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Reports from Romania

Over the summer period folk from Highland churches made trips to Romania to visit work going on there in both pastoral and outreach settings. Kenny Cormack travelled to Bistrita in connection with the Luis Palau Association mission there, and a group from Kinmylies Church (Inverness) visited Dave and Joy Spriggs in Cluj-Napoca.



Romania


Report from Kenny Cormack who travelled to work with the Luis Palau Association in Bistrita

Report from George and Elizabeth Barnie (part of the Kinmylies team which visited Cluj-Napoca

Report from Dave and Joy Spriggs who have been working in Cluj-Napoca for several years.



LPA Mission to Bistrita, Romania




Ed preface: The trip which Kenny Cormack made was as a direct result of his involvement with the team from the Luis Palau Association's 'Highland Festival' in June 2009. It seems that 'lorries' were part of the 'excitement' of the 4000-mile round trip. There is a possibility that this visit, which took him close to Dracula's Castle, could lead to others in the future.
 

Kenny reports:

 
I attended the main Luis Palau Highland Festival events in Inverness with my wife and family on the Friday night and all day Saturday (June 19th & 20th) along with 1000s of others from around the Highlands. I was delighted to see so many people respond to Christ at the festival. It was an excellent weekend with top Christian bands such as Hillsong and Delirious leading worship and it was great to hear Luis Palau share The Good News with so many people. Thanks must go to all who worked so hard for these events and who seized this opportunity to spread the Gospel in this remote and beautiful part of Scotland. [Ed note: pick up Kenny's report and reflections here.]

Afterwards I was invited by John Grant who is the Luis Palau Association (LPA) Mission Director for Eastern Europe to attend an outreach weekend with him in Romania during September of this year. I had worked with John in Caithness on one of the various smaller festivals that were taking place around the Highlands.

Scotland to RomaniaI’ve recently returned from this 4000 mile round trip which began with a 3.5 hour bus trip from Wick to Inverness. A lorry stuck on the Berridale Brae hairpin bend, could have caused me to miss my flight, but thankfully it eventually managed to free itself. I then had an EasyJet flight from Inverness to Luton, a Wizz Air flight from Luton to Cluj in Romania and a 2 hour drive to the Transylvanian town of Bistrita (pronounced Bristritza). Within an hour of landing in Romania, we had a close encounter with eternity when a lorry we were overtaking decided to pull out in front of us, but for the grace of God and the quick reactions of our driver we managed to avoid a serious accident. We eventually arrived at the hotel 'Mya' where we were staying and holding most of the outreach events.

Bistrita has a population of 86,000 and is located in the Transylvanian region of northern Romania. The north of Romania is more affluent and prosperous than the south.

With me during the weekend were John Grant, English evangelist Fane Conant and LPA Missions Facilitator for North West Romania, Daniel Rus. The weekend had 6 affinity meal events planned for different groups consisting of students, ladies, teachers, teenagers, doctors / nurses and finally business and civic leaders.

The planning of these events had begun 6 months ago when John Grant met with local evangelical church leaders, which in Bistrita consisted of 7 Pentecostal and 4 Baptist churches. One of the Pentecostal churches had a membership of 1200 and another had 600.

Evangelicals viewed with suspicion and seen as 'traitors'

While the majority of Romanians would call themselves Orthodox Christians, as it is the national church, few would know about a personal experience of salvation and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Evangelical Christians (such as Pentecostals and Baptists) are often viewed with some suspicion, and to leave the Orthodox Church can in some circumstances be seen as being a traitor to Romania.

The meal events all followed a similar format of Christians bringing their invited non Christian guests along to the hotel restaurant where they were made to feel very welcome. During the meal we were blessed with some great local singers and musicians. Sometimes a testimony was shared.
After the meal, evangelist Fane Conant would passionately share The Good News message and clearly explain the way of salvation. He would also mention that although it is best way to live, it can sometimes be difficult to ‘go against the flow’ in this world. After the message Fane would ask people to respond to Jesus Christ and lead them in a prayer asking for salvation.
People were encouraged to then fill in a response sheet where they could be contacted for future help. They were given details of a ‘Next Steps’ meeting where they could go with their friend that invited them to learn more about the Christian faith in a similar relaxed, friendly and non formal environment.

