Church Planter - Pasat, Ukraine
Sandu moved from Romania to Ukraine in order to serve as a missionary among the Romanian speaking people living in Ukraine. He is a church planter in Pasat village. Sandu has planted two other churches. Sandu and his wife, Martha, have three children.
Testimony of Conversion
My name is Sandu Deac and I was born in Bistrita, Romania, on January 1, 1974. I am the oldest of six children: three boys and three girls. It was a privilege to be born in a Christian family and to be raised with good morals and a spiritual atmosphere. When I was twelve years old, an elderly, retired pastor began to visit our family and hold Bible studies with the children. It was at this time that I began to study the Scriptures. Until that time, I had only attended church because it was the custom of my family. I praise God for this elderly saint of God because he helped me to develop a special desire to study the Scriptures and encouraged me to seek Jesus.
Even though I was a child, I made a very serious decision to follow Jesus. Later in my Christian life, I began to understand that I chose to follow Him only because He chose me and called me to follow Him in order to prepare me for a special work. When I was thirteen years old, I no longer played with my friends so that I could use my free time to seek God. I began to pray and fast, and in this way, I began to know Him and to understand the way in which He wanted me to serve Him. It was at this time that I understood that He had called me to serve the Gospel. I was having my usual prayer time when I felt something in my heart that I cannot explain, but I knew at that moment that God wanted me to preach the Gospel.
At the age of thirteen, I also began to learn to walk with God by faith. During my yearly exams, I did not study all the possible subjects about which we could be tested, but prayed and asked God to lead me to study the one subject that the teacher would choose. I prayed and God showed me the right subject (I know now that this was not very wise, but God blessed the zeal of a young boy). Another time, when I was traveling in the city with a friend, we ran out of money and became hungry. I remembered the promise from Matthew 18:19: “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”
My friend and I prayed together and soon after I found a bill of 10 Lei (Romanian Currency) on the sidewalk. At that time one could buy a great deal of food with 10 lei. Although I was only trusting God in small things, I was learning to trust Him more and more. I began to understand that He was close to me and that He would meet all my needs and my godly desires if I seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
When I was fourteen years old, I decided to form a group of young people to support the evangelistic work in Romania. We formed a Christian music group and also went from house to house to preach the Gospel. Sometimes we simply helped people clean their houses and yards. Other times, we walked though villages singing and preaching the Gospel. At that time, I did not even know what a missionary was, but when men came to our church to share about the work of the Gospel in the needy parts of the world, something happened in my soul and I felt a desire to do the same thing - to preach the Gospel and encourage the people to repent. I did not know it, but God was preparing me to be a missionary.
When I was sixteen years old, a group of missionaries from the United States came to our church. During the service, they made a call for those who were willing to serve the Lord as a missionary. I understood very well what God wanted from me. It was also at this time that I realized that I needed to spend special time with God. I found in the Bible that fasting was an important part of the life of Moses, Elijah, and even the Lord Jesus. I decided that I needed to fast every day for eighty days (I ate a small meal every night). This is how I started the fight and it was a great experience for me. It still has an impact on my life and work. I believe that it was my first step as a missionary.
After this experience, a group of us in the church decided to try to plant new churches in our area and to take care of the little missions that struggled in the surrounding villages. In two years, God planted three new churches and one of them is now a very large and important church. After this period in my life, I felt God’s call to move to Timisoara, Romania and to work among the Gypsies. In time, I learned their language and gained their acceptance. I worked among the gypsies for two years between the years of 1991-1992. In June of 1993, I was baptized in Timisoara and re- turned to Bistrita. I began to work among the Gypsies of my hometown and they were very amazed when they heard me using their language. During this time, God also allowed me to developed the work in other nearby villages and towns.
