When we joined a team led by the Nicoaras, our former GMF colleagues, in Deva, Romania for an evangelism campaign last week, there were a couple of firsts that were real blessings to see.
First, we saw for the first time several hundred people being presented the gospel one-on-one, in addition to the gospel being preached to groups in evening meetings at several locations. 130+ people made professions of faith unto salvation during the week.
The second “first” was seeing several Christians, including two young disciples from our church in Cluj, sharing the gospel and leading people to faith in Christ for the first time in their lives.
The team included a medical component, with an MD, an eye doctor, a dental hygienist, a pharmacist, and some nurses of various specialties. The medical team traveled to different locations, helping people with their physical needs and sharing the gospel along the way.
There was also a children’s ministry team doing AWANA-style evangelism for children in each village they went to.
Here are some highlights of the campaign for Lili and me:
Sunday I was blessed with the opportunity to preach a campaign kickoff message at the church, encouraging the body of Christ to share the gospel and seek people to worship the Lord.
Monday, in Timpa, the first man we met witnessing was a 68 year old who was friendly, and interested in talking a lot and listening a little. He heard the gospel, though, over some time, and took the tract from us with the Bible verses afterwards. A couple hours later we were walking back past his house and he saw us and called out to us in the street, “Wait a minute!” He came and showed us how he had taken the tract and read the verses, answering the questions the best he could. He said, “the more I think about this, something inside me is stirring.” He told us the best he knew how, he had believed the gospel and that he wanted to come to the meeting that night, which he did.
Tuesday, back in the city of Deva, we shared the gospel with several people during the day, including a 14-year-old girl who was very joyful to learn that Jesus didn’t just die on the cross, but died on the cross to pay the penalty for her sins, so that she could have a way to heaven and a relationship with God.
Wednesday we were in the village of Mihaiesti, where the orthodox priest had been violently opposed to the sharing of the gospel, even carrying a club and running people off with it, threatening to crack their skulls if they didn’t stop witnessing and leave. The Lord was using the situation though, because the people wanted to go to the medical clinic and they were angered that the priest was trying to prevent them from receiving help from Christians that they needed, while they knew that an orthodox priest wouldn’t even pray for them without requiring they first pay the priest a high fee for his trouble. We met and Lili witnessed to a 55-year-old woman there, who understood the gospel, but started weeping, just saying, “There is something in me that is keeping me from being able to trust Christ and be saved.” She seemed desperate. We prayed for her. Another team member talked with her then, and she did trust Christ as her Savior. Her sorrowful face instantly turned joyous.
Thursday in Lapusnic, we got to share the gospel with several elderly people coming to the medical clinic—people who had been religious all their lives, but never heard the gospel. The highlight there, though, was seeing Romanian teens who had come just to be translators for Americans, taking the initiative themselves to share the gospel without help and lead people to the Lord.
Friday we were in Baita, a village that is another hardline orthodox stronghold. After being turned away by several people, even children, Lili and I prayed for a divine appointment with anyone whose heart had been prepared by the Lord to hear His voice. Within seconds, we crossed paths on the street with Ana Maria, a 19-year-old who was on her way to the town center to shop for the day’s food. We asked her if she had some time to talk with us about eternal life and how to have her sins forgiven. She said yes, and listened intently on the side of the road to a detailed explanation of the gospel. Then when she realized that Jesus had died for her sins personally, she trusted Christ as her Savior.
In addition to the witnessing blessings and to the blessings of seeing people we have discipled in Cluj become disciplemakers on this campaign, there was the blessing of close fellowship and Spirit-filled worship times with the American team members in the evenings. It was Lili’s first experience leading worship songs in English, and it was a blessed time for us and for the team we were working with. We believe some lasting friendships have begun with the colaborers that we served with this week. Praise the Lord!