New missionaries and new mission field

We continue to serve our local community in Draganesti by helping our young people get to know God. Marian hosts a youth meeting every Wednesday night. 2 weeks ago, Raul was able to share Jesus with them. Someone was highlighted to Raul by God, a girl named Anna. She used to come to church. I was sharing about my hunger to read the Bible which helps me to know the Lord better. She testified that she used to do that, but doesn’t anymore. She was taking notes as I was speaking. I could see her hunger and desire to know the Lord. I want to ask you to please pray for Anna. She shared with us that she wanted to ask her earthly father for forgiveness but that he died in an accident before she could. Our desire is that she would be freed from this regret and that she lives in the fullness that Jesus offers each one of us who choose to follow Him.

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This past month we had Tim and Heidi here with their 2 children. They are from Colorado and believe that the Lord is leading them to move to Craiova to help with the church plant there. They visited us in Craiova for 2 weeks and were able to meet with the missionaries there and to see more about the ministry. It was a blessing and encouragement to have them here with us. They truly have a heart that loves Romania and wants to serve the Lord wherever He guides them. Please be praying for them as they plan to move here next year. Pray that the Lord would give them direction, wisdom and favor for the journey ahead.

We had a special night 2 weeks ago at Hope Church in Draganesti. Florin Sfetcu was ordained as a full-time missionary. As you know, we are always praying for new missionaries and new workers. I believe that Florin and his family came as an answer to our prayers. They moved from Italy back to Romania in the village where he grew up. He came to Hope Church to be equipped and to be sent. He and his wife have beautiful hearts and they love the Lord. Florin has a kind spirit and is very dedicated and faithful. Please pray for Florin, Alina and their children.

Years ago, we were thinking about starting a new mission base in the county of Valcea. However, last year, God drew our attention to a different county, Teleorman. This past month we had 2 meetings with the pastors and missionaries from that county. At our last meeting we decided who the coordinator will be, Mihai Geabou. He is a missionary with PIEI. We researched where there are and where there aren’t churches in the county.  We came up with a plan to work together and extend the Kingdom in Teleorman.

Please pray for our efforts in this new county.

Raul Costea - National Director PIEI / Romania

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Your kingdom come, Your will be done

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New workers in God’s field

A new E2E (Equipped to Equip) generation graduated this Monday and we are so grateful for the things that God does in our students’ lives and to see the growth in their characters. This program was developed in order to help them to see if they are called to be missionaries and to experience the mission field and a missionary context. The main thing we want for them is to follow God’s calling wherever that leads them to go.

In this second generation we had 7 students and during the past 6 months we learned, we laughed and we prayed together to find what God wants for their lives. They had the chance to study ten modules like: preaching, evangelism, discipleship, missionary agency, fundraising, partnership, leadership, missionary profile, church planting and the missionary project. Each one of these modules and our teachers poured into the students’ lives knowledge, support and love for the mission field.

In order to see the impact in these peoples’ lives, we want to give you a glimpse into their hearts and perspective about the course:

1. Zsolt Kemeri: “During the E2E program, God gave me the confirmation that I am called to be a missionary after last year He gave me a heart for people, taught me to appreciate and love the people around me and to seek His will in every circumstance.”

2. Daniela David: “This program meant a lot to me. I had the chance to meet some amazing people, to learn from them and to experience the beauty of the mission field. However, the most important thing I learned is that God calls me to be a missionary and that He wants me to go through faith with Him step by step until I get in the place that He wants me to be. It’s not easy but I know that His plans are way better than mine.”

3. Livia Ciudesnic: “This missionary course helped me to have a clear view about my calling in the mission field and that my place is in worship as well in youth and kids’ ministries. Another lesson God taught me was the fact that my mission starts in my family and the fact that we have a baby and the second is on his way, makes me realize even more that I have to focus on them first. Maybe God will show me other places where He wants me to serve but until then I choose to believe in Him and in His promises that He will be with me.”

4. Sebastian Ababei: “E2E offered me a lot of informations about the mission field, clarity about His will for me and it equipped me to do my best for His Kingdom. ”

5. Luca Nicolae: “In the last 6 months, my calling to be a missionary was confirmed and I learned how to develop my relationships with my partners. In the future I will continue to be a missionary in Craiova and to develop my fitness and physiotherapy programs in order to create a context for evangelism. ”

6. Daniel Davidescu: “A while ago, I searched on the internet a bible school and I discovered that every school in Romania requires money for housing, food and other expenses. However, I really felt that God calls me to be a missionary so when I found about E2E I took the opportunity to learn more about how a missionary should be. The fact that my expenses were covered and that I didn’t have to pay for the course was a huge help for me. My perspective about the ministry grew and I learned how to be more efficient in my work. In the future I will be a missionary in Craiova and I will work with the rroma people, media, evangelism and discipleship.”

