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.”
Daniel is Super Tract Man.
He loves to share the gospel, and he’s one of the most faithful, dedicated guys I know, especially when it comes to passing out tracts. Even if he has to go out alone, he heads out at least a few days every week to pass out tracts on the streets of Bucharest. He’s always smiling, and he seriously is anointed. While I may get two or three people to take a piece of literature, Daniel will have a dozen. He loves to stand at the busy subway exits with both hands held out for people to take tracts as they pass by. It’s awesome!
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged bucharest, church-plant, conversation club, drug addicts, english, english conversation, evangelism, posters, poverty, prayer, prayer letter, romania, teaching english, testimony, tracts
Jake and I joined Alex on Tuesday at Piata Obor to pass out gospel tracts near the subway station. I love the work Alex is doing, and his zeal for sharing the gospel (driven by his own experience of radical transformation when he discovered the message of the cross) is infectious and challenging.
Alex is a guy who really doesn’t care what he looks like out there sharing the gospel, knowing it’s by nature foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). It’s an unnerving and challenging but also inspiring characteristic. I’ve been in the subway with Alex when he’s started a conversation with me loud enough to be called open-air preaching, and the results were similar. My first time joining Alex for evangelism, he convinced me to grab his bullhorn and start preaching… in English… with no interpreter. I’m still not sure how he convinced me that was a good idea. Other times, he’s stopped young women on the street and asked them, as a grandfather might, “Why are you dressed like this? Don’t you know you’re causing guys to stumble? Don’t you care about their souls?” Hanging out with him can be, well, embarrassing.
The bottom line, though, is this: if hell is real, and if sin destroys men here and for eternity, and if Jesus really rescues men, then the gospel is worth your and my embarrassment.
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged addiction, alex grigorescu, alexandru grigorescu, ashamed, bucharest, embarrassing, embarrassment, evangelism, foolish, foolishness, gospel, pornography, shame, tracts
So, I promised you an update on our times of evangelism from last weekend. Let me start by saying I love doing evangelism with people who aren’t afraid to take risks for God and who believe he’s ready to show up. It’s seriously the most exciting adventure ever.
So, besides handing out hundreds of tracts, here are some of the highlights…
Friday, we handed out tracts in the subway until the guards found out and told us to stop. Meanwhile, nearly everyone on the subway was reading what Jesus has done in our lives. And, best news of all, one of the men who received a tract called me saying he read it, believed it, and wanted to learn more. When we later met for coffee, I discovered he was a 7-year theology student training to be an Orthodox priest. Eugen is hungry to know the Lord, so pray for the work God is doing in him to come to fruition.
I know a couple guys who became Christians after reading a gospel tract. One of them woke up after a hangover, opened his eyes, and saw a tract in a gutter; it changed his life forever. Another friend of mine was handed a tract that said, “Hey, why do you keep blowin’ me off?” and showed a picture of a finger pointing out of heaven. He was handed the tract but put it on his desk where he promptly tried to ignore it. But every morning, he saw it there, and it was like God was asking him, “Why are you blowing me off?” Eventually, he surrendered. Now, all because of a tract, he’s a pastor. I know of ministries that major on tracts, passing out thousands and thousands every year and seeing people come to Jesus. Every Home for Christ has reached hundreds of thousands this way. Gospel For Asia, too.
But I had always looked at it as kind of a cop out. Like, if you weren’t brave enough or radical enough to actually talk to someone, you’d sheepishly give him a tract instead.
But the reality is that passing out tracts is distributing the gospel in written form, and it’s a super inexpensive way to just get the word out there in a short time to a lot of people.
Today, headed out to Ferentari for some street evangelism. Our four-person team was truly international, featuring two from the United States (Jake and I), one from Great Britain (Jacob, in the middle), and another from Canada (Jason, on the left) who can speak Romanian. Samuel (Romanian) and Sorin (Gypsy) had hoped to join us but couldn’t make it today.
To give you some background, Ferentari is Bucuresti’s poorest neighborhood. It is also the most notorious for crime, and it’s the home for many Rroma (Gypsy) people and so largely avoided by Romanians. When I asked the Bucuresti police if there were any areas they hated to work, they told me unanimously that it was Ferentari. Unofficial statistics I heard were that 3 women disappear every night in Ferentari and are sold into the sex trade. That statistic seems high, but I don’t know. We learned that last year a pile of dead children was found in the neighborhood. Every one of them had his lungs ripped out, probably to be sold on the black market. In a dark city, this is the darkest place (other than, perhaps, the political areas), and so we headed there to bring some light.