In 1994, I was required to serve in the army. I knew it would be difficult as a believer, but the Lord gave me favor in the eyes of my authorities and I was given a higher rank than I ever believed possible. This gave me the liberty to form a fellowship group with four other believers. We held fellowship meetings two or three times a day - singing, praying, and studying God’s Word. After three months, I was relocated to another military unit. I was the only believer in the unit, but I continued to have fellowship with God. After eight months of serving in the army, I began to lose focus. I neglected my time with God and began to hang around with new friends. The satisfaction lasted for only a few moments. I always left them empty and without any desire to be alive.
I returned home when I finished my military service, but the deadness in my soul continued. The next period of my life was very difficult because I tried everything in my power to get back on my feet spiritually. It was pointless. I did not do anything to be ashamed of, on the contrary, I tried to live a very moral life. I went to church, but I could not regain my peace and joy. Finally, I went to the Lord and pleaded with Him to do something with my life. I felt that the Lord touched me when I fell helplessly into His arms. I now know that I needed this dreadful experience in order to understand that I can have victory only in His presence and only by His grace.
After returning to the Lord, I desired very much to go to a Bible school. I could not go because I had to work, but in time, God listened to my prayers and brought a Bible school to our city. In 1996, I began to attend the Bible school and to work with the youth in a nearby church. That year, God taught me many things about being a servant.
The following year, I had the joy of marrying a dear girl named Marta. She greatly motivated me to serve the Lord. In August 2, 1999, God blessed us with a girl who we named Sara. At that same time, we formed a special youth group for missions. In the first year, we sponsored 78 different missionary activities. The following year, the Lord allowed us to open two new mission points and I began to once again preach the Gospel in the Bistrita jail. It was during this time that our pastor began to encourage us to go to a mission school in Sibiu. I realized that it was important, but it was finan- cially impossible for my family and me. Together Marta and I sought the will of God. The answer came right away. One Sunday, a lady came to our house when we were not at home and she left a note for us to visit her. Because she was a poor widow we thought that she needed help. When we arrived at her home, she gave us an envelope and told us that the Lord had put it on her heart to give us an amount of money. She did not know about our needs, but we knew that it was the first answer from the Lord. In October, I went to school believing that God would take care of my family.
At school, I was trained for cross-cultural missions, but I had no clear vision about where I would serve. My wife and I decided to pray for God’s will. The first answer came one year later. A brother wrote to us that he would like to support us in our missionary endeavors. He sent us a check for $100. From this wonderful miracle, we understood that God wanted us to be missionaries, but we did not know where. Two years later, we received our answer from the Lord. The leaders in our school asked me to go on a ten day mission trip to the Ukraine. I had already planned to go to Bulgaria, but decided instead to go to the Ukraine. On the 5th of February (2001) we arrived at the Ukrainian city of Cernauti. We stayed at the house of pastor Ion Gireada. We held missionary meetings in different villages and homes. From the very beginning, God was working through the trip. One evening in a church in Voloca, a little girl came after the service and gave my wife some Ukrainian money and said that it was to support us as missionaries in the Ukraine. We fell in love with the people and became very sensitive to their needs, but we were not sure if God was leading us. Then one evening, we held an evangelistic service in Tereblecea. After I preached the message, a man indicated that he had repented of his sins and given his life to Christ. It was at that moment that the will of God became clear. The repentant man showed us that there was a need and God would use us. The gracious little girl showed us that God would meet all our needs even in the most unusual ways. We have been in the Ukraine since May 2001 and we have been serving the Lord ever since.
Marta’s Testimony (Sandu's Wife)
My name is Marta Deac and I was born on June 8, 1974 in Bistrita, Romania. I grew up in a large Christian family of seventeen children. There are fourteen children still alive today – nine boys and five girls. I grew up in church and this helped me to realize that I should not live according to the desires of the flesh. I was converted when I was nine years old, but of course, this did not keep me from all the adventures and “foolishness” of childhood.