7. Florin Dumitru: “The E2E program gave me an insight in the missionary life and clarity regarding God’s calling for my life. In the future, I will serve in my church and work alongside my pastor to spread the Gospel and to bring people to Christ.”

We pray that other people can have the opportunity to be blessed in the same way like these 7 young people were and for that we need your support in prayer and financially. At the end of the program, our desire is that every person who is called to be a missionary to be able to proclaim from the bottom of their hearts the lyrics: “I will love You with my yes and with my obedience, Jesus”.

Thank you for all your support and for your investment in the students’ life and in God’s Kingdom.


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Arizona Team Braves “The Graveyard”

Sharing the gospel can be a scary thing. Being vulnerable to people about your faith and what you believe in is something many of us shy away from. Putting yourself out there with the possibility of being rejected is something we all fear.

Well, in the southern region of Romania there are only around 0.2% born-again believers. Many pastors and missionaries have coined the phrase “the graveyard” to describe the spiritual climate in this part of Romania. So, the odds are statistically just NOT in your favor if you desire to make it out of Romania without experiencing rejection when it comes to sharing your faith.

If rejection is inevitable, then who would willingly decide to go to Romania with the goal of sharing the gospel?

Well, this past week a team of 16 high-schoolers from Arizona decided that it was worth the risk of being rejected for the sake of the cross. That although the odds may not have been in their favor, the potential of making just one person experience the love of Christ was worth it.

In a span of only NINE days, these 16 teenagers set out to make a positive impact in the lives of the people in Craiova and Draganesti-Olt. They did this by coming alongside our Hope Church staff and missionaries to help carry out and participate in various programs and events to make connections with the people of Romania.

The Arizona team hosted a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that brought out many teenagers and young adults from the community. Not only did this tournament allow engagement with the people of Craiova, but it also united young World Racers and men from a nearby naval base, all of whom are fellow Americans oversea. This tournament was important in that it helped build trust and relationships between the younger generation of Craiova and both American missionaries and Hope Church.

This group of teenagers also passed out New Testaments to the homes in Draganesit-Olt. Because of their efforts, approximately 5,000 people now have access to a New Testament Bible! They did home-visits and gave out food bags. On Sundays, the team split up so they could go to multiple churches, including 3 Roma churches, to see and encourage the people. They even went into the prison and had a program for the prisoners where the students shared their testimonies and led worship!

These are only some of the many things the Arizona Team did during their NINE day stay in Romania. Hope Church and our missionaries cannot begin to express how thankful we are to have been able to have partnered with such an incredible group of young believers who are on fire for the Lord!

Our heart’s desire is to have MORE teams, whether young or old, who have a fire in their heart, to brave “The Graveyard” and come to Romania to join alongside us in our work to bring Kingdom to Romania! And if you can’t physically come, then consider partnering with us financially or in prayer.


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New frontiers in the South

The mission field is an area where is a constant need for partners to join our purpose to spread the Gospel.  Through God’s grace, we are blessed to have every year teams that have a huge impact in our region. Among this kind of partners we have the World Race project. This “race around the world” represents an 11 months trip in 11 countries, where the racers want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Romania is on their itinerary many times so we have the opportunity to work with them many months every year.

Our most recent collaboration was in March when we joined our forces to bless the people from Craiova, Draganesti-Olt, Bals si Alexandria with New Testaments, prayer, practical work and lots of love. At the end of the month, we had 3 days of PTV (Parent Vision Trip) events. During the PVT, the racers reunited with their parents so they can experience the mission field and to join their children in their ministries. For 3 days we had the honor to work with them in different projects to make God known and to create bridges between missionaries and non-believers.

Our first day of ministry was in Craiova where we united to remake the Joshua prayer around the University of Craiova. We prayed for the students and for the people in Craiova to find Jesus and to receive Him in their lives. In the evening we had a social event during which we had the opportunity to meet new people, talk to them and build relationships. We were able to see the results of your prayers because many people came, much more than we expected, and we had to add a few more tables. We also witnessed the power of God when we heard the testimony of o parent who was a drug addict until he met Jesus and quit his addition from that moment.

