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
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.