Eastern Europe is presently under a great deal of political turmoil as countries that were formerly under the hegemony of the now-dissolved U.S.S.R. attempt to join the European Union. Two of these countries in particular are also the mission field of many HeartCry missionaries – Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Both countries are going through intense trials, but the situation in Ukraine is particularly severe. Riots in the streets have led to hundreds of casualties. The country is now split into two parts, both politically and ethnically. The conflict is deeper than can be seen or understood on the news. There are spiritual powers behind the dictators and their imperialist desires. But despite this turmoil, the Gospel is being preached, and the Kingdom is growing.
While the strife and uncertainty grows in Ukraine and Moldova, the ministry in Romania is passing through a time of refreshing. This is a direct result of the renewed commitment to prayer and fasting in most of the HeartCry churches and missions. This greater concern for seeking God’s face has led to an increase in conversions, and more baptisms are being reported by our missionaries in Brasov, Pucioasa, Fieni, and Bucharest. The Gospel is preached on the street, in schools, in kindergartens, in factories, and in homes. Some prayer groups have also been established in new communities such as Pietrosita, Mihailest, Nufarul, and Casota. In the future, Lord willing, these groups will become starting points for new churches.
First Quarter 2014 Missionary Report
The beginning of 2014 brought a fresh move of God’s Spirit over the missionaries and their ministry in Eastern Europe. Renewed commitments, prayer weeks, fasting days, planning, and praying for this new year have been the norm at every mission point that is under the HeartCry banner. This time of seeking God’s face quickly resulted in fruit. A significant number of people were converted in January, and as a result, several missions had baptisms in February or March.
We are glad to report that several homeless people from the streets have been converted. This outreach is coordinated by Adi Martin, a man with a real heart for the destitute people of our city. The weekly Sunday night meeting brings 15-20 homeless together for a cooked meal and the preaching of the Gospel. Out of this number, eight of them have been sent to rehab centers, and three have professed faith in Christ – Liviu was baptized several months ago, and Gica and Dorin were baptized in March. The student ministry in Brasov is also bearing fruit. A student who was saved at the end of last year has asked to be baptized. We are also glad to announce that we have begun an internship program with six men from our church who are pursuing ministry. The program is going to last two to three years and will provide theological training and exposure to ministry.
Costel Gheoanca has just completed one year working in our new church plant in the capital city of Romania. His ministry has been evaluated and approved for another year. He is currently preaching through a series of sermons on the identity of a biblical church and teaching a small group class using Charles Leiter’s book Justification and Regeneration.
Nicu Vulpe is reporting healthy progress in his ministry. The outreach activities during Christmas and the New Year brought together several hundred people to hear the Gospel, and the fruit is clearly visible. The Gospel touched a number of families and individuals. Many testify of a deep work of God in their lives. A lady named Monica was recently converted and freed from her drinking addiction. She will soon be baptized.
Florin Stan and Marian Bicajan continue to visit the many families in Fieni who were exposed to the Gospel during the annual Christmas banquet. Two people are being prepared for baptism. The mission in nearby Petrosita also continues reaching out to children and families.
Danut Opris and George Serban continue to reach out to new families in the villages of Coteana and Stoienesti. We have just appointed George as the new missions coordinator for the entire area. It is a post that was previously held by Raul Costea, who will be stepping down in order to return to the pastoral ministry in the Draganesti area.
Danube Delta, Romania
The work of Florin Galateanu in the Danube Delta area is moving slowly. The church in Mahmudia has been hindered in its outreach to others by the bad testimony of some who attend there. In spite of this conflict, Florin continues to visit some families in the village of Nufarul, where there seems to be an open door for the Gospel. Florin also traveled by boat to reach some isolated and destitute families living in small communities scattered throughout the Delta.
Marian Jipa reports with joy about open doors in two more villages – Mihaiesti and Casota. These openings are a direct result of a time of prayer and fasting in the mother church, which was planted by Jipa!