These meal events are not new, as from the Gospels we see that Jesus conducted much of his teaching and ministry over a meal with friends and guests. Alpha courses have proved very successful over the past 20 years and are conducted in a similar environment.

Over the weekend 600 attended the 6 meal events, over half were non Christians and 170 gave their life to Jesus Christ for the first time. A big thanks must go to the translator Oli Oniga who did an excellent job over the weekend and was even able to understand my Caithness accent (most of the time) when I gave my testimony and preached.

A great feeling of liberty

On the Sunday morning the team attended ‘Betesda Pentecostal Church’ which meet in an old factory office block. There were about 150 (mostly young people), in attendance led by visionary Pastor Stephan Buhai. There was a great feeling of liberty within the congregation and the worship was enhanced by a variety of singers and musicians who had taken part over the weekend.

John Grant took part in the service and proved to be a very able preacher himself. Daniel Rus spoke briefly about one of his ministries called ‘100% for Christ’. This ministry is aimed at encouraging young people who’ve been brought up in church to have a personal faith and their own experience of Christ. As the title says it encourages them to live 100% for Christ and not to compromise with sin.

I then shared God’s word from Matthew 9:35-38 where Christ desires that more labourers would be willing to go and work to bring in his harvest. I encouraged them to step out in faith and to clearly communicate the Gospel to today’s generation in a relevant way.

At the business and civic leader meal on Sunday afternoon, the Bistrita Mayor turned up along with a Mayor from another town and also 2 Senators. The Mayor spoke very favourably afterwards about the event. There was a high response rate from this group that gave their life to Christ which was one of the highlights of the weekend.

On the Sunday evening the team took part in the final church rally held in ‘Emanuel Pentecostal Church’. It was a large church with about 750 in attendance. The atmosphere was more formal than the morning service. Fane delivered a very challenging message on the need of local Christians to follow up and nurture those who’ve given their life to Christ over the weekend.

"We need these people to come over to the UK"

It was a great weekend and I met many wonderful Romanian Christians fully committed to Christ. At times I thought, ‘What am I doing here? We need these people to come over to the UK and evangelise our country. There’s more life in these churches than in our own'.

We heard lots of local talented singers and musicians. I was able to sing along sometimes when I recognised songs from Matt Redman, Hillsong and Delirious. One of the after dinner talks by the evangelist was filmed and will be shown on one of the Romanian television channels

The LPA have been running these affinity events in Eastern Europe for a number of years and they’ve proved to be very successful in helping people find Christ as Saviour.

I was amazed at the hard work, commitment and personal financial cost of those involved in organising this mission. One wonders if they had more support in the UK, how many more missions could be funded in Eastern Europe and how many more could be won for Christ. They already have various missions planned to Romania and Moldova for this and next year. From my personal experience I would say that the LPA is able to effectively reach people in Eastern Europe with this method of evangelism.

It was a great weekend, John, Daniel and Fane were great company and I met many wonderful Romanian Christians. It was great to see God work in so many lives. I hope to go on another trip to Eastern Europe with the Luis Palau Association in the new year.

Kenny Cormack
Wick & Keiss Baptist Church


Romanian Collage

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Kinmylies Church visit to Cluj-Napoca


Ed preface: A group of six from Kinmylies Church (Inverness) went out to visit the work being done in Cluj-Napoca by Dave and Joy Spriggs. The group which went out in August 2009 consisted of (Rev.) Peter and Kathleen Humphris, George and Elizabeth Barnie and Chris and Janice Angwin.

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George and Elizabeth Barnie report:


SIX of us from Kinmylies Church set off in early October to Romania to be David and Joy's first ever mission team. It was with fear and trepidation and really not knowing what was to be expected of us that we arrived in Cluj to be warmly greeted by the Spriggs.

