Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Give Us Your Eyes...

Andrew visiting with Panas, a woman in a nursing home in Satu Mare.

On April 28 - May 1, 2011, myself (Andrew) and three other leaders from the church had an opportunity to take a trip together to a different city to be at a gathering of missional churches - churches that are not cast in the mold of traditional churches at all.

So we left from Drobeta Turnu-Severin on April 28th and drove to Timisoara where we stayed the night. The next morning at 3:30 we got up and left for the rest of our journey which would take us through Arad, Oradea, (and a myriad of small villages) and finally to Satu Mare, our destination - about 570km total (about 10 hours' drive!)

Beginning Friday the 29th until Sunday May 1st at about lunch time, the people and churches that had gathered from many different parts of Romania shared their experiences, asked questions,learned and interacted with each another, with the goal of understanding more what missional churches are and how they function. Some were there to share how they function as a missional church, and others were there to try hear more, and try to see if that is the direction God may be leading them.

The overall goal was sharing about and understanding more about what missional churches are and how they function. The missional church movement here in Romania is mostly made up of groups of people who meet in their houses once or more per week, similar to small study groups, except these are considered churches. In a given city or area, any number of these "house churches" meet together in a larger group setting, once a month or more, whatever the groups decide together should be the case. These types of churches are very interactional within themselves and with each other - and they are a phenomenal way to reach many unbelievers that people come in contact with on a daily basis (work, school, neighborhood, etc.), people who may not be interested in church in the traditional sense, but may be open to a gathering of friends and saints in a house setting (a house church). Based on the testimonies and stories shared at the gathering, this way of missional church - of living church daily in our every day way of life and touching the lives of those we come in contact - has opened many doors, and changed many lives.

At one point we broke into three large groups and went to visit three different places: a retirement home, an orphanage, and a psychiatric hospital. I was able to go to the retirement home, and it was very moving to see how happy and thankful the people were, just to have someone to listen to them for a few minutes. We also had a singer with us - Cristian Cazacu - who sang a few songs for them, to their great enjoyment. I think we stayed there a good hour or so, and during that time I got to visit at length with a woman who had just had her 86th birthday the day before, believes in God, but is tired of "religion". It was a great opportunity, we had a very nice talk, and just before we left she let me pray for her. It was a profound experience, and if you would like to pray for this woman, that God would touch her and turn her heart to him, her name is Panas. (She is the elderly woman in the picture with me at the top of this blog entry).

I have to say that this is an exciting time in Romania, and in the church around the world. As many of you already know, the missional church movement is not something that new, and did not originate in Romania. It is something that has been growing and building for some time, and one of the ways we believe God is using his people and working through them as time for the world grows short.

We learned a lot over that weekend (at least I did), and got to spend a lot of time visiting with and getting to know others who think in this same way. We were also blessed to stay with a family who has one of these churches in their house, and it was great to get to know them a little as well. Definitely my favorite part of the weekend, how I was blessed the most, was the time I got to spend meeting new people and in fellowship with others. There always seems to be that nearly instant bond with others that love the Lord that makes talking and getting to know one another so much easier.

And, praise the Lord, Sunday at lunchtime we headed home, and 10 hours and 570km later we arrived safe and sound back with our families in Drobeta Turnu-Severin.
Thank you Lord for keeping us safe, and helping us understand more of how you are working in our lives and the lives of those around us. Give us your eyes to see others the way you see them...Amen!
Andrew & Geta and family

Thursday, May 05, 2011

News from Andrew & Geta

April 24, 2011: Easter Sunday.
Top row: Geta, Jeremiah, Andrew.
Bottom row: Elijah, Joseph, Ammishaddai

Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Romania! We pray that all is well with you and trust that your Easter was a blessed time of remembering and celebrating what Jesus has done for each one of us.
Our family is doing well in Romania. God continues to hold us in the palm of his hand, continually blessing us and leading us one step at a time. The kids continue to grow and learn new things. It's hard to believe that Joseph is 8 years old now, Ammi 6, Elijah 5, and Jeremiah 3!
We have continued to serve God to the best of our ability where he has placed us. I (Andrew) continue to serve as an elder, leader, and teacher in the church; I have also recently started discipling/mentoring a couple of boys from the church, using the study book “Experiencing God”, a book that had a profound impact on my life when I went through it years ago with Pastor Ron Sutter. Geta continues to teach children's church using the Betty Lukens Bible Felt, and is involved in a bi-weekly women's Bible study with women from different churches, and they are currently going through the book “A Woman After God's Own Heart”.
Work on the property where we live has also picked up in recent weeks, including everything from making a new main entrance gate for the property, to working on the multipurpose building including mixing and pouring concrete, installing insulation, and putting up drywall. It is work, but the building is looking more and more complete and ready for use, whether for church services, conferences, times of fellowship, whatever the Lord desires!
We appreciate all of your continued prayers, and continued support. You have given sacrificially for us to be able to live here and serve the Lord in Romania; and we believe you have spent much time in prayer before God on our behalf, and continuing would be difficult if not for your prayers. We do have a few prayer requests, things that you can be praying for specifically as the year continues.

1. The man and his family (Ionut, Jenni, and children) who started the church where we are serving is moving to the states in June. This will leave a void in our church leadership at least for awhile as we adjust to their absence. Please pray that the leadership team that remains will continue to be united and seek after God and his will and direction without fail. Pray that we will be able to touch more lives for the kingdom of God.

2. With Ionut and family moving to the states, our family will be put in a position of more responsibility here at the property where we live, everything from paying bills and overseeing repairs that need to take place, to supervising who comes and goes, and overseeing events that may take place here at the property. Please pray that we will exercise discretion and be wise stewards of what God is placing into our hands for a time.

3. Please pray for the women's Bible study that Geta is involved in, that it would continue to bless the lives of ladies from different churches.

4. Please pray that my (Andrew's) time discipling/mentoring the two boys from church will be a great time of discovery about God and his ways, and a time of growth in the Lord in their lives. If you would like to pray for the boys as well, their names are Vlad and Mihai.
Thank you again for your continued support, and your prayers for our family and ministry. May God continue to pour out his blessings upon you as you follow him with your lives.
Be Blessed!
Andrew, Geta, and family

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -- John 16:33b