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Romania 1998 "Expansion to Samaria"

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Romania 98 Testimonies

It was hot, the second day in a row it hit 40C (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Our coolest day was 98, and that was five days ago. The streets were dusty, empty, like a scene from a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. Some had treated us as gunslingers in such a movie, running inside at our sight, others had stared coldly, wondering what we were really all about. The three of us, Andre, my interpreter, Claudio, our guide, and I, turned to the right, down yet another hot, stony street. We spotted them, sitting on the only street bench afforded shade from the glaring afternoon fireball in the sky. An old gentleman, his wife, their neighbor sat passing the summer afternoon in quiet conversion. We made our approach. "Hello, my name is Mark Puckett, and I’m from the United States. I have come to share what Jesus Christ has done in my life. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"

New Believers in Sat Minier puruse the follow-up tracts


Andre translated, we had done this scores of times before. "Da," came the response. Yes, they had time to talk. I shared my testimony, with Andre translating it into the least known of the Romance languages, yet the one holding closest to its old Latin roots. I then explained the Gospel, and all three prayed to receive Christ, newborn children of the King. She appeared as we were collecting their personal information. Her hair was reddish, even more so in the blazing afternoon sun. Her name was Carmen, and she was curious about what we had just shared. I again told my story of Jesus and His love; Carmen drank deeply from the regenerative Living Water, and I outlined His wonderful plan for her salvation. Once again, the Holy Spirit poured out illumination and faith, and Carmen bowed her head and opened the door to her heart. Jesus entered in.

I saw Carmen two more times that week. both at services in Sat Minier. The last service was also our farewell service, and I preached out of Hebrews 4:4-10, emphasizing the urgency of all to respond to God immediately upon His calling. When the invitation was given, Carmen came forward to confess Christ before the congregation, and to ask for membership into the body at Sat Minier. Her last words to me as we departed were, "Thank you for leading me to the Lord." Slava Domnului! Praise the Lord!

That is just one of the 352 stories our team witnessed this year in Romania. Our seven person team shared the Gospel with hundreds of people in the thirteen villages and towns we entered. Not everyone we encountered was receptive to the Gospel. Many completely rejected the possibility that anyone could be saved, much less certain of such a salvation. Others opted to cling to dead tradition rather than embrace a new life. The team worked very hard, sharing the Gospel with hundreds of people. Less than half of the people with whom we spoke received the Living Christ, and we celebrate the victory, and praise the Lord of the harvest. The lack of overwhelming responsiveness to the Gospel is a chilling reminder of Psalms 103:9:

He will not always strive with us; nor will He keep His anger forever.

The Spirit of God is moving, but the hardening of hearts in Romania is evident. The young people are not nearly as interested in hearing the Good News as they were four years ago. They have loved the darkness rather than light. The apostate Orthodox church continues its bewitching fearmongering to control the older people, and discourage them from speaking to us. Middle-aged people don’t know what to think; communist indoctrination tells them there is no God, the Orthodox religion they have witnessed is a farce, and what these strangers from America tell them is almost incomprehensible. Yet, we observe, the Breath of God moves freshly and powerfully as we reach out to new communities, the Samarias of our Campina, Romania base. We will continue to push outward, until the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached in every village and hamlet possible.

I want to ask you to pray, and pray earnestly for Romania, particularly the believers in the Campina area churches. Please pray for the following:

the intense follow-up campaign now being conducted by the pastors and elders

• the follow-through unto baptism for those who were serious about their profession of faith

• the spiritual and numerical growth of the Romanian churches

• the binding of the Orthodox church and the breaking of its stronghold on Romanian society

• the organization and start of the new Maranatha Bible College of Campina, a ministry of International Theological Education Ministries (ITEM), brought together with the Campina area churches through a cooperative effort with GNI

• the strategic planning and implementation of next year’s crusade July 1 - 12, 1999

Please pray for these needs between now and next year’s crusade. We want to take a youth VBS team to work with the children, and have a 12 person evangelistic team. We have also recently established contacts in Moldova and Turkey, contacts we hope will propel us deeper into Eurasia.