"God can do great works on
people's insides that we may never see on the outside."
The two weeks before
I left for Romania I spent at flight camp. I was having a great time spending each day
playing in the lake, flying simulated planes, and strengthening friendships with my fellow
campers. One afternoon my friend and I were taking a break from the heat as we sat in the
shade of the wing of a plane. Talking over our summer plans I told him about a family
vacation and a missions trip to Romania I would be taking. But then I added, "being
at camp is going to be the best part of my whole summer."
My friend looked at me and paused to
think. Then he said slowly, "Camp is fun, but you are getting a chance to go witness
to people...you should get more joy out of bringing the truth of the Bible to people then
anything we do here at camp." I agreed with him but told him honestly that I was so
so scared about it. He tried to reason with me that there was nothing to be afraid of but
his words had no effect on me. Then he stopped reasoning and said, "you don't need my
reassurance...you need God's...let's pray." We did pray. and a sense of calmness came
over me. I was still a little nervous but that intense sense of dread that I had felt
before was no longer there. It was God at work that calmed me of my fears.
I saw God at work so many times during
my stay in Romania. This was my first missions trip. I had never gone out and evangelized
before. I spent the first part of the week following other team members around to see how
it was done and having them coach me though my testimony, bible verses, and questions we
were suppose to ask others. I was moved a step farther to being on my own as I was sent
out in the streets with out an American partner, but I was still being watched over as
someone would go ahead of me and find me contacts to share with. I was finally left on my
Wandering, with my interpreter, the
empty streets fear began to creep back up on me. "What if they don't listen to me?
After all, I'm just i kid. Adults don't have to listen to kids," i thought. Then a
lady came out of the house we had just passed. "Wait!" she called, "come
here I want to hear what you know, I want to hear what you have to say." What an act
of God! Not only did we have 3 decisions made in what seemed like a barren place but God
calmed my fears and showed me once again that people really wanted to hear what I had to
say. Time after time i told what i knew about Jesus Christ and eternal life. Sometimes
people we talked to seemed not to be interested. One boy comes to my mind.. He listened
politely but he kept his eyes downward looking neither at me nor my interpreter. He didn't
ask any questions and only answered them when prodded. We prayed with him and he asked the
Lord into his heard but since we hadn't gotten much response from him I was unsure if he
was truly sincerer in his prayer. I invited him to church like everyone else we had met
that day but I didn't really think I would see him there. yet there he was with 2 of his
friends sitting in the church that evening.
I quickly learned that you can't tell a
persons heart from the outside. God can do great works on people's insides that we may
never see on the outside. the greatest joy I experienced on the trip was though another
little boy I witnessed to. I saw him sitting on the sidewalk and knew I wanted to share
with him the good news of Jesus Christ and of the chance to spend eternity in heaven. He
was such a smart little boy and knew the Bible very well for his age. He told us he had
gone to church with his family when he was younger but hadn't been since his father had
begun to drink. He asked so many questions and was so enthusiastic. After we had prayed I
asked him again if he knew he would go to heaven if he died. He paused for a moment then
with a huge smile on his face said confidently, "da", or in English
"yes". That moment was the high point of my summer. To see a little child be so
sincere about asking Jesus into their life and then know with such confidence that they
would go to heaven. He was just one of many people who made decisions that week. Yet
because of God helping me to share the gospel with him and God working in his life to open
his heart I will remember that little boy forever. I greatly enjoyed my time in Romania.
It is amazing what the Lord has done in those few short days. Praise the Lord for all he
"My joy overflowed as the
daily prayer times were filled with praises for our God."
Seeing God in the
The month of June had arrived, and also
the phone call I had been expecting. The caller, Mark inquired if I would be part of the
team to go to Romania in July. I told him I felt I could not go this year. He reminded me,
service to God is not a feeling, but a calling. As the conversation ended, I agreed to
pray for God's will in the matter. I had already been in prayer about this and thought
because I had a lack of desire and a lack of physical strength, it was probably not God's
will I go. In my daily reading or the Word, God did convict me that He had prepared hearts
to receive Him (John 17: 20). I was struggling with God but I knew He wanted to bless me.
