It’s been a while since I’ve given any updates on the blog. Partly, God has simply been bringing us less exciting ministry lately; things like counseling, encouraging church members, and learning to speak Romanian just don’t make for interesting blog updates. And partly, we’ve been taking less risks in evangelism; we’ve been doing a lot of safe stuff like passing out tracts or talking one-on-one, which is good but tends not to attract those crazy cool testimonies we all like to read and I like to write about.
Anyhow, while I don’t have any wild, supernaturally-awesome testimonies, I do want to share three stories from the last week and a half.
It was 9:30 pm after the Easter Sunday service, and I was on my way home. It was a beautiful night, and as I passed by the park, I felt a pull to just go sit there for a while. I wouldn’t have called it God’s voice at the time, but I know enough about how He speaks to listen to the feelings in my heart. So I quickly dropped my things off at home and then returned to the park. As I was walking towards a bench, I saw a man walking through the park, and something in my spirit went, “Something’s not right with that guy,” and then something in my flesh went, “Ewww, I really hope he doesn’t come sit by me.”
Well, I found a bench and about 10 minutes later, a man came up to me. And, yes, you guessed it, it was that man.
Anyhow, we started talking, and what began as a friendly conversation soon turned into a proposition… for… well… y’know…
It’s hard to gross me out, so I jumped on the chance to share the gospel with Mircea. The grace of God to speak Romanian was there, and I shared with him how I had been an atheist addicted to pornography but Jesus set me free when I turned to Him. I told him I know what it’s like to live with chains on your heart, and I told him Jesus can set him free, too.
When Mircea realized I was not going to be a source of cash, he politely thanked me and said goodbye.
When I think of this encounter, it reminds me of the millions in Bucharest who are bound by sin, men and women who have become the Devil’s playthings, and who see no hope because no Christian has shown them the God of all hope.
Daniel, Daniel, and Daniela
A few days ago, I was passing out tracts with Daniel. At one point, a young lady and an older gentleman eagerly grabbed the materiel. I watched them start to read it as they walked past, and then they came back.
“Dati-mi inca una. Give me one more,” the young lady said.
“Nu, numai una. No, just one,” I told her. Many Romanians will try to “help” us by taking more than one tract whenever we pass them out. They think somebody pays us to stand there until all the fliers are gone, so if they take more than one, then they’re being helpful. So if they ask for more than one, I will almost always tell them “no.”
Well, the young lady was persistent, and Daniel and I ended up speaking for quite some time with her and her father, Daniela and Daniel, respectively. We learned that both of them believed in God and were quite proud of that fact. But we also learned neither was walking in relationship with Him. As we spoke about the need both to live in holiness and to trust in the power of Jesus to bring us there, we could see the Spirit of God bringing conviction. Daniela especially was convicted of neglecting her spiritual well-being.
Pray with us for the work that God began in her to be brought to completion. She needs to surrender to Jesus and to find a good church that will help her grow as a follower of God.
Today, I grabbed Daniel to pass out tracts with me again, and we prayed for God to use us for His glory, and then we went to Unirii to catch the never-ending crowds of people.
After half an hour or so, a young man took a tract and then returned quickly, asking more about the church. I told him a bit about us, how we believed more in relationship than religion, and invited him to join us for a service. At one point, he told me I must be very brave for passing out tracts.
Rather than responding with, “What do you mean??? This is the most cowardly way you could ever share the gospel,” I simply told him, “Merci. Thanks. Tu faci ceva ca asa? Do you do something like this?” I wondered if maybe he did some other form of evangelism.
“Oh no, definitely not. Jesus told his disciples to wait until they received the Holy Spirit. I haven’t received the Holy Spirit, so I can’t share the gospel. Until I have power, I can’t share the gospel with anyone.”
Wait… You’re serious?
I don’t want to go into all the reasons for why that reasoning makes neither logical nor biblical sense, but sadly this is not an uncommon way of thinking here in Romania. Many “Christians” are sitting around waiting for some supernatural power to control them and so overcome their fears and insecurities while God is asking them to simply step out in faith and trust Him.
Daniel and I chose not to enlighten the young man then and there with how absurd his proposition was, but instead we challenged him and offered to pray for him to be bold and unashamed of the gospel.
Oh, God, raise up men and women who simply say “yes” to You and in obedience receive the Holy Spirit and GO. Set a fire in the church’s bones!