Riding in the car
from the airport in Bucharest to the city of Campina, I couldn't help
but marvel at the lush green of the corn fields and the golden glow of
the ripening wheat fields. How quickly God readies us for the work
ahead1 reminding me of the field to be reaped for Him, and how ripe and
ready for harvest it is. The day was hot, but clear; the traffic was
Of such was the
preparation for our week in the Campina area: a field of lost souls
ready for harvest, good, warm weather, and clear skies. Yes, a few
obstacles tried to block our paths and hinder our efforts, but that is
the way Satan always works. The nine of us were ready to complete the
work of the Lord, who had sent us on this mission.
We tried a new
approach this year. Each team visited in at least two communities
instead of the usual one, thereby giving us more exposure to the area
and the people. And we were able to witness in some new areas as well..
.Cornu, Banesti, Gornu, Stoenestei, and Morin. We held a children's
Bible study during four of the days, and we held leadership training
for both the men and the women.
Home visits were more
numerous than in the past, and they were very fruitful since the church
members accompanied us on the visits. Hopefully, next year, the visits
will include more people in each home so that we can talk with more
people. Each of us had his own interpreter so we were free to go and
witness to anyone, rather than being bound to the team of three.
The harvest was good,
315 professions of faith, and we had over 500 children attend our Bible
schools. In addition, the local church members seemed to be more
responsive to our request that they become more involved in the setting
of appointments and in the follow-up with the new believers in their
churches. God was so good to us on this trip. His Holy Spirit moved
among the team members, the church members, and the people with whom we
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack
faithfulness, powerless and empowering, teachable and taught--these are
the tensions between my weakness and God's strength driven home to me
on the 1997 GNI trip to Romania. The first day fear froze my heart.
Could I really share the Gospel through a translator? Despite my doubts
in myself, the Holy Spirit cultivated courage in my heart that overcame
my fears and empowered me to tell others of God's timeless truths.
And so I did, again
and again, a mouthpiece for God's message I was. One incident stands
out. Mary Pike and I were witnessing to two teenagers when a mob of
kids gathered around us in Baicoi. To distribute the mass of bodies,
Mary took a large group of them to another spot. When I was done
talking a voice yelled out in highly accented English, 'He's American."
The fellow was not referring to me but to a young man. "You're
American?" "Yes. No. Well, I lived there for seven years. My name is
Dragosh." We proceeded to have a lively discussion about the Gospel
which resulted in his professing Christ. What amazes me is that in the
midst of a nice sized town, in a huge apartment complex, at that time
of the day on that day, Dragosh was there. Our sovereign God arranged
that meeting before the world was created.
God not only worked
through me but in me; he taught me to trust in his provision as well as
his love for me. The Romanians reinforced this by their wonderful
hospitality. Before I came they didn't know me at all. They treated me
royally. God is also extremely hospitable to us. We come to him as
beggars and still, he feeds us royally.
My first trip to
Romania was wonderful. All the elements-evangelizing, sharing in the
churches, fellowshipping with the Romanians, and seeing God
work-combined together to form a picture of God's faithfulness to his
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack
Overall, my first
mission trip to Romania was a positive experience. Before going, I was
scared and unsure as to what to expect. The trip presented many new
challenges to me, but God was faithful. This first challenge was
finding out that I had to give a testimony in the church service. I get
very nervous speaking in front of groups, but God was with me. I ended
up giving a total of five testimonies during the week and wasn't even
nervous by the last one. Another challenge was finding out I had to
lead a children's program for over 100 children, but again God was
faithful. He raised up capable helpers when I needed them, and the
program was an enjoyable time for everyone.
challenge I faced was sharing my faith with people on the streets.
Unlike the other teams, who had appointments already set up for them
with people ready to listen, my team had only two appointments all
week. We were forced to walk the streets and try to find someone who
would listen to the gospel. The first day was spent observing my
partner, Jack, as he shared the gospel with people in the street. The
second day, he sent me out on my own, I was scared, but I was blessed
to have a teenage girl from the local church to lead me around the
village and to show me who to talk to. She led me to a young woman who
looked about my age, and we started talking. She was so open that I was
amazed. She listened attentively as I shared the gospel, and when I
asked if she would like to pray to receive Jesus as her Savior, she
said, "Yes!" Just as we got done talking, her friend came up. She was
also a young woman about my age, and she also seemed very open. I
shared the gospel all over again with her, and she prayed to receive
Jesus too. I was pleased to learn that these two women attended the
church service in their village the very next evening. Praise God that
he can use us weak vessels to bring people to himself.