Sunday, we split in smaller groups and we went to different churches to encourage the people through testimonies, songs and through our presence. That evening, we spent time together at a restaurant where the missionaries shared their testimonies and ministries to build partnerships with our guests from America.

Our final day was in Alexandria, a new county we invest in. There we had three projects: Joshua prayer, New Testaments project and Eyeglasses ministry, an event where we offer prayer and eyeglasses for free. We can already see God’s work in this county and we believe that He’s going to do great things there.

Thank you for your support and I want to invite you to join us in prayer for the missionaries, their projects and for the teams that are willing to come to serve with us because we want to see God’s name be glorified in Oltenia.

Bringing Jesus to the women in Craiova

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Ana’s vision in Craiova is to reach the unbelieving ladies in this community. She has regular meetings with some unbelieving women to build relationships, and they began discussing ways to spend more time together. Ana and the women discussed Martisor, the holiday on the first day of March where Romanians celebrate the coming of spring. This sparked the idea to hold a gathering to encourage and empower women together.

Today, on March 2nd, Ana held the event at a local restaurant. A group of women from Cluj and some World Racers partnered with Ana and her regular group members to create this women’s meeting. The celebration and festivity surrounding Martisor and the upcoming International Women’s Day on March 8th created a sweet atmosphere to connect between believers and unbelievers and recognize the beauty of womanhood.

At the event, there were songs and a message of encouragement. Because the coming of spring often brings about the desire of spring cleaning for the women here, the speaker encouraged the attendees to consider what parts of themselves inwardly may need cleansing, as well. She reminded the women that it’s not only our homes that deserve care and attention, but our hearts even more. She spoke of being cleansed inwardly of envy and hatred and the value of self-reflection and inner healing. We pray that seeds were planted for our great Healer and Cleanser to come into the hearts of these women. There were testimonies presented and the women were given the opportunity to discuss around their tables and celebrate one another.

A woman attending the event spoke of how amazed she was by how beautiful and encouraging the event was, especially the message. The owner of the restaurant was also impressed by the gathering; he mentioned that he had never seen a group of women coming together to encourage one another in this way. 

Please continue praying over the women’s ministry here in Craiova as they continue to build relationships. And pray that the Holy Spirit will use the experience tonight to soften the hearts of the women there and that it will lead these women to know Jesus. 

We are praising God for the relationship and partnership with ‘Completing the Task’, from Texas, who sponsored this event. 

Raul & Ana Costea

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him

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Jesus was involved in the real needs of men, which demonstrated his sincere love for them.

Starting from this concept, Nicu, one of the "E to E" students, develops a spiritual and physical rehabilitation program.

He meets people each week to do physical exercise and therapeutic massage, while talking about God.

Victor is one of the people who come to these meetings, and in the life God has worked on.

They found him immobilized in bed, and now he can do steps, and God also illuminates his soul.

Continue to pray for the students of the Equip to Equip program and for the city of Craiova, where we want people to be spiritually and physically rehabilitated.

Divine characters generate divine missions

"During these courses I was impressed and moved, but God has worked on my character more than anything."

I was thinking about this statement from this young lady and I was telling myself, “If we are striving to equip people for mission why was her answer, "my character was formed more than anything.”


I thought to myself, “if these are the results, the atmosphere is in fact a holy one,” since before gifts, abilities, or mission strategy, we are and must be holy because we are following Christ’s footsteps. This has brought much joy to my soul because the Scripture says, "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

In preparation for service in the mission field, we must be like the One who sends us on mission.

Before telling people about God, we must copy Him in His character and His way of being. If the E2E program centers on God changing the students lives, then it is more than just an equipment program; it is a context in which the participants know about God and are aware that they are being changed by God, then God’s work continues and He is glorified.


I want to thank you once again for your support, your involvement in prayer, and your encouragement! Please continue to call for God's Name over these students, over our courses and service, that God can be seen both in the lives of the learners and those who facilitate this program!

The Gospel for Over 1000 People

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

I hope this Christmas and the New Year find you and your family well and happy.


This Christmas season, we had the opportunity to give shoe boxes to children in over 20 locations. There was also the occasion to hear Christian carols, and the Gospel was spoken to over 1,000 people. It is a blessing to share the true meaning of Christmas with so many people.

