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,
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.
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.
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:
- 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!
- Encouragement/Mentorship: Our missionaries here need people who are willing to invest in their spiritual and emotional lives
- Mobilization: We need people who will come and bring or send us physical partners throughout the year
- Promotion: We need people to help spread the word of what God is doing here and what we need partnerships in
- 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
A truth highlighted by Jesus in His time, but also in our time, is the need for workers. We need workers for the harvest in Oltenia. As perhaps you’ve seen from previous newsletters, my focus is on training local workers and recruiting those called by God to serve here.
For this purpose, we went on a two week trip to America. While there we had the opportunity to visit Krista Hetsler, a young woman seeking to come full time to Romania. Upon our return home, we spent the second half of the month working with the new team and mission outreach to Craiova and also with some short term teams.
Please pray for me as coordinator and for the team with whom I work. Here is a little bit about our team:
Lucian finished seminary in Bucharest. He then was pastoring for three years. After two years of pastoring at one of the village churches, he was feeling discouraged and needed to leave the area. He came and shared his heart with me. I then told him that to be healed from his disappointment he could help at Hope Church for two months before he stepped into a new potential engagement. After that time he felt the Lord calling him to dedicate at least a year to working alongside me in Craiova and then possibly extend into long term with us.
Lidia came as a translator, the Lord started working in her heart and now feels the Lord calling her to be a part of the team that starts a mission base and church in Craiova. Her main job will be starting a discipleship group for young ladies.
George came to Christ in Draganesti, he was growing in the small group as a church member. Three years ago he became part of 9000 souls and grew in developing his skills in English, translating, leadership and discipling. A few months ago he felt the Lord leading him to participate in the team to establish a church in Craiova.
Adrian & Dana moved from the north side of Romania. They decided to follow the Lord and grow spiritually. They felt the call to work with the students in Craiova while being a part of the team establishing the mission base there.
I know you always do that, so thank you for your effort.
God's grace and peace be with you!
As most of you know, I have two major jobs. One, to coordinate Hope Church ministry in the southern part of Romania and the Balkans Countries, and the other being a national director for P.I.E.I. organization, which brings me the responsibility to facilitate equipping teams for our missionaries that are in this organization both in the North and South side of Romania. For the first time since I have had these two jobs, I was able to host a squad with more than 35 people in the South and over 40 people in the North. Having about 80 people to administrate in ministry was not an easy job because of the six hour distance between the North and South as both of these jobs require my coordination and assistance. As a result of the work in the month of September, God brought us hundreds of testimonies of how Christ was exposed from passing Bibles out, children's ministry, street evangelism and much more. My words cannot describe the sufficiency of grace we were given this month seeing so many blessings. That is what I am praising God for - the souls that were open to follow Christ and those that were edified in Christ.
One unique moment that continues to come to mind was the situation when one of the translators for the Americans, Ely Serban, (who was involved in ministry on
the North side), had just heard that her father died instantly in a car accident. For those who do not know Ely, she is a young member in our church, and years ago she came into my office saying she did not believe God could bless her and be with her. She did not want to finish school, but in that day I had a conversation with her that totally changed her path. She repented, committed to school, was unofficially adopted by a church member, and is in her last year at university. But the day she was involved in ministry and heard that bad news, her three sisters were in the same place at a Christian conference. The youngest sister decided to follow Christ, and ten minutes later, she heard her father died. That moment was so touching to me. I saw the association between the life of Christ being accepted by the girl and the death of her father that is caused by sin in the same family. In a small church like ours, this kind of event would affect the entire church, and because her father belonged to an Orthodox church, we did not organize the funeral. In the midst of the grief, I was able to praise the Lord because we mobilized our church members to be at the funeral, surrounding the girls and covering them with love and prayer. Nonbelievers at the funeral came to us and wanted to become more like us because they saw the love and care we extended to the girls. One of our missionary families has decided to take in the girls into their home so they may be protected.
Dear friends, brothers, sisters, and precious partners of our ministry, your words of encouragement, prayer, and financial support helped God’s kingdom to be spread even though we went through difficult times. September was again, another month where we were able to restore God's glory in Romania.
The month of August has been “the month of divine appointments”. I say so because several times throughout August, the Holy Spirit presented us with both spontaneous divine appointments as well as the opportunity to facilitate interactions with various people. Here are three of those special appointments. Starting at the beginning of the month we knew that we would have over 100 Americans engaging with our ministry throughout different projects. However, I wanted them to first and foremost be connected with our current missionaries. We began by setting up intentional meetings with various missionaries. As a result, a few of the families formed a relationship with our missionaries and have joined their support team! I especially want to lift up the story of Brinceanu Lucian. Brinceanu is a new recruit in our Craiovan ministry. Through a series of blessings, he was able to begin ministry and was only lacking steady supporters. In interacting with the visiting families, Brinceanu was blessed and appointed with a family that has decided to support him! The Lord amazed me with how perfect his timing was in Brinceanu’s case.