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack
I had a sense that
this, my fourth mission trip to Romania, would be a special one from
the beginning. This was the first year that God had allowed me to be
sent as a true missionary, for my trip was funded by fellow believers.
God also provided the most pleasant weather we have ever experienced in
July in Romania. In addition, I was excited about leading a children's
leadership conference. The spiritual education of the children of
Romania is very important to G.N.I. ,and this would give us an
opportunity to find out how the churches were ministering to their
conference brought a special blessing It was exciting to hear how
several of Pastor John's churches already had children's programs. Some
were led by older youth and some by older women in the church. I was
especially touched to learn that these dedicated workers paid for their
children's materials Out of their own money when the church did not
have the funds. (How many of us would be so dedicated?) We had a
wonderful time of learning, sharing and laughing about the joys of
teaching children. Then, these precious women be~an sharing of their
witnessing~~in~ experiences, and what was a children's conference
turned into a special time of encouraging each other in our faith. It
was a truly humbling to hear of the experience love and compassion
Romanian Christians have for their lost countrymen, in spite of the
ridicule and persecution Christians have suffered at their hands.
This love was evident
throughout the week, as I saw Christians embrace and welcome the
friends they had invited to our services all week. The children's
program was a real example of love in action: young and old
participated by providing materials, songs, hands, and hearts to
minister to the children. We had an awesome time! One of the most
precious, miraculous, experiences of the trip cam~ as I was closing the
children's service in Baicoi ("buy-coy"). The story was on Jesus the
Good Shepherd from the tenth chapter of John. The Holy Spirit had led
me to share that since I asked Jesus into my heart, I had never felt
lonely or worthless. As I shared, I could sense the Holy Spirit dealing
with many of the older children. Their expressions seemed to be
saying., "How did you know how I feel?" As I began closing the service,
my interpreter approached me with a message from the deacon, Brother
Androni (a seventy year old spiritual powerhouse and special friend to
children). Brother Androni asked me to close by giving, those children
who were ready the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior and
Lord. Well, the Holy Spirit brought forth a harvest of thirty-five
children ages ten and over who were ready to come into the flock of the
Good Shepherd These children's hearts were ready and because of
the love and sensitive spirit of a Godly man, they now have a new best
friend and an eternal self worth.
There were many other
awesome experiences, such as, being surrounded by children at the
apartment complexes who were excited to here any bible story you could
share. There were opportunities to share with large groups and
see them receive Christ and then stay and ask to be taught more. We
shared with one group and as they listened another group crowded around
and waited to hear for themselves. Small children walked nearly a
mile so they could participate in our children's service. God is
doing a mighty work in Romania! Come and join us!
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack
1997 God started this
trip with answered prayer and continued all the way through. One of the
greatest times during the trip was the time every night that we got
together for a prayer and share time. Sometimes we sow, sometimes we
water, other times God gives us the awesome experience of leading
someone to Himself. During our prayer and share time, I was always
encouraged and amazed at what God was doing on all of the teams. We saw
God change hearts, we could see and feel God working in mighty ways.
God used this trip to strengthen my faith, increase my boldness, and
develop an even closer walk with Himself. There is nothing else like
truly experiencing God at work.
In just one of many
mighty things we saw God do:
It was on Friday in
Comarnic, Romania. We were making a visit right before I was supposed
to preach the service. The lady we came to visit was not home but her
mother was, so we talked to her. She said her daughter was not due home
today. We started sharing the Gospel with her, but could not finish
with her because we had to be back at the service. We left Gospel
tracts with her and headed off to the service. Right when we were about
to start the service, two girls stopped in. They had arrived home early
and their mother told them that we were just there. They said they
wanted to hear what we had to share. We shared the Gospel with them
while the people watched. They prayed to receive Christ! The sermon God
had planned for me though prayer and study, was sharing the Gospel!
God planned this all out. The people saw it in action, then got
point by point instructions. I instructed them to write the Scriptures
in their Bibles so they could share with their friends, neighbors and
co-workers. It is my prayer that they will continue to share their
faith in Romania now that we are back home in America.
In all we saw over
315 people receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! That's the
greatest miracle of all!