When our oldest son asked a little girl what the reason was that Jesus was born, she said, "Because Mary wanted a baby?" Samy took his time to explain to the girl about the love of God, and the story of Jesus. Jesus was born, died and raised to life again for this little girl, the boy that was with her, and the father that was listening as well. After telling them, Samy recapped the story with the girl, and she understood why Jesus was born. 

Thank you for being a part of spreading the Good News of Jesus in Oltenia through all your prayers, encouragement and financial giving. We pray that you would experience the joy and peace of Christ this holiday season!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” –Luke 2:14 

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"Deep calls to Deep"

Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”

A pit is a reality that we are experiencing for many years, and that is the baptismal pit and the baptismal service.

In Romania, especially in the Southern region where we are, to choose to be baptized as an adult, means you forsake your family’s traditional religion, and this can bring some serious repercussions in the life of a believer. Sometimes it means isolation from family, friends, problems at school, work, lack of community benefits, verbal and physical persecution.

Because of this, believer’s baptism means courage, an act of bravery to which five committed people made their public faith statement on Sunday night during the baptismal service.

At this special occasion, just as it is to other baptismal services, we use this as an opportunity to share the Gospel, call to repentance, and surrender to Christ.

That evening when I had to preach to more than 150 people the Word of God and present the call to repentance, I stood before God, and instead of having a heart full of compassion for the lost souls, I had a heart full of troubles and unrest, as a result of a very stressful week, with too many things on my mind.

I had an hour before the beginning of the worship service, and my heart was not yet connected to the power of God.

So I retreated to my office and I confessed to the Lord my worries and unrest. I told Him that in that state I felt unqualified to preach His eternal Word and asked Him for a miracle so that I can see the people entering the church hallway and have compassion for them, just as Jesus himself would see and have.

Therefore today I can say that when the time came for me to give the invitation for salvation and the call to repentance and saw that ten people came forward, It was the work and the power of the Holy Spirit delivered through a weak and powerless vessel that God has used that night.

I am convinced that your prayers for me drew the power of God, so I could preach with clarity when I was pressed and assaulted by worries by the enemy.

Pray for these people to be sure of their salvation, prepared and courageous to be the next candidates for baptism!

Raul Costea-PIE-National Director

Cemetery and the fire - a lesson for a student

Hello! I hope this Thanksgiving Day finds you healthy, well and full of joy. I know family is a value for American Christian culture, which is why I rejoice with you as I think of you seeing your loved ones. I hope you enjoy your time together!

You are a vital part of our lives and work, including forming a new generation of missionaries. As you know, God has given me the vision of raising up new missionaries, so we are now in the second generation of E2E program (Equipped to Equip) project.

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Luca, one of our students, was very surprised one day when I told them they would start the lesson that morning by walking through the cemetery. Wow! Why? What's the idea? What happened? But those few minutes spent in the cemetery gave the students a new view of life, and a new perspective, perhaps more than a thousand words. Many students have realized that we are frail and passers-by in this life. They also saw that both the young and the old are dying, and the only chance to get to know God is here and now.

A sense of urgency has been activated in their lives, meaning they will be the voice of God for those who are lost around them starting now. It was a tough lesson, but a lesson that has left its mark in their lives. That day Luca realized even more people’s need for God, and the importance of hearing the Word of God for their lives now.

A few weeks after our visit to the cemetery, the same man (Luca) got a phone call saying that everything he had worked many years for was burned. His house, which he fought to own by working abroad and gathering every penny, was gone in just a few hours. The shock was great, but his attitude to submit to God’s divine will, and to accept God's plan, was amazing. Without complaining, he realized that we all are vulnerable and travelers on this earth and this brought extra motivation to his soul to spread the Gospel.

The walk through the cemetery, and the burned house were two hard lessons for just one of the E2E students. The Lord Jesus once said, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" , and now this truth is part of this student’s life.

I want to thank you for all you do (prayer, encouragement and financially) to raise up missionaries . Let's not forget that the lessons of the cemetery and of the burning house are for all of us, and to spread the gospel here and now wherever we are. We often remember you in prayer, and thank God for your part in our work.

Raul Costea

Befriending Women who Need the Lord in spite of Adversity

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Derogatory Repenters’ Church - Our Stigma Everywhere

Meet Granny Ioana, 83 years old, who has a hard time walking, leaning on her cane. I crossed her path and offered to give her a ride home, as her house was on my way. This is how life is in a small town, people talk to each other and are more friendly and personal. Among other things, I told her that I was the pastor's wife, and she told me that we “the repenters” were good and quiet people. Without much talk, I asked her directly if she knew if she had eternal life, and said NO. I explained that going to church, praying, doing good deeds, and anything that we people do, cannot earn us eternal life.