The second divine appointment was a little more spontaneous. In Romania the name Raul is not common. I met a young boy in the street who came to me and, because his name was Raul, it drew my attention.
I started sharing the Gospel with him. In the beginning he was not able to understand the purpose of Christ coming. At the end he prayed with me to invite Christ into his life. He asked for a Bible as well. We were able to provide him with his first one.
Later, in downtown Craiova a man came to me and asked, "who are these guys?" (He was referring to the 140 people with PVT and translators.) I introduced him to one of our racers without knowing anything about the man who asked for conversation. Later on, when I stepped in to translate I found out that he was half Chinese half Iranian. He has been living in Craiova for thirty years now and is a Muslim. The racer I had asked came from a Muslim family as well. He was able to share the Gospel in a relevant way that really impacted this man. At the end of our conversation he asked for prayer. He said, "I have pain in my body". In front of my eyes I saw a Muslim asking for a Christian to pray over him. He said, "maybe your Jesus can heal me". After our prayer he begged me to exchange phone numbers and said he really wants a follow up of our conversation.
This is why I call them divine appointments.
Being in the right place, at the right time, meeting the right people, for a Godly purpose. I call these divine appointments. In the Bible you see big crowds coming to Jesus but sometimes you see a single person like in Acts chapter 8. In the story of Philip and Ethiopian official coming to the knowledge of Christ because of divine appointments.
I have no words to describe the importance of your prayers so that these types of divine appointments will take place in our ministry. Through them we will be able to glorify God and see people coming to know Christ.
Thank you for being our partners!
In Romania, we have a saying where we call the month of July the "oven month." This year certainly held true to it's name as most days the temperature was hitting 100 degrees. However, this was not the only fire we were walking through. In July alone, Hope Church hosted missions teams from Texas, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and a Passport team through Adventures in Missions. Together we were able to execute our vision for spreading the Gospel in southern Romania. As we partner with the Lord in His work, spiritual warfare is a reality, but in the power of Jesus' name, we can walk through the fire and we will not be overcome. I am spurred on by knowing that over 3,000 people were exposed to the Gospel during July through kid's programs, street evangelism, and revival services. Thank you to the teams who came to share hope with the people of this region.
Last month, we also held an event in Corabia, one of our satellite ministries, where I had the chance to preach the Gospel. I has previously met a woman in this town who taught Biology at a high school and was wrapped up in a heavy evolutionist environment. She claimed to me, "God cannot exist." Yet she came to the event, and when the service ended, she came to me and was suddenly much more open. The woman explained that she was very touched and had experienced for the first time the power of the Word of God as it pierced her soul. For me, that night powerfully put on display the truth that the Sword of God is more powerful than the sword of Darwin. The Gospel is more powerful than evolution. We carry this Good News, this truth within us, and it is our call and our joy to share it.
I am happy to share that we are currently recruiting another long term missionary named Lucian Brinceanu. Part of my role in this process is to help Lucian identify his calling. Please pray for him as he seeks the Lord and decides if Craiova is the right spot for him to continue ministry. Also, pray for me as I search for partners to support him while he is a part of our 9,000 Souls project.
July was a joyful moment in our family. Sammi finished high school very well and has been accepted by two universities in Bucharest. In the fall, he will begin studying theology at a seminary school along with social work at another university. I know that many of you prayed for Sammi in this. I want to welcome you to share in the gratitude and joy it brings our family. You and I are together in mission, but I want you to know that you are a part of our family as well. I praise God that we get to enjoy this life together!
In this past month, we had the privilege of hosting another Parent Vision Trip (PVT), where the parents come to do ministry alongside the World Race. While they were here, over 4,000 people were reached with the Gospel through the New Testament project in Craiova and evangelism in the streets. Just as Romans 15:21 says, “Rather, as it is written: ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’” Also, PVT helped to facilitate a children’s event. The children’s coordinator, Dorothy, organizes an event once a year where around 200 children from each children ministry in Olt County are brought together to learn about Jesus. We praise God for the opportunity to share the Gospel with so many who are lost and hopeless.
Isaiah 53:11 says, “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous and he shall bear their iniquities.” Even for Jesus, there were not results without hard work. For us, the work is similar to the work Jesus had: to see many people “accounted righteous.” When we pray, evangelize, and equip, it is all for this goal. In the month of May, we have seen evidence of this through the testimonies of the six who were baptized.
" He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:46-47
"...Go into all the world and preach
the Gospel to every creature" Mark
16:15. This is a command I received
from the Lord and I applied it through
the "New Testament for Every House"
It is always a challenge for me to write a ministry update because I have to combine routine ministry activities with the spontaneous activities and events that occur each month.
“...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephs 5:20
This month we had the opportunity to
serve our Lord and Saviour in different
ways. With a group of believers from
First Baptist church, Jonesboreo, I
visited several needy families to whom
we presented the Gospel and also gave
them food bags.