Ion Gireada continues visiting the families that live within the proximity of his church, and God is granting fruit. One man, who is the husband of a Christian women, invited Ion to preach the Gospel in his house. He invited over fifty of his neighbors, who were mostly Orthodox and Catholics. At the end of the meeting, he declared that he had surrendered his life to Christ and asked to be baptized. His bold confession of faith had a great impact on all who were attending. Brother Sandu Deac continues to be encouraged with the revival and renewal in his area. Surprisingly, more and more people keep coming to the mid-week service. One family is ready for baptism. Brother Ilie Hluscac held a church-wide public prayer meeting during one week in January. The time they spent in prayer refreshed the church and challenged it to be more focused on evangelism. He also visited some churches with an ex-Orthodox priest who had been converted. This man preached in all our HeartCry missions, and his testimony had a powerful impact on the lives of many people. Vitalii Rusnac reported that two people, Vadim and Mariana, were recently converted. At Christmas, they caroled and shared the Gospel with more than fifty unsaved families. Also, a new children's group from non-Christian families has been established in Vitalii's home with the purpose of teaching them the Gospel. Finally, the work of teaching in the Romanian schools in Ukraine continues. Many of our missionaries are now teaching Christian ethics (and the Gospel) in the public schools. They report that the principals of the schools have had a change of heart about Evangelicals and consider them a positive influence among the students.
Anatol Dunas, the coordinator of the team in Cahul City, reports about their outreach to over 120 children from the village of Andrusu. In addition, the Vacation Bible School in Cahul had forty-five children in attendance, and many of these are now attending Sunday School meetings. Ten poor families outside the church were helped with food for six months. This kindness, along with the continuous proclamation of the Gospel, had a tremendous impact upon their lives. After two more outreach events to the youth of the area, several young people seem to have been converted. Anatol and Gelu Ciorna are teaching classes in the public school about sexual abstinence. But the principals from different schools are now asking them to take on even more classes. Nicu Dunas continues to reach out to young people through his sport ministry. He is now training several hundred students in sports, and he preaches to every one of them the truth of the Gospel. Finally, Gelu has passed through a trial of fire. The doctors predicted that his son would die at birth; but the Lord has answered our prayers, and the child is now five months old and continuing to get better.
Igor Seremet coordinates the HeartCry team in Anenii Noi, working alongside other team members Pavel and Natasa. Six months ago, a new church plant started in the village of Harbovat. During January the team held a three-day children’s camp with over seventy children in attendance. This winter has been hard on many people, so the church in Anenii Noi also provided food for ten poor families and wood for seven other families. Sister Natasa no longer has any family members left in Moldova because they all went to Russia or Turkey to look for work. However, she was visited last month by her relatives, and God opened a great door for her to share with them about salvation.
The Gypsy Ministry
Tony Anghel, our missionary in Strehaia City reported to us about how ten buses loaded with Gypsy people left Strehaia for France. This is a common thing now among the Gypsy communities. Many of them are neighbors of the church, and some are even believers. He spent time visiting these families and teaching them to stay close to the Lord wherever they go. The winter was hard here, and some families were afflicted by severe poverty. The church in Strehaia provided food supplies for some families in critical situations.
Sorin Iordan, who ministers in Rosiorii de Vede and Troianu, reports that there is a genuine revival in the church as a result of forty days of prayer and fasting. During this time, he also visited thirty-three families in the two different towns. He reported to us about how the Lord worked in a family that was on the edge of divorce. Like many Gypsy families, the husband left Romania for work in Norway. After a short time, the wife reported to her husband that she also found a good job in Romania. They were making so much money that in a few months they were able to buy an apartment. However, the dream exploded when the husband discovered that his wife was working for a prostitution ring. As a result, he returned to Romania and asked for a divorce. The wife repented of her sin and asked Pastor Sorin Iordan to help save her marriage and two children from divorce. Sorin counseled the family, and by God’s grace, the husband forgave his wife and withdrew the divorce papers from the court. They have both repented and are attending the church faithfully. Praise God!