I shared with her about the One Who can forgive us of our sin, after which she understood that no priest can be the intermediary between man and God who can give anyone eternal life. I prayed with her to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. I also guided her through the assurance of salvation with with patience and love. It was the only time someone told her about the love of God and the fact that she can have eternal life. She invited me to visit her, telling me that her only child visits her very seldomly.

I also invited her to the church, but she said that she could not come because people will be mocking her if she were to come to the “repenters’ church (not the Orthodox). This is what we face everyday, the so called “holy tradition” get put above the bible and the gospel, and becomes the greatest stumbling block for the people to be saved and come to faith. Many of the traditional churches even forbid the church members from attending any other church or even forbid them from reading or touching the bible, thus keeping the people in total darkness and under their full control.

Ask Me: “Do I Have Eternal Life?”

I went to this meeting disappointed and discouraged about my spiritual life, but I told the Lord that I was open to be used by Him, and that I give myself to Him. The oportunity came!

Ask me, "Do I have eternal life?" ... This was the question that I asked this woman Daniela. Her answer was, "No need to ask, it is obvious, you have eternal life, it shows!" How do you know that your sins are forgiven? It is written in the Bible - was her answer. How do you know? Did you read it? She answered that she did not, then she asked for a Bible. From that evening, she began to read the Bible every day ... She is till writing messages to me or talking on the phone about what she does not understand. After I talked about baptism with her, the next day she tells me she was thinking of getting baptized and going through the way of the Lord (just like Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch)! Pray that Daniela would grasp the meaning of the Gospel and make a personal decision for salvation, that she will continue to search the Scriptures, and that our relationship will continue so that I can help her grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 8: 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”

Elena, a Special New Friend

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Elena has always lived in Craiova. She decided to come to our new church gathering as she is seeking God. She was in another church, but she felt that the pastor there was putting on a an act behind the pulpit, and was being another person. She immediately liked us because my husband Raul is very natural when he speaks. She has stayed with us since we opened our new church plant in Craiova. One day I offered to go and help her paint which she accepted right away. After about an hour, her husband came home home and they invited us to have dinner with them. I enjoyed the fact that the husband and the children did not treat me as a stranger but were very friendly, as if I were part of the family … However, I was so sad to hear that her mother does not agree for her to come to our church meetings with us ... because of the stigma the evangelical “repenters” have that the Priest of the Orthodox church in town spreads untrue bad statements in order to control the minds of the people and keep them in darkness. My wish is to be a living testimony to Christ. May His light shine brightly and His truth be revealed not only to Elena and her family, but to her mother as well.



When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God

Have you ever said, ‘Well, all we can do now is pray?’ ... When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God.
— Billy Graham

Last week I have experienced myself what Billy Graham said in this quote above. I told myself: "I'm too weak, I'm not good enough to show Jesus Christ to these well-educated women. Almost all of them have a college degree while I do not have higher education. However, I am friendly and loving and gifted to share the Gospel and show who God is. I was anchored in the power of God and I received these ladies with love.


Gabriela Stef, our sister in Christ who came to our group as our special speaker, invested in prayer, shared a message from Proverbs 31, spent time, money, and made the women feel very special. The time spent together was highly appreciated by these ladies. I was afraid that they would not want to hear a biblical message, and I was worried that they might not want to come back... but God remains faithful and surprised us the way He worked.


2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Our speaker has also encouraged me that God is looking at my heart and that I should have confidence as I continue working with these precious ladies that He brought to us so that I can share Christ with them.


We invited the women to come for a two-hour event, but they did not want to leave and stayed for three and a half hours! We had a great time ... I am so excited, but I don’t want to be too long, so I will return with more details about this meeting. Thanks for your prayers and support, have a great day!

Ana Costea

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10 women for Jesus in 2019!

From the beginning of marriage, I was convinced that God had called me to support my husband in the work to which he was called. But after a few years, God spoke to me through Titus 2: 3-5, but I thought I was too young and inexperienced to be involved in women's lives, even though I had a burning passion for those who were lost.