We stayed in the Daniel Centre set up by Blythswood. They have a bed and breakfast part along with premises to accommodate nine boys in their teens and twenties. These boys come from difficult backgrounds and there is a 3 year programme to rehabilitate them into society. The boys made two excellent meals for the team and sang Christian songs for us in Romanian and English, joy evident on their faces.

We visited Joy and David's church where 150 mostly younger people sang and worshipped God. The service lasted two and a half hours and we learned how this church had grown rapidly in the last 5 years from just a handful of people. The teaching was excellent.
We visited a gypsy church at night and our group took part in the service singing
'The Lord's my Shepherd.' David preached in Romanian and Peter Humphris, one of the team, preached about the shepherd knowing his sheep. One of the Spriggs' adopted sons ,Alfred , translated - incredible as he's not a Christian.

We saw many amazing things from squalid flats to gleaming new shopping malls. Romania is still recovering from Ceauseseu's rule. We visited disabled people who are really being stimulated in a day centre, a children's home and a Bible study for young people held at the Spriggs' home where Joy cooks a 3 course meal for about 15 people every week.
The Spriggs say that people are open and there are more opportunities to share their faith than in the U.K.

It was a privilege for us to shadow missionaries for a week. It gave us tremendous insight into their lives and demands. It was a challenge to see how they have responded to the Lord and how well-suited they are to what God has called them to do. It is so encouraging to see that despite the awful time this country has had the Lord is building His church.

George and Elizabeth Barnie
Kinmylies Church, Inverness


Dave and Joy Spriggs Prayer/Newsletter


Dave and Joy SpriggsEd preface: Dave and Joy Spriggs (from Inverness) have been working in Romania  since July 2004 and are in partnership with Blythswood Christian Care and Operation Timothy, working in Cluj-Napoca - the capital of Transylvania.

Operation Timothy is an orphan student support project.



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Dave and Joy report:


PRAISE GOD for His love and patience with us. We have had a very exciting and interesting month.

It was wonderful having Peter, Kathleen, George, Elizabeth, Chris and Janice here from Kinmylies for 6 days in which they taught English, helped with music and dance lessons for Downs Syndrome adults, spent an evening playing English word games with boys from the Daniel Centre, played with the children at the Usa Sperantei Children's Home in Blaj, visited Bogdan and other the students at the Christ for All Nations Bible School here in Cluj, went 'Go Carting' with Alfred, did an assessment for a blind, mute and partially deaf boy that Mihai helps to look after, visited the Turda salt mines, walked through the Cheie Turzi gorge, spoke at our house group, preached in the Pentecostal Gypsy Church in Floresti, scoured through the huge Marasti market, drank lots of coffee and ate sticky cakes. They experienced too Romania's special weather... 26 C and beautiful sunshine on Monday.... -3 C with snow on Wednesday. We are praying for their recovery!

A special word of thanks must go to Alfred who gave up a week to drive the folk around. Winter has arrived very early this year - central heating was switched on in our block of flats on 15th October as it is every year, whatever the weather. It will stay till 15th March, again whatever the weather. This is a throwback from the Communist system when everything was regulated, and dates were fixed and inflexible.

There are still so many reminders of Romania's dark past. For example because Bogdan is an orphan he will have to go back to his home town to register his existence every November. He cannot do it by post or electronically or in the Cluj office - he will have to make the 13 hour train journey to and from Ortenia for an official stamp on his form that will take 5 minutes, which he has to obtain in person otherwise his meagre pension of £41 per month will cease.

Dave and Joy1Meanwhile Mihai on his crutches and with his medical apparatus still attached to his leg has to make 10 bus journeys to and from the hospital, his work place, his family doctor, the Health Ministry and a specially designated post office every third Monday in the month to obtain his sickness benefit of £65 per month.
He even has to do this if he is in hospital - the hospital provide him with an extra warm dressing gown for a day out of the hospital. If he is too ill or in the operating theatre on that 3rd Monday he loses his benefit for that month.

Alfred has a similar trek between various offices and ministries, every Wednesday in order to keep receiving his redundancy pay of £62 per month. He however has managed to obtain a month of labouring work beginning tomorrow but it will only pay him £39 for the month, and next week he has a more permanent job interview.