Brother Moises Marin, our coordinator for the Gypsy ministry was very sick. After spending most of December in the hospital, he was diagnosed with a bad illness. For a while, he was very restricted in his ministry work, but now he is recovered and is back on the field serving his church and the Gypsy missions throughout Romania. He recently shared with me a sad story about a Gypsy woman who was abused physically by her husband because she became a repenter (Christian). Recently, after having been beaten by her husband, she came covered in blood to the church, seeking for help. The brothers intervened. Please pray that God would keep this dear lady and that He would change her husband’s heart.
A ministry of great impact which is supported by HeartCry and coordinated by Brother Moises is the Gypsy School. Hundreds of children from destitute families have attended this school in the past several years. Presently, there are approximately twenty children enrolled in the school, and a new school is about to be opened. HeartCry provides support for the teachers’ salaries and for various supplies.
Marian Nae, the missionary in Glina, has shared with us how Mariata, a recently converted women, opened her house for a Bible study. There are now five families coming to her house! In the village of Frumusani, the work is still advancing. However, they had a huge snow storm that left the town completely cut off for several days, and many Gypsies suffered terribly.
Our missionary Marian Toma serves in the villages of Tunari and Tamasi. He recently shared with me about a very unusual incident at a funeral that led to the preaching of the Gospel. The car that was taking the coffin to the cemetery broke down on the way. When this happened, a group of religious people came and demanded that the body of the deceased person be taken to the Orthodox Church, as the tradition requires. This gave Marian an opportunity to explain to them that the deceased person was a repenter (Christian), who followed the Bible rather than tradition. Around the same time, a brother in the church in Tunari was told by the doctors that he was going to die. As he was dying in the hospital, the church ministered to him, and the door opened for them to minister to and share the Gospel with many of the other sick people who were languishing there. Finally, in Tamasi, a mother was close to losing her life in a miscarriage, but God spared her. She and her husband used to attend church, but they had stopped seeking the Lord. With this trial, they promised to return to the Lord if He would save her life. God was gracious, and they are now back in the church.
Our missionary Marian Vale shared with us that during a recent baptismal service in December, other people were touched by the Gospel. Now he is preparing for another baptismal service! These new converts are from the villages of Pantelimon and Petrecheni. Through them, the church in Frunzanesti has an open door to begin prayer and Bible study groups in these unreached towns. One of the new Christians is named Ica. She opened up her house for such a group, and six other people were saved. This is how the Gospel advances in these Gypsy communities. We can only praise God for His sovereign plan to take the Gospel to all nations, languages, and peoples.
HeartCry missionary Alex Palade held an evangelistic event in Ploiesti; more than fifty unconverted students attended. Similar events were also held on other campuses in the cities of Sibiu, Brasov, Targu-Mures, and Bacau. Ion Tomeci is now discipling a student named Daniel. He is an orphan who came from Bucharest and joined Providence Church in Brasov. Ion often shares with us how difficult it is to help him because he was so badly affected during his years of living in a state orphanage. Ion's wife Ani leads two Bible studies: one with the married ladies and one for single ladies. She is also helping Nicoleta, who is divorced and raising two children alone. Before Nicoleta met Ani, she was so desperate that she was considering suicide. Ani was introduced to Nicoleta by a young lady named Alexandra, who was also converted during her studies in the university.
Our missionaries Dana L. and Ruxi worked very hard to prepare the annual student ski camp in February. God used it to reach out to many with the Gospel of Jesus. Dana is currently leading a discipleship group using Charles Leiter’s book, Justification and Regeneration. She also continues to lead a Bible study of the Gospel of John for the ladies in the pregnancy center. Ruxi shared with us the good news that a young female student who attended the ski camp last year was saved and has asked to be baptized. Please pray for he, for her mother opposes her decision vehemently. Ruxi is also discipling a mother who is growing both in her spiritual life and in the way that she raises her children.
Lastly, God has opened a great door for ministering to Muslim students on the campuses in Romania. Please pray that this work might be fruitful!