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Romania 1999 page

click on a crusader's face to read their testimony (note: not all crusaders' testimonies were available at the time of publication)


"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 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 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 own.

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 has done.


"My joy overflowed as the daily prayer times were filled with praises for our God."

Seeing God in the Details

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 airline ticket.

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 expected.


"I was able to tell him how to have a personal relationship with God and he was ready to accept the truth right then."

The first person that I spoke to the first morning was a man who was in need of a touch from the Lord. His wife had died a short time ago and shortly after her death he was in a car crash with his best friendand the friend died. He was in a coma in the hospital for a couple of weeks and was still in the process of recovering. When I started to tell him why I was in Romania he started to cry. He told me about his situation and that he needed the Lord to give him strength. I was able to tell him how to have a personal relationship with God and he was ready to accept the truth right then. He was encouraged by the good news and with the idea that the pastor would be in contact with him. He was definitely an appointment from God.


"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 the Mountains

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 foothills.

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 eternal life.

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!'"