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack
Jesus said to him, "I
am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through Me." John 14:6
For many decades
Demitru searched for truth. His mind was uneasy as he reached his
mid-sixties. Who was he and what was the meaning of life?
away, the five of us pulled away from the hotel in Campina. Our small
talk belied our tension as we sped out of the hills and unto the
plains; past oil derricks planted in fields of corn and wheat. As we
entered Bratasanca, our driver saw Demitru outside his gate and pulled
over to the shoulder. Invited to join him on a bench in the shade, we
sat down as the first of many trucks to pass rumbled by us.
Demitru began with a
barrage of confusing and unrelated questions. I saw my young
translators' faces cloud with frustration. Then, as we shared the
Scriptures with him, Demitru's heart began to thaw. Soon the Gospel was
laid out before him. We shared of our sinfulness, God's character of
righteousness and love, who Jesus is, and what he came to do for those
who would believe in him. Demitru's eyes moistened and he paused often;
asking thoughtful questions with a new humility. Asked if he believed
the Gospel and would he like to receive the gift of eternal life, he
replied, 'Of course, look at me, I have goosebumps.'
As we prayed together
on that noisy street, he finally found truth. The unworthy bearers of
this treasure were two nervous Americans, two teenage Romanian boys,
and one retired coal miner from Bratasanca. A lost sheep had been found
and there was much rejoicing in the Shepherds house.
Of such was our trip
to Romania the first two weeks of July. God blessed us with a team of
nineAmericans: Six from the Houston area and the three of us from St.
Louis. Our financial needs were met, we prepared with much prayer, team
building, and study. The Romanian Christians were such gracious hosts,
the translators were fantastic throughout a grueling week and a half,
and God met our needs on a daily basis.
Many memories flood
my mind. The joy of the Romanian Christians, young and old, as they
sang so beautifully during their worship services. The flowers blooming
in the gardens. Preaching by flashlight after a deafening thunderstorm
knocked out the electricity with quarter sized hail. A woman who said
she could never be forgiven by God, because she had had two abortions
years before, and then later praying to receive Christ for the
forgiveness of her sins and eternal life. Beautiful pastel sunsets
against the mountains in the distance. Praying a sick car into to town
so as not to be stranded out in the country. A picnic our last Saturday
with hiking, food, singing, laughter, games, and finally, a torrential
downpour where we all (Romanians and Americans alike) got soaked.
Our three stated
goals were to share with the Romanians in the area of small group Bible
Studies and one on one discipleship (I led a 3 hour seminar on the
topic the first Saturday), evangelistic outreach with Romanian
translators in the homes and on the streets of the 9 communities we
visited(over 315 men, women, and children made professions of
faith during the 10 days), and to reach out to the children through
church-based special programs (over 3 days we had more than 500
children participate in afternoon meetings). God blessed us in so many
other ways as well.
Each morning we would
arise early, eat breakfast, and prepare for the day. By 8:30 am we
would meet our drivers and translators. These young Romanian Christians
worked tirelessly with us as we labored until the early evening hours.
Nancy Crain and myself were blessed with co-laborers Silviu and Daniel
(16 and 15 years old respectively). These young men went wherever we
asked and worked to the point of exhaustion by the end of the week.
Each day a host
family would serve as our base of operations in that community. What
wonderful people. Although they live very modestly, there was joy in
these homes. We were cared for with much love and now have many dear
friends among our brothers and sisters in Romania. Romania is a
beautiful country. In our area there where mountains in the distance,
green hills where we stayed each night, bountiful plains of com and
wheat in the south, sparkling rivers coming down from the hills, quaint
villages with perfect little gardens in each yard, and the wonderfully
radiant faces of the Romanian children everywhere we went.
God also worked in
our team to meld us together as our own little church there in the
Muntenia Hotel in Campina. A truck driver, housewives and mothers, a
salesman, a seminary student and his wife, a businessman, a graphics
arts manager, and even myself, were used by Him to serve one another.
Every evening we would gather together to pray our thanksgiving to the
Lord for the days events, for one another needs, and to lift up our
requests to our Heavenly Father. This was a great privilege. But the
most beautiful part of Romania was the new lives that were created by
the Holy Spirit as he used our fumbling words to bring his people to
himself through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless these new
Christians and the churches to disciple them into mature and
reproducing followers of the 'stone that makes men stumble and the
rock that makes them fall,' our King and Savior, Jesus. Soli Deo
Chris Nancy Mary Steve Jack