"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
After our opportunity in May to go together as a church to Bals(h) to be with the believers there, we had another opportunity to go in mission together as a church body to a different church also some distance away. This time, on June 19-20, we went to the church in Hobita, about 170 kilometers away, a three hour or so drive.
Those of us from the church who were able to go left on a Saturday afternoon, we had lunch together in a park in Caransebes, and then were able to spend an hour or so at a historic site named Sarmizegetusa, where we walked among the ruins of the Roman settlement established there about 101 A.D. From there it was just two kilometers to Hobita.
Similar in purpose to our mission to Bals(h), the purpose for our trip to Hobita was to go as a church body to another church body, spend the day together first in worshiping the Lord and teaching from His word, and then fellowshiping together as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Whereas before we had gone to a relatively new church, this was pretty much the complete opposite. The church is well established, but very small; there are only a couple of younger people in the congregation - it consists almost entirely of elderly people, two of which have died in the last year or so. Hobita is a group of believers in great need of hope and encouragement.
While again one of the goals was to build unity within our own body through this experience together, the greater goal was that of building up and encouraging other members of the body of Christ, and being in fellowship with them - being believers in Christ together in unity.
As with the earlier mission, this time of fellowship with the believers from Hobita was a great success. We all arrived in Hobita Saturday evening, and after initial greetings and introductions, we went to our respective houses where we were to be guests for the evening. We were received with such love and generosity it was as if we were royalty; we had gone with the idea of wanting to be a blessing to others, and yet it was we who were so greatly blessed!
The next morning we met together at the church, and we all worhiped the Lord together in joy. We sang old songs, and new songs, and there was even a poem or two read. Then we had an excellent teaching and encouragement from God's Word by Ghita, a guy from our church, about being full of joy, based on Jesus' teaching in the beatitudes.
After the morning time together, we all went to a lady's house from the church, and spent the afternoon visiting, getting to know one another, and of course, enjoying a meal together. Again we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the saints there in Hobita, for they had prepared a virtual feast for us, including traditional Romanian chicken noodle soup, sarmale (cabbage rolls) and visli, which are sausages made from sheep meat (sounds kind of weird, but they're quite good!)
Later in the afternoon, after several hours of fellowship and getting to know one another, we returned to the church for another time of worship together and some more Bible teaching, this time from our pastor, Ionut.
As we were preparing to dismiss the service and all go back to the house where we had spent the afternoon together to say our goodbyes, some other guests arrived, including another mission worker / pastor, and a man visiting from France. We all went back to the house together, and stayed there together for another half an hour or so singing and praying together, before people had to start for home.
It occurred to me during that last half hour together that we were getting just the tiniest glimpse of what heaven may be like: there we were - Romanians, Americans, French - though different in these earthly bodies, we were unified together prayer, and in love and worship of Jesus. It was moving, and one of those profound moments in life that are not easily forgotten.
Our trip as a church body to Hobita was a very special couple of days, and a great time to get to know some new people. Again new friendships were formed, and people from both churches were encouraged greatly. It seemed that God truly did pour out His blessings upon everyone in abundance during this time.
We as a church are hopeful that this sort of thing will happen again this year, and have made plans to visit another church when the possibility opens up. We also continue to be hopeful that through ministry and experiences like this, many believers will be encouraged, that unity within the church on a local level and beyond will grow, and above all that God will be glorified!
As you hear of the encouragement of your brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe in Romania, may you be blessed and encouraged as well; Jesus truly is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think - and he continues to do just that!
May you be blessed abundantly!
In Christ's Love,
Andrew & Geta & family