I know that many people who come on short-term trips, give up their vacation time and pay lots of money to come to serve in ministry, even if it is only for a few days. They leave their loved ones to focus on the lives of those they do not know. Is it worth it? Of course, because they are following Jesus Christ when He said, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19:29)
I want to thank all of you who have followed Jesus' calling and have served alongside of us in planting the church in Craiova. I also want to thank all of you who want to come in the future. I want to tell you that these people are dedicated and even if they have a job in the States, they decide to come in ministry to encourage us through love and understanding, in our hardships that we go through day by day, but also to work hand-in-hand in our daily ministry. They want to see souls saved and for new relationships built, so that we can have follow-up with these new contacts. Is this still worth it? Again, I say, of course it is. The Bible tells us in Luke 15:7 that the greatest joy in this world is when someone decides to follow Jesus.
I want to introduce you to the first church (Hillside) team that came to serve specifically in Craiova. This church periodically prays for us, and they have also decided to come alongside us in ministry. Every day, they were busy with different activities from morning to night, including evangelism, home visits with food bags, New Testament project, Roma ministry, prayer, encouraging churches and a socialization event with non-believers.
Beckham is a 16-year-old Roma teenager that lives with a 21-year-old girl and a mother who is sick with cancer. They are all living in one room in a poor Roma community. Two men, Robert and Russ, along with me went on a home visit to this family. We prayed for the mother, while Beckham arrived at home, after which we talked with them about the Lord. Beckham told us that he didn't have sin in his life, but he was convinced later by the Holy Spirit after the discussion that he had been living in sin (stealing and beating others). After an even longer conversation, he received Christ in his life and said that he no longer wanted to beat others or steal. Again, I say is it worth it to be in ministry? I say YES! If it weren't for this team, Beckham would not have been convinced of his sinful lifestyle.
This same month, we had another team from California come and work alongside us for a week. We were able to host another social event where we invited non-believers to come for dinner and we shared Jesus through the conversations that were happening at the tables. Pastor Andrew loves to teach the word and so we held a 2-day conference for the pastors and missionaries in our network. He used the Word of God to encourage and equip everyone there. It was very powerful. On their last day here, we held an eye glass ministry event which was very impactful to the community. Over 50 people came to get their blood pressure and blood sugar checked, received prayer and a free pair of reading eyeglasses. They were also given a New Testament as they left.
What a blessing it was to have these 2 teams here in August and what an impact they made in the community of Craiova!
Raul and Ana Costea