We are ready for the winter - Joy has over 120 Kilner jars filled with bottled, pickled, jammed and preserved everything, and a friend gave us a 50lb barrel full of salted and pickled vegetables!!

I noticed that the street stalls that last week filled the air with the smell of freshly cooked pop corn today filled the air with the smell of roast chestnuts. Everywhere gypsies are selling bags of wallnuts for storing or pickling. Fruit and nuts are simply here for the picking by the roadside, and in the hundreds of abandoned orchards - abandoned by decree of Ceaucescu who wanted an industrial not a agricultural society.  A neighbour recently picked 100 kg (220lb) apples free by the roadside for bottling.

News just in and requiring much prayer is that the Mayor has responded very positively to the request for the old cinema in Marasti to be changed into a church/centre for the disabled.
He and other councillors have asked if they can come to our church next Sunday or the Sunday after for the service and to meet us afterwards. We have been collecting an offering for the town council for some time to use on any charity they wish so we will present it to them when they are with us.

Please pray this is a very special privilege for us and an opportunity to share with the leaders of our city that Jesus is Lord Our thanks to you all so much for your prayers and support. We are very busy at the moment but we are well aware that we are living in times when God is moving.

May God's presence fill you with joy and peace. In Jesus,

David and Joy Spriggs,
(plus our ever growing family)
 
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Ed footnote:  Dave and Joy send out regular news/prayer letters regarding their work in Romania. You can see some of their earlier reports here.

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Various, 15/11/2009

Feedback:
Dudley & Jenny Powell (Guest) 30/04/2011 21:45
Good to read about what you are doing in romania after so many years. We knew you in Bristol back in the 1960's The Lord bless you Dave & Joy.
atamusicstudio (Guest) 16/02/2015 14:02
Realizez albume de muzica crestina ! Compozitii,negative,inregistrari voce,mixaj,masterizare,reorchestrare albume existente.Detalii pe yahoo messenger ID atamusicstudio
(Guest) 16/02/2015 15:56
"Christian bands such as Delirious leading worship"?

According to my dictionary delirious means "In an acutely disturbed state of mind characterised by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence; affected by delirium.."

Truly, it makes one wonder?
guest 22 (Guest) 17/02/2015 07:55
Could'nt agree more ! Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.there is something rebellious and self willed in the way these so called christian bands act . Might as well go to a rave concert , there is no difference.
(Guest) 17/02/2015 12:39
rave concert
/
now that's an oxymoron
guest 22 (Guest) 17/02/2015 13:08
Call it whatever fancy name you like, it is still imitating the world , don't think I could see the apostle Paul jumping up and down like a crazy baboon.
(Guest) 17/02/2015 13:32
There are many references to dance in the Bible.
Not so many in Presbyterian Scotland.
But therein lies the problem.

(Guest) 17/02/2015 14:14
I absolutely detest the heretical Pentecostal error in all its forms.
Having said that, I also detest the formalism and ritualism of much that goes on in Reformed circles. The Reformation was and is an on-going move of God, and we should never speak lightly of it, as many do today.

The last Guest is absolutely right!
"Saul's daughter looked through a window and saw David LEAPING and DANCING before the Lord." 2 Samuel 6.16.

I am not a dry and dusty old Calvinist! But as for the theology in the above article and that Hillsong/Delirious non worship, it is but of the world.


(Guest) 17/02/2015 15:41
I am sure David wasn't mimicking a "crazy baboon"!
Although he did once feign madness and act like one in 1 Samuel 21.13!
The New Testament is however replete with admonitions to be of a "good behaviour","sound mind", "sober" etc.
(Guest) 17/02/2015 16:00
The Guest who Quoted 2 Samuel.
Thankyou.
You are truly not a dry Calvinist.
The Reformation is an ongoing activity.
As indeed the world is an ongoing and an outworking.
The wonder of the cross is not something that should be admired from a sedentary position - it is something that should evoke emotion, joy etc.
If it doesn't evoke that emotion then it is of no consequence to us.

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Archive > Around the Region > Wider News > Reports from Romania