There have been four important events during the last century in Romania.
Living in a post-communist country which is in transition brings its challenges and frustrations. Things are constantly changing and new laws are being introduced. As the Lords servants we must bow to Gods sovereignty and "serve our own generation", seeking to teach and equip believers to continue in assembly testimony. Prayer is requested that a new generation of workers will be raised up throughout Romania to preach the gospel, plant new assemblies, and teach the Word of God. "We are labourers together with God" (1 Cor 3.9).
Romania, with a decreasing population of 21m, has experienced major social, political, economic, demographic, and spiritual changes. Despite the dominance of the Romanian Orthodox Church, assemblies have trebled since the dramatic Revolution of December, 1989, for which we give much thanks to the Lord, although "there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed" (Josh 13.1). Please pray for the sacrificial labours of Romanian evangelists working in pioneer situations, seeking to plant new assemblies in Romania and the Republic of Moldova (cp. Rom 15.20). Generally speaking, these assemblies are stronger in evangelism and weaker in Bible teaching. The great need is for systematic Bible instruction and this is my main ministry, working alongside elders in local assemblies. Good numbers of people from a variety of backgrounds continue to respond to the gospel, including some priests who have been "obedient to the faith" (Acts 6.7). They then obey the Scriptures by being baptised by immersion. It is most encouraging to hear of, and to visit, newly planted assemblies in different areas. To God be the glory, great things He has done and continues to do.
A number of years ago a fellow believer set up a website for us called, "Search the Scriptures". Many visitors from different countries have accessed the website and we have received requests for Bible courses and Christian literature. It also provides gospel and sound Bible teaching material.
In 1998 we began a Bible correspondence course work for people wanting to study the Scriptures. The work now covers Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and the Ukraine. New people register weekly. Hundreds of prisoners in over 30 prisons throughout Romania are studying the Scriptures using these courses. Some of them have been saved. Please pray for more conversions. We also supply study courses to a brother in Central Romania who is doing a similar work amongst prisoners; he has placed these courses in 13 prison libraries. Please pray that the Lord will use these books and courses for the spiritual edification of His people and the salvation of the lost. The courses continue to be used in different counties as a basis for consecutive Bible studies in assemblies and Bible classes. We have 32 Bible study courses printed and we pray they will continue to be a source of spiritual blessing, challenge and encouragement to all who use them.
From the outset of our involvement in the Lords work in Eastern Europe we were exercised about translating and printing good Bible teaching material. We are grateful for the Lords provision, and over 300,000 books have been printed. Childrens books with a simple gospel message have been distributed into hospitals, schools, orphanages, and assemblies. Booklets for young people, the 12 booklets in the Family Series by John Grant, and Bible study courses have been widely distributed. Please pray for the expansion of this work.
We would greatly value prayer for a major translation and printing project of consecutive Bible lessons for children, teenagers, and adults. When completed, this material will be an excellent help from a gospel and Bible teaching point of view and will meet a real need here in Romania. We believe it to be an excellent spiritual investment.
Opportunities for Bible teaching and gospel preaching abound. The needs are varied and as older, faithful brothers and sisters are called home new workers are needed and are being raised up to continue the Lords work. Assemblies are seeing blessing in the gospel especially through personal evangelism. Baptism follows salvation, and over the years we have witnessed hundreds of believers being baptised by immersion. These special occasions provide excellent opportunities in the gospel and the halls are always packed with both believers and unbelievers. The most memorable occasion was when 33 believers were baptised in the river Siret in Marasesti. The local authorities are amazed at their change of life-style, a real evidence of the power of the gospel.
During the last ten years I have been involved in systematic Bible studies on Saturdays in Ploiesti, Bacau, Vaslui, Brasov, Deva and Sighet. The most encouraging have been in Bacau (70 believers attend), and in Ploiesti (100 believers attend two Saturdays each month). These consecutive Bible studies run for eight months.
Bible studies have commenced in different areas for older and younger brethren in order to ground them in divine truth, as they are the future of assembly work and testimony. Pray for spiritual dividends as we invest in the younger generation, teaching them principles from the Word of God and guiding and encouraging them in the Lords work. During the week, regular visits for ministry are made to assemblies in our local area and in the county of Prahova and further afield. One is reminded more and more that Bible teaching is long term not short term and there are no short-cuts.
It is interesting to see how the Lord of the harvest is preparing His workers for future service in Romanian assemblies. We give thanks to the Lord that by His grace we are a small link in this chain.
We are also seeking to encourage those working with children and young people. Opportunities abound in towns and villages for a weekly meeting amongst children and teenagers. Two Christian infant schools (in Codlea and Strejnic) have brought opportunities to build bridges in the local community and as a result families have come to assembly meetings. Laying a spiritual base in the lives of young children is very important. The building in Strejnic, which houses the infant school, plus four rooms for the Sunday School and other spiritual activities, has been well used. During the summer the childrens work in the village has seen hundreds of children attending a special week of meetings.
In closing, we thank readers for their prayer support and interest in and care for ourselves and the Lords work and workers in Romania.