All graduation services are special as they are the culmination of over two years of hard work, sacrifice and study. It was therefore a great joy for one particular team to witness a number of these special occasions in Romania. The following reports give a small taste of the excitement, thankfulness and praise given to God during these services.
The graduation in Suceava was a time in which the Lord was honoured and glorified. Three students testified very movingly to the grace God had showered on them by bringing them to a knowledge of Himself and then calling them into His service. Hearts were stirred as they witnessed to the contribution which the school had made in their spiritual development and ministry. One student spoke of his intention to become a monk but the Lord had graciously intervened in his life and now, although physically unwell, he is preaching the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another expressed how totally inadequate he felt to exercise a leadership role in his local church, but as a consequence of being a student in the school he thanked God for His enabling and equipping grace. There was an evident sense of the presence of God on this occasion and the congregation wholeheartedly gave the glory to the Lord as they praised Him for everything that he Had accomplished in the experience of all the students. It is times such as these that remind us how privileged SGA is to have this ministry given to us and we pray that there will be many more similar services.
The city of Satu Mare in northern Romania has been host to an SGA Mission School over the last two years. The whole area has been opening up to the Gospel in recent times and so the training offered by the School has been strategic in developing leaders not only in the Baptist Church but also in Pentecostal and Brethren fellowships. The School maintained its numbers over the two years and in November came the long-awaited day of graduation. Friends and family joined with the Church for what was clearly viewed as a major day for believers at Satu Mare. Some of our students told their remarkable stories and expressed deep appreciation for the instruction they had received. Another led the time of open prayer and worship, so characteristic of Romanian worship. Their growth over the period of the School has been outstanding. Crowning the day was the ordination of another student, Marin, to the office of deacon. This office carries a much higher status than it generally does in Britain. It authorises him to act and officiate on behalf of the churches. Florin Negrut, President of the Baptist Association, was there for the occasion, sharing in the preaching and the act of ordination. Certificates, flowers, photographs and the celebration meal that followed made the day seem more like a wedding than a graduation! Our prayer that day was that they would go on to make a great mark for God in their city and county; that like David they will ‘serve their own generation by doing the will of God.’
Two years of study for the students of 2nd Baptist Church, Baia Mare reached their culmination at the graduation on Sunday 21st November. when the church was full. Pastor Daniel Chereji spoke appreciatively of the teaching given by SGA staff over the two years. The students had been prepared for the long-term goal and vision of planting an evangelistic church (100 of them!) in every village where there is none in Maramures county. God is no doubt working in a mighty way in this Church. Being there one can see the spiritual life and vitality of the members and the sense of God’s power at work in many lives. Pray for the ongoing work of this Church, the students who are now more prepared to go with the Gospel, for the churches in the villages and for Daniel’s health as he is still waiting for a kidney operation.