"Preach the Gospel to all creation" Mark 16:15
|First Love-- The 1992 Romania Crusade|
With joy I share with you that the Romanian crusade was a great success! Over 4,700 people made professions of faith in Jesus Christ. Hundreds of tracts were distributed to those who did not take the time to hear the gospel; only God knows how many more were added to His kingdom.
In my assigned ministry to Starchiojd, my team recorded 164 decisions for Christ. Although we were in small mountain villages (we went to other villages from Starchiojd), the Lord blessed us with an abundant harvest as we reached over 1 percent of the population in a week! My team consisted of John Turner, an American from Tampa, Florida, our interpreter, and six nationals from the local Baptist churches. We would walk the empty streets of the villages, wondering what God might do. We would then find one or two people with whom to share Jesus. As we began sharing, others would come from their homes and gather to listen. God's power and glory would begin to pour and we would often see six or more people pray to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Lord did this time and time again, with as many as twelve people inviting Jesus into their hearts from an "empty" street!
The Legacy of Victory
The crusade to Romania was typical of the work of International Crusades. It involved a very high degree of personal contact through one-to-one witnessing encounters. Even when a dozen people were won at one place, one person seldom shared with more than three or four people at a time. There were services most evenings, but no massive rallies except for the Victory Rally at the end of the crusade. I was assigned a partner the day before we went to our villages. It was ironic that the first Americans in the villages where we ministered were evangelists named Mark and John! The believers in Starchiojd and Lera were very loving and caring toward us; John and I felt we could not have had a better crusade experience.
A group of believers went with us each day to help us evangelize. Though they had never done anything like this before, they caught on quickly. By the end of the fifth day in the streets, they unintentionally demoted John and me to follow-up literature distributors. It was exciting to see these people sharing Jesus and winning their own countrymen to Christ! We left material to help them continue the work.
The important task of continuing follow-up with the new believers suffered no neglect. Many friends contributed to provide over 250 hard-covered Romanian Bibles to the new converts in Starchiojd and Lera. IC purchased over 4,000 Bibles through the gifts of the friends and churches of the other participants. The church members in Starchiojd and Lera will distribute the Bibles as a part of their follow-up program. I met with the church leadership for over two hours to plan their program and answer their questions. They will use a Bible study booklet provided by International Crusades to lead the new believers in a six-session study for new Christians.
Permit One Story, Please...
I want to share with you a story that I felt typified the ministry to Starchiojd.
We led a girl to Christ and others gathered around. We asked if we could share with them, but they did not have time, as they were going to work in the weaving factory. They gave us a tour and invited us back at the shift change to share our message. We returned, and I presented the gospel to about 20 women as I stood among the looms. I led them in a prayer to receive Jesus as their Savior. I called for those who seriously prayed that prayer to come forward to make their decision public and for counseling. Four women responded, including the lady who ran the factory! I then asked if there were any others wanting to receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Maria Cirbeo (pronounced Chir'-byo) began to timidly raise her hand and then her hand shot into the air! I extended my hand toward her and motioned for her to come. She practically leaped through the looms and took my hand. She prayed aloud to receive Jesus as her slack-jawed co-workers looked on!
"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it." John 1:5