A first visit to Romania - amazing!
I have just arrived back from a short visit with SGA to Oradea in Romania. This was my first visit and it was an unforgettable experience.
The visit was arranged by Derek Maxwell (SGA General Director) and Cosmin Marc (Missions Pastor at Emanuel Baptist Church, Oradea). I was part of a team of six, mainly Voluntary Representatives with SGA, and the visit was intended to give us some exposure to the work in which SGA is involved, with local churches in Romania. It would provide information for us to share in our home churches and on deputation.
My journey started on Wednesday 11th April, flying from Manchester to Budapest (Hungary). The group was met at the airport by Cosmin Marc, and taken by mini bus to Romania - arriving at Emanuel Church in the late evening.
Excellent accommodation and breakfast was provided at Emanuel church. We were divided into two groups of three, each group with an interpreter. It was amazing that we would be sharing in a second Easter, celebrated in Romania according to the Eastern church calendar, a week later than the UK. It did not matter if we were in a church of 2,000 or 20, one thing was common - the wonderful fellowship of God’s people. There was a real hunger for God’s Word. We were warmly received wherever we went, and the hospitality in homes was amazing. We visited Baptist Churches in the following villages: Susag, Calacea, Les, Nojorid, Bicaci, Brusturi, and Sacadat. Material poverty was evident and this was clearly seen when we visited widows in their own homes in Oradea.
We saw for ourselves new church buildings funded by SGA in Miersig and Susag, and it was a special joy to see not only new church buildings, but to meet a young man, George, who is about to become the pastor.
We were invited to take part in producing a radio programme on the events of Easter week, at the recording studio of the “Voice of The Gospel” Radio studio in Oradea. We later heard that it was broadcast on at least two occasions over the following days.
Some of the group were invited to visit the sister of a lady from Emanuel Church who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. During the visit, the Gospel was shared and the lady accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord. I returned to the UK on Tuesday 17th April, having spent a few hours on the last day seeing the amazing sights of Budapest from the viewpoint of the Citadel overlooking the city.
Most of those in the team had never met before, yet the Lord united our hearts together in the work. We witnessed the sacrificial work of pastors, prepared to travel many kilometres, often on poor roads, to conduct services in remote villages and of brothers and sisters prepared to open their homes and share their food with us.
In conclusion, the visit exceeded my expectations, and I give thanks to God for the opportunity to participate in this trip, and experience the work of SGA firsthand.