Later I discovered that the spiritual gift God gave me is that of an evangelist. God directed us as a family to Craiova, a city of 300,000 inhabitants. These days I have begun sharing the gospel with the women in this city.

I know that in the coming year there will be trials, and the evil one will fight for souls, that is why I invite you to join me in prayer and on my Facebook page "Women of Hope".

Ana Costea

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The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few

...The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
— Matthew 9:37

 

Romania has a population of over 20 million citizens all needing the love of Jesus to fill them up.

There is a seminary school here in Romania, that only has four students enrolled in this current year. Now, when I came upon this information I was deeply saddened. This upcoming generation was losing out on a wonderful opportunity to have a fulfilling relationship with Christ and place in His kingdom. Plus the weight of sharing the gospel and ministering to the whole of Romania was falling onto the shoulders of these four students!

Since that realization I felt a need to jumpstart a missions program to equip the nationals with everything they could need to spread the gospel, further the kingdom, and aid the citizens of Romania. The program lasts six months and for the duration of that time we focus on what it means to be a missionary and prepare the students to go into the field.

Our first class began the 15th of January and has just graduated! We had six graduates in the program and at the end of their time with us they all asked to become a part of the PIEI Organization.

I want to tell you about one student that truly impressed me with his determination and heart for God. His name is Sorin and he is 62 years old. I spoke with him about retirement one day and he told me, ‘No retirement. I want to be equipped for missions’. I was moved by this statement and responded to him with the stories of Moses (who started his ministry at the age of 80) and Paul (who was mentioned to be an old man) to encourage him in his journey of missions. Sorin knows that regardless of age he is beneficial to the kingdom; just as Moses and Paul did, just as I do, and just as you should.

I want to challenge you to come alongside me in mentoring, praying for, and financially giving to help the second class that is set to begin in October of this year. We are very excited for what is to come in this second generation of students and would appreciate any and all help.  

Lastly I would like to say thank you for all of your continued support! From intercession, encouragement, to financial giving, we are eternally thankful for all the help and support.

Peace and blessings,
Raul Costea

 

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From Allah to Jesus

And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
— Romans 10:20

From Allah to Jesus

When I met Sibel, a Muslim girl who was in prison, she told me that she prayed to Allah. But in the last few months because she was exposed to Jesus. She started to pray to Christ to have Him get her out of prison. The next day after she prayed, the judge decided that she was trustworthy enough to be released. Since then she has decided to follow Christ.
With the help of one of the World Race Parents we have been able to help her finically since she was released from prison. A few weeks after she was released she decided that she wanted to be baptized in Christ.

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From phase 1 to phase 2


As you know in Craiova, from November until April we were in Phase 1 in church planting where we were building a team. We have Adrian who works with the college students, Lucian works with youth ministry and in discipleship. Emanuel and Ellie work in community and social programs. Sammy helps with translation and evangelism. Michael works in worship and prison ministry. My role is in coordinating the church planting team.
We have now moved to Phase 2 where the team is working out how to reach the crowds. The big question during this phase is: Who will be our disciples? By the end of the year we are praying that we will be able to begin Phase 3 where each leader will lead a small group during the week.

Raul Costea

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It Is Hope: For a City of 300,000 people

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It Is Hope: For a City of 300,000 people

Parent Vision Trip (PVT) event and Hope Church Stage II for their Craiova Church plant event  - and both took place the same week!


The heart behind the event in Craiova was to be able to bring the church community to the people in Craiova, instead of asking them to come into church community – which may be uncomfortable or foreign for them. The goals of the event were to enter into Phase II of the Church planting process. Phase II involves making a loud noise in the community in order to let people know about Hope Church and what it is all about. In this way we hope to find and connect with those people who will be committed to the Church plant – basically growing and establishing the committed members of the church there in Craiova.


Out of the seven teams sent to Romania, one of the World Race teams was specifically sent to Craiova for the month in order to spend time developing relationships with the locals and inviting people to come to the “special English conversational event on April 26th”.