He reminded me that Fear and Faith can not co-exist. June 7, I called and arranged for the
I shared with my Ladies Sunday School
class about the mission and asked for their prayers. I asked for boldness and clarity of
the Gospel and a softening of hearts to receive Christ. For myself, I asked for physical
strength and for the ability to sleep well there. This came with a special request to
silence the dogs that created so much noise fighting and barking to all hours of the
night. The first morning as I awoke in Romania, I thanked God for a full peaceful nights
sleep. At breakfast I discovered the dogs of Romania were up to their same job of
disturbing the peace. Then as the week progressed, I would hear of the nightly disturbance
these dogs caused, and the others plotted their demise. I was amazed, every night I slept
so peacefully. I never heard the dogs! I had great physical strength and my feet never got
tired. I remember telling Mark, this is the best mission I have ever been a part of. My
joy overflowed as the daily prayer times were filled with praises for our God who uses
housewives, students, insurance salesmen, small business owners, a father-to-be, senior
adults and pastors to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for Romania. Pray for
God to give you a calling for foreign evangelism. To those whom much is given, much is
"As Mr. Baruga heard that
God had demonstrated His love with the sacrifice of His own son, this poor man's
hopelessness began to give way to hope. "
Beautiful Feet on
Short-term mission projects are always
mountaintop experiences were may, but I had eight mountaintop experience unlike any other
earlier trips during my involvement with the kirk of the hills 1999 short-term mission
trip to Romania. Our first day out I went with my friend and teammate Jack Schaffner, to
the picturesque village of Comarnic, a short drive north of Campina on the main highway
between Bucharest and Brasov. Comarnic's farm houses, pastures, and hills slope upward
from the banks of the Prahova River to the steep hillsides of the Carpathian Mountain
My interpreter was a delightful 16 your
old girl named Cami from another village. Our first contact of the project was a 68 year
old farmer who was working in his field. He graciously stopped his work long enough to
talk, and God moved his heart to receive the gospel of grace. How exciting that was! I did
not realize, though, that our visit with this man had made us late for an appointment at
the home of one of the sisters from local mission church.
This sister had invited neighbors and
friends to visit with the American who come to share from the Bible about eternal life.
Cami and I hurriedly followed our eager young guide, the daughter of one local Christian
families, as she led the way to the sister's home. We crossed the Prahova River on a wood
and steel swinging foot bridge, then made our way across railroad tracks and highway to
begin ascending a dirt road. Shortly, our guide took an abrupt turn off the road onto a
narrow footpath that zigzagged upward and disappeared, seeming to go nowhere. I stopped
and asked Cami to inquire where we were going. Cami just pointed up to a place far beyond
where the footpath disappeared - the top of the mountain. I took the first of many deep
breaths, and we began the ascent.
After we reached what I thought was the
top, we continued sneaking our way upwards along more narrow dirt roads and footpaths,
shared by humans and livestock.. Finally, we reached the sister's home. No one was waiting
for us. Frankly, I was glad to have survived the hike to the top and was pleased to get a
chance to rest. It was a letdown to find that none of the people the sister had invited
were able to come. Had we made the trek up the mountain for nothing, wasting our time? The
sister, Mrs. Baruga, was herself disappointed and apologized that no one had come. She
invited us to sit and chat, offering us something cool to drink.
Shortly, the sister's 66 year old
husband, Ion, hobbled from another room and we began to discuss who I was and why I had
come to Romania. Mr. Baruga express his understanding. He explained to me that several
years before he had had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed on the right side. As
Cami and I talked further about the message we were sharing, I asked him about his own
hope of eternal life. If he were to die that night, would he know for certain that he
would go to heaven? Before she translated Mr. Baruga's response, Cami exclaimed to me,
"I'm shocked at his answer!" "What did he say?" I asked anxiously.
"I don't know about eternal live. I don't think I would go to heaven," Mr.
Baruga had answered, "but that doesn't matter, I do wish I would die tonight."
This man's physical condition had left
him without hope for both his life and the next. As Mr. Baruga heard that God had
demonstrated His love with the sacrifice of His own son, this poor man's hopelessness
began to give way to hope. Soon, he invited Jesus into his life and received the gift of
What sweet fellowship we had as we
shared together from the Bible the great hope we have in Christ. We celebrated our kinship
through Jesus and marveled that, whether or not my new brother and I would see each other
again in this life, we share the hope of eternal fellowship in heaven.
I left the Baruga home with renewed awe
at the power God to save and with humble gratitude in my heart that He had used us to
guide a new brother into His family. I felt such deep gratitude for the stamina, zeal, and
perseverance exhibited by Cami and our young guide, who both kept urging me to the top of
the mountain. I really felt unworthy. As we made the trek back down, though, I sensed
God's special blessing as the words of Isaiah 52: 7 came to mind: "How beautiful on
the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring
good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,'Your God reigns!'"