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"Preach the Gospel to all creation" Mark 16:15

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Harvest in Drought
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Sitting in seat 31 G., Lufthansa flight 440 to Houston, I reflect on what God has done on this mission trip. Three people from Houston, five from St. Louis, and one from a small town near Syracuse, New York were woven seamlessly into a team.

What can be said for this trip, this mission, this divine campaign for souls? God desires man's salvation, and has already paid for their rescue with the highest ransom in eternity. They are His already; He seeks for their appropriation.

Temperatures soared to over 100 degrees.  The dust from the streets arose with each crusaders' step. Onlookers, those not yet seeking and those who will never be found, scurry before the sword-drawn warriors like nocturnal creatures whose party is interrupted by sudden daybreak.

Inside the new church in Campina, a sign of a growing harvest.

Oh, if they could know that they could drink of such Light!  The sun-drenched messengers are not to be feared, for they bring words of truth, life, and peace. Most of those who were willing to engage these troubadours are washed over generously by His Spirit, experiencing the second birth. This happened 359 times in Romania during early July, as the gospel was taken to 14 towns and communities.

The July 1-12, 1999 Romania crusade was a strike force operation. Everyday, a different town or community was invaded by the team in saturated with the gospel. We, American crusaders and our Romanian interpreters (each American had their own), shared many meals together. The fellowship around the table was full and rich. Services were held every night, full of song, testimony, and the exposition of God's Word. People knitted together of one hope, one Spirit, one Lord, one Father, all for one purpose: to save as many souls as possible in the time they had been given.

Each day at noon, we enjoyed rich fellowship with our young Romanian interpreters and our hosts.

This was GNI's eighth sojourn into Romania, and like the seven before it, it was "the best one yet". I know that sounds cliche, but each trip, though similar to the others, has its own uniqueness that separates it from the rest, making each one incomparable to the others. The things that made this trip unique for many included: going with a very good friend (for the first time) who was my prayer partner for my first trip, training an 18 year old young woman (a fellow team member) to share for faith on the mission field, reuniting with a friend and crusader whom I was with in Bangladesh, and to see the Bible college for which we have prayed so long prepare for its first fall session. God is so very, very good!


Family and Friends
Friday was our last day to evangelize. Our target for that day was Moreni. Moreni is a city of 40,000 people, an "oil town" nestled among the foothills of the Carpathians. The church with which we were working in Moreni was the evangelical church, known in the United States as the Brethren Church. The church had not prepared many in home visits for us, mainly because Friday is a very busy work day in this town and finding people at home would be difficult. Most of the evangelism would have to be done on the street. There was, however, one appointment that the sister in the church had arranged. I wanted to make sure that the team had as many opportunities to share the gospel as possible.  I took the appointment, just in case the people did not show and other team members might have been discouraged. People are people wherever you go, and sometimes I have more confidence in their predictability than in the Lord who desires to save them.

My interpreter and I walked into town, turned left at the town square, and proceeded to walk another half a mile to our appointment. When we arrived, the sister greeted us and invited us to sit under the grape arbor. She was the only one there (no surprise to me), and asked us to wait. She left the house and went into the streets while we waited, and waited (now you see why I didn't want another team member to go). After 20 minutes of waiting, some people began to come - first a man, then a couple of women, another man, some more women (women seem to travel in groups). This continued until we had about 10 people sitting under the grape arbor with us. Our hostess asked us to continue to wait. She went back into the house and came back with some cake (I guess she could not have so many people over and not provide some snacks). After everyone had received cake and the drink of their choice, our hostess asked us to begin, some 40 minutes after our arrival.   We began to share the gospel, and the more we shared, the more we saw the walls come down and skepticism retreat.

Celebrating is sweet, especially when celebrating the Lord's work with our Romanian family of brothers and sisters.

Every single person present prayed to receive Christ. It was an incredible moment! We immediately began to explain some more details about the new life in Christ. They asked questions. We answered from the Bible. We fellowshipped. We prayed together. It was now lunchtime and our hostess, overjoyed over what God had done, went back for more cake. We took a piece to go, but they invited us to return after lunch to teach them more. We agreed. As my interpreter and I headed back to our host family in Moreni, we marveled at what God had done, how He had used us inspite of our own skepticism about this appointment, which was truly divine.
Read the testimonies of these who went!