On that day the team left for Craiova, dinner packed and prayers being prayed, we arrived early afternoon and began setting up the room with worship, both in English and Romanian. Parents and Racers moved around their assigned tables praying for the people who would occupy them.
We had no idea how many total people would show up, but we prayed and we worshiped God for whatever He would do with what we had to offer and had prepared. We set up the tables with snacks, water, and information cards and then we waited. Slowly people began to trickle in. From here and there in the room there were happy shouts of greetings as parents and Racers spotted the people they had invited. We had confirmed around 10 tables worth of people showing up – and to the glory of God we filled all 23 prepared tables with only a few chairs to spare!
The room quickly became a sea of voices as conversation started – interrupted twice by testimonies shared from the front, and then the main speaker, Clint from AIM who generously agreed to come and speak at our event. Clint shared an interesting perspective of who we choose to be from the story found in John 8. “Which group do you want to be in?” he asked.
Afterwards, an older gentleman – a former well known Officer in Romania approached Pastor Raul to share how he felt as if he was in bondage! Pastor Raul shared the hope of the gospel with him and the man responded, “This event must happen in every city in Romania!” He shared how he felt there was a curse over the whole nation and that the nation needed to be set free from it. Many other participants shared with the Racers, PVT parents, and translators that they felt the love of God – and there were people prayed for and even saved!


We hope and pray that Hope Church Craiova will be known in this way: a place where the love of God is felt, and people are set free from their bondage.


Please continue to partner with us in 5 specific ways:

  1. Prayer: This can be 5 minutes a day – or 5 minutes a week. However short or long, we expect God to do powerful things through your prayers!
  2. Encouragement/Mentorship: Our missionaries here need people who are willing to invest in their spiritual and emotional lives
  3. Mobilization: We need people who will come and bring or send us physical partners throughout the year
  4. Promotion: We need people to help spread the word of what God is doing here and what we need partnerships in
  5. Finances: Everything takes some form of finances – whether that is supplies sent to us, people partnering with us to buy items made by people in the surrounding community in order that those people can stay with their families, - bibles for our Bible In Every Home ministry, eye glasses for our glasses ministry (so they can read the bibles), etc. We make all our financial needs and spending records available if requested – and all our different ministries can be found on our website

 

Donate now for Craiova ministry HERE  -   RED MISSION id # 24206

 

Craiova Prison Ministry

Craiova Prison Ministry

 

Matthew 25:36 "I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

For the past two years God has been giving us a chance to minister in a Prison that both males and females ages 15-25 are helping in. Along with our brother in the faith Viorel, we have been gift with the ability to present the gospel to High Security Inmates some from all kinds of backgrounds many of which are murders. This past month we attended a meeting once again and with a group of short term teen missionaries. The service is held mainly in small group form with an ability to hear the gospel through testimonies and asking questions.

During this past time a young woman (we will call her Jane Doe) asked to speak with Viorel. She informed us that she is a muslim who is wanting to turn to God and not go back to her way of living. She will be shortly be released, her sentenced has been completed and asked if there way any way she could be integrated into a church.

As I heard her story I started to think about what will happen to these people as they leave. Will they have a place to go, a job, a relationship with Jesus? Was she telling the truth, does she truly want to know HIM? I have been thinking about this lately and have started to pray that maybe Craiova will become a place to house them, train them and integrate them.

Please pray with me as this is brought before God daily,  that I will clearly hear if this is His direction for the Craiova ministry. Pray also for this girl, and to see if this is the correct place for her, and of her sincerity in her conversion along with the others who have prayed and responded to the message we have been bringing. If this is His will pray for a place to house them, the knowledge of how to help them heal and most importantly the changing of hearts. 

If you want to support us you can make a donation HERE .

Important: To donate for Costea Raul select 24207 from the donation form. To donate for Mission select 24203 from the donation form.

Pray for Craiova

At the beginnning of the year, in our Sunday morning meetings in Craiova, we began a comprehensive study of stories from the Bible, beginning with Genesis.  Our hope is that the non-Christians who attend these meetings will become familiar with the Bible and the messages within it.  Each meeting includes a time where we break into small groups to discuss what we are learning.  There are some people attending these meetings who are interested in what they have heard, and the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts.  One of them is a man named Liviu, who has been reading and studying the Scriptures and seeking to truly understand.  It is evident that God is at work in his heart, and we have seen evidence of new spiritual and moral convictions in his life.


We were excited this month to welcome two new young workers to our ministry in Craiova, Emanuel and Eli.  Both of them are eager to reach the elderly population in the area, and Eli is also planning to start an English club.

On April 26th, we are planning an event in the center of Craiova for 200-300 people.  Please pray for wisdom as we advertise this event, and that many would come and would be open to the truth of the gospel.

Please pray for more workers for our team, for the event in April, and that we would find more people to partner with us in our work in Craiova. 

If you want to support us you can make a donation HERE .