My father is an evangelist and I saw how hard it was for my mother to always be by herself. I knew how hard it was to educate so many children, but I never heard my mother complain in our presence. Despite all the trials through which I saw my mother pass, I always wanted to be a wife and a mother like her.
After four boys, I was the very first girl in my family. My parents wanted very much to have a girl. They prayed to the Lord and promised Him that they would give the girl back to Him as His servant. I heard about this promise when I was fifteen years old. When I was a little girl, I believed that God was speaking to me, but no one would believe me. I was consoled in knowing that God wanted me for Him and for His work.
After reading many different books about missionaries, I told my parents that I wanted to be a missionary. They tried to convince me otherwise. They said that I was only full of emotion because of the books and sometimes they forbade me to read them. I worked in a grocery store and on Saturday and Sunday I taught the children in church. As time passed, God continued to strengthen my convictions about His calling.
In the summer of 1993, I was baptized. Immediately afterwards, someone came up to me with some information about the Romanian Bible Institute in Bucharest. I decided to go. My mother was very happy, but for some strange reason, my father did not even want to hear about it. He said that I did not need Bible school because I was a girl and I could not become a pastor. I went back to my room and began to pray. I asked God to help me fulfill the promise my parents had made to Him before I was born. I wrote down all the reasons why the Lord would want me to study in the Bible Institute. I showed them to my father, but he would not change his attitude. Finally, I told both my parents that it was my decision to obey the Lord and go to school. I left without their recommendation, even though such a recommendation was needed to enter the institute. I desired to have the blessing of my father, but he refused. I was hurt, but I realized that I had to go to the Lord with all my problems.
I began school, but the tuition was too high for me to pay. After two months, the principal of the school told all of us who were too poor to pay that we had to return home. I did not know what to do. I was ashamed to stand in front of my father. I knew that he would tell me that my ideas were crazy and that I was out of God’s will. As I evaluated my life, I realized that God had been faithful and that He had never failed me. I decided to fast for three days and ask the Lord to answer me. During those three days, the Lord searched my heart and showed me the way He would help. In my dream I went to the airport to wait for some Americans. One of them came to me and gave me all the money that I needed for all the years I would need to stay in school. He even said that if I needed more he would give it to me. I suddenly woke up and I said to myself that it was just a nice dream.
One day a brother came to me and told me that I needed to go with him to the airport. My eyes were closed to what God was doing, but when I arrived at the airport I saw the man from my dream. He came to me and said that he would pay my tuition for me. I did not know what to say and the only thing I could do was to thank the Lord for taking care of me. I did not know if I should tell my father, because I did not want to shame him by showing him how God had help me. Before I could make a decision about what to do, I discovered that someone else had already told my parents.
The man who sponsored me was touched by my experience and wanted to meet my family. This was not easy for me. I was afraid of how my father might react. When we arrived in Bistrita, we went straight to the church. My father was very excited to see us, and he prayed for me. He dedicated me to the Lord according to the custom of the Jews (my father is a Messianic Jew). I was very happy because of God’s goodness to me.
While I was in the Bible Institute, I worked in different orphanages and with many children ministries, but God had another plan for me. In July of 1997, I was engaged to Sandu and we began to seek the Lord’s will together. Our parents could not help us financially, so we asked the Lord to show His power again. We prayed over Sandu’s salary ($60 a month), and we asked God to multiply it so that we would even have a little extra to eat a meal in a restaurant. The Lord was faithful to answer in every detail. All these things happened so that I would understand that I needed to be in the Master’s will and to look for His heart every day.
After I was married to Sandu, we began to work with teenagers, but our heart was always looking towards the mission field. Now God, by His grace, has answered our prayers so that everyone might see the glory of His name. We are missionaries in the Ukraine. I serve the church by working with the children, helping the youth, counseling young ladies, and I teaching English to the village children. We are depending upon God and seeking to do all things according to His will.
When I look back on my life, I thank God for the love that He has shown me every day. I thank you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ because you have taken time to read these little drops from my life.