Non Slavic Romania

It would be impossible to count the number of times the question has been asked of SGA staff members: ‘How is it that Romania, a non-Slavic nation, is such an important field for your ministry?’ 

In short, part of the answer concerns both geography and logistics. Romania is surrounded by Slavic nations and in order to reach into some of these, SGA teams travelled through Romania. 

However, a more crucial aspect of the answer is that doors of opportunity were opened in Romania which at that time were unique, and which were to prove profoundly formative for the