Important: To donate for Costea Raul select 24207 from the donation form. To donate for Mission select 24203 from the donation form.

E2E Students in Action

The E2E students have been busy working through the course curriculum and practicums. With six modules completed or touched upon out of the total of ten, they are starting to get into the heart of the curriculum. They were transported to the North West of Romanian and given opportunities at the local churches to present their ministries. Some have hit the streets evangelizing,  others have started to work on their mission field in Balanesti (a village just north of Draganesti-Olt). Please pray that they grow in their studies, personal walk with God, and knowledge

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Huddled in the small kitchen in the  village of Bala Nesti, just north of Draganesti-Olt a group of women still dressed in layers patiently waited. With one more opportunity to spread the good news of the gospel the E2E student missionaries had invited them to participate in receiving used clothing from a foreign land.

 Sadly these women are not yet “repenters” as the local religion calls the Hope Church attendees, but have been slowly learning about who Jesus is and what he had done for them.

But even still in this small village with yards full of mud, cold air streaming through the old windows, and kitchens warmed with sticks God is present. He has not forgotten these people and through is divine goodness has orchestrated his loving kindness with blessings even in a place blessings are hard to come by. He is willing to meet them where they are at, and show them he is a personal God who loves them individually. He has been calling harvesters to Hope Church and slowly they are coming with the E2E program leading the way. 

 The region of Oltenia is known to be a place where people rarely return to God. However there are individuals who God calls despite what’s culturally normal. Alex is one of the young man who despite the odds came to know God in a personal way. In the autumn of 2017, Alex was a young believer out of the village Comani. He had been invited by the church, attended and then started being assisted in his spiritual life and his social life. Alex grew up in a troubled family, with a mother who abandoned him at the age of twelve and a father who suffered from serious drinking problems. Being constrained to leave his family home, he was brought by the local City Hall in Draganesti-Olt into my office and I was asked to take custody of him. Sixteen years earlier I was approached in a similar experience by a women unable to take care of her son, another boy named Alex.

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The decision I made so many years before had changed forever the young man’s life. As the Mayor stood asking for him I was compelled to once again step forward and allow God to change yet another life.

A month after he came into my care he knelt in his room alone and opened his heart to Jesus Christ.

The week before we had taken him on a trip to Craiova to present the gospel, this opened him up to search his soul and started him down the path to repentance.

Since then I have seen a heart that wants to serve God and others.

 

What however has impressed me the most is his willingness to maintain himself even though he is in 10th grade. He doesn’t complain about his family situation, even though most in his situation would. Please pray that he continues to grown in a life filled with Christ.


 If you want to support us you can make a donation HERE .

Important: To donate for Costea Raul select 24207 from the donation form. To donate for Mission select 24203 from the donation form.

November / December Updates

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful

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He, Christ, is the reason for our ministry.The redeeming glory of Jesus in the hearts of the Oltenian people is why we celebrate. This is what motivates our hearts and souls in this season. Ending 2017 brought many accomplishments on the field. Through the missionary lead events we were able to glorify God. As some of you know I already started the church gatherings in Craiova, Friday nights and Sunday mornings.We choose a strategic location near the mall located in the center of Craiova. People that started to join us in these gatherings.A former engineer said at one point, he wants to be present for each meeting That we hold in Craiova. In another situation I saw how the Holy Spirit moved in a young mans life when he received an invitation pf faith. Although he is a declared atheist he woke up Sunday morning at 5 o'clock because he felt an inner impulse this lead him to come to our meeting that morning at 10 am. Together with the organization "Adventures in Mission" and "First Baptist Jonesboro” in November and December, we were able to be involved in various missionary projects evangelizing and church planting in the Olt and Dolj counties. We blessed and served poor people and visited young adults in prison. we know God was exalted because there was hope spoken into the hearts of men. The gospel was preached to hundreds of people during this time of year. I have seen people who have decided to follow Christ as well as christians were built up in truth. Another way we were able to bless the community was through offering hundreds of gifts from Samaritan's Purse to the children proclaiming the birth of our Savior Jesus Crist. Prayer request: Wisdom in launching the program "Equip to be Equipped" it is a program for those who want to be missionaries. Prayer for people from Craiova to come to know Christ Resources for missionaries and for the base that is already in Craiova Spiritual and physical protection for my family Many times pictures show more than words! So more than my words can express, here are some pictures from the last weeks of ministry. We wish you blessed holidays!

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