This is a report to you on our recent trip to Romania and the Ukraine. I can honestly and with full integrity say that I believe this is the very best trip I have ever had personally to Eastern Europe. The hand of the Lord was evident in all things.
There is usually spiritual warfare and opposition in making preparations for these trips, and this one was no exception. Fear tried to rob us about going and a sense of our own inadequacy. But the promises of God’s faithfulness and His grace helped us to trust Him for grace to go in faith and dependence.
Mike Preston from here in Denton and Jim Elliff of Kansas City, Missouri completed the 3 man team with me, as Mike and I flew from Dallas to Detroit, then out to Amsterdam and on to Bucharest, where we met Jim on Friday, Nov 9; Jim had gone earlier in the week through Germany for some ministry and met us there.
We immediately began a 4 hour drive northwest from Bucharest toward the Ukraine, where we were scheduled to be by Saturday, Nov. 10. Spending Friday night, we arrived on Saturday afternoon late and settled in to our accomodations at a Ukrainian missions center, where we each had our own private room. It was all very comfortable, warm, and a great blessing. We would be at this place for the full 5 days we were in the Ukraine.
Our time in the Ukraine was about 40 miles across the Romania border. We were here for 5 days, where we preached in 8 churches over 4 days and held a 2 day pastor’s conference for Romanian speaking pastors in the Ukraine. There were both Romanians and Ukrainians attending this conference.
It was a blessed time of being with the dear Eastern European pastors and leaders who really live by faith and have a vision to be used by God to reach their country with the good news of Christ.
In the Ukrainian conference, Jim Elliff taught through a 3 part exposition of John chapter 6 and one time on the security of the true believer and Christian assurance. I spoke once on the place and authority of Scripture in the life of the believer and then 3 times on the sovereignty of God. These men had apparently never heard God’s sovereignty taught and it seemed to be a revelation to them, as well as stirring much discussion and questions. The Lord made it evident that He was showing many of them that this is a biblical view of God– it was most encouraging.
After being there 5 days, we headed back on Wednesday morning south into Romania, where we spoke in 7 churches together over the next 5 days throughout northeast and then southern Romania. Some of these areas are the poorest in all of the country and it was truly moving to see true Christians and missionaries both having a real heart for God and His word and sacrificing to live in those places for the sake of the gospel.The believers there have so very little, as far as this world’s goods are concerned, and yet have great faith and a real desire to be taught more deeply the truths of the Bible.
It was in south central Romania that we were in an area known as Oldtonian, which is a very poor region of the country. The unemployment is at least 70% and it is a very depressing area in every way. It is also in this area that there is a high number of gypsies, as well as demonism, witchcraft, and palm-readers. We were told by a Canadian couple who are there as missionaries that it wasn’t long ago that a man who had died that local people believed to be a vampire. Soon after his death, they dug up his body and cut out his heart to prevent him coming back to life.
It was just such superstition and strong evil that we felt all around us as we preached there. But there is a fairly strong church now right in the midst of this synagogue of Satan, with 6 missionaries laboring out of it, to take the gospel to that region. Please pray for this church in the Oldtonian area.
In all the churches in both countries, both Jim and I would preach in each service and Mike would give his testimony of how God saved him as an adult. We preached both evangelistic messages and messages to believers for spiritual growth and encouragement. It seemed that God was sovereignly pleased to give special help from the Holy Spirit upon all the preaching. It was in one service particularly that I preached from Hebrews 4 on the glory of our new covenant in Christ, that there is no more need of human priests at all, and how true Christianity far exceeds any man-made religion that has ever existed.
I did not know that a Romanian orthodox priest had come to attend the service and I was later told that this was very fitting for him to hear. The neat thing was that I was not sure what I should preach in that Sunday evening service and was only directed to that particular message less than 30 minutes before the service began.
The fellowship together as a team was always good, encouraging, and a great blessing. Please pray for the churches and the believers in Romania and the Ukraine, for God continues to do a great work there for the glory of His Son.
I have currently been asked to return in the spring and ask your prayers for God’s direction about this invitation.
Thanks to all of you who prayed and contributed financially to this wonderful time of ministry. God continues to do great things all over Eastern Europe.
Yours warmly in our Lord Jesus Christ,