young pastors to my father's concluding remarks at the party:
Dear Miss Loreen,
It was pleasant to be at your father's birthday party; you looked like the happiest daughter in the world! After the party, some of us younger pastors got together and talked a very long time about life and eternal things. We were touched by Mr. Arthur's words regarding earthly things, that they are not so important. And then I remembered your words that we need to trust God more. I believe that this event wasn't just a party, but also a sermon of few words and with methods that touched all aspects of our feelings. We felt very welcomed and free. Thank you for the invitation.
Peter and Natasha
My father's love for Christ, and determination to serve Him in every phase of life, left an imprint on the lives of these Moldovan believers. He is an example to all of us to "sail on and on" for the glory of God and the furtherance of the gospel.