Believe it or not, I just finished my seventh week in Romania and am eager to update you on everything the Lord is doing. Those of you who have been following my blog know that we just we’ve been in a marathon of summer camps, but there’s more to share. So let’s get to it.
After settling into my new home at the Home of Hope, week two gave the me chance to spend time with the kids here and get my bearings by traveling around the city. After my first attempt to call a taxi ended with the dispatcher hanging up on me, I quickly made friends with a taxi driver who I now call directly when I need a lift. I’ve also become quite accustomed to Braila’s infamous Maxi Taxis.
When I arrived in Braila, the church was also awaiting the arrival of a full-time youth pastor named Vlad. In the meantime, we decided to reboot the youth ministry by starting weekly youth meetings on Saturday mornings. Our summer series is called “Grow up!” Each week we’re talking about what it means to grow in Christ by studying spiritual disciplines and other basics of the Christian life. Though I wasn’t expecting to be involved in the youth ministry in this capacity, I’ve come to love these kids and am excited to see how the Lord is working in their lives.
I’m also continuing to meet each week with a small group of guys to talk about discipleship. Together we’re studying Philippians and reading Follow Me by David Platt. We’re also sure to have plenty of food whenever we meet!
Week three brought a welcomed taste of home when a group of twelve Canadians from my church arrived for a week of outreach. Each morning we travelled to the villages of Macin and Sutu where we participated in various service projects and had the chance to share the gospel in nearby homes. After a busy morning, we packed up our van and drove to Kilometre Zece, a gypsy community on the outskirts of Braila. Throughout the week we ran a VBS-style camp for the kids in this community. Day after day, we were amazed to see how God had gone before us to prepare hearts to receive his Word.
We could never have imagined how the Lord would use this simple camp to create new inroads for the gospel within this community. On the Sunday after camp we filled a van with kids from Kilometre Zece and brought them to church. A number of their parents also came to church where they requested prayer that God would revive their faith and that of their families. What’s more, we are already in the process of planning small groups and evening services back in Kilometre Zece. We are both overwhelmed and expectant for how the Lord will continue to use the church in Braila to minister to this community.
A few days later, I was invited to cross the Danube and visit the only evangelical church in Macin where I had the chance to train a small group of believers in how to share the gospel. Together we discussed how evangelism is meant to be the overflow of knowing and loving God. Whenever our hearts and minds are captivated by something, we can’t help but tell other people about it. When I drove into Macin, I was captured by beauty of its mountains and landscape. Naturally, I look forward to telling others about this place! Evangelism is no different—when we behold the glory of God, when we truly experience and savour Jesus Christ, we are compelled to share him with the people around us.
Back in Braila, the Lord continued to move through our weekly youth group meetings. As our young people began to open up and confess struggles with sin it was clear that God was preparing their hearts for the upcoming youth camp.
Week five brought another Canadian team to Romania and gave us a chance to escape to the hill country for at time fellowship, teaching, and worship. The theme of our camp was the battle agains sin: “The Fight of Your Life.” In many respects, this week was the climax of my time in Romania thus far. What we witnessed in this camp was nothing short of supernatural. Not only did four young people from the gypsy community attend this camp, all four of them came to faith! They were joined by another eleven youth who also prayed to receive Christ, and three more who rededicated their life to him.
Would you join me in praising the Lord for his faithfulness to draw these young people to repentance and faith in him! Please continue praying that the Lord would strengthen the faith of these youth as they begin to grow in him. Already four of the young men who came to faith have asked me to begin studying the Bible with them. Right now a group of us meets throughout the week at 7am to read the Gospel of Mark together.
After returning from youth camp we had just enough time to get ready for our local kids camp here in Braila. This proved to be an other crazy week of fun and games, worship, and teaching about how Jesus is our rock—the solid ground on which to build our lives. In the midst of this week I also began teaching a three-week course on evangelism with the aim of equipping and impassioning the men and women of Harvest Metanoia to share the gospel with their friends, family, colleagues, and the people of this community.
Last Saturday gave me the chance to spend time with the youth group for the last time before I return home. Towards the end of our meeting, I had the surprise and the blessing of being prayed over by the youth.
That about brings me to today. The last seven weeks have been incredible. To be honest, I am exhausted in many respects, yet deeply thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to serve Him in Braila. As I enter my final week here, please join me in asking the Lord to help finish well.
I’m looking forward to teaching the final class of the evangelism course as well as returning to Kilometre Zece on Friday evening where I’ll have the opportunity to preach and share the gospel with the men and women of this community. Let us ask our Father, our mighty and gracious Father who abounds in steadfast love and mercy, to open the eyes of the blind and turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that will receive his Word with repentance, faith, and everlasting joy.
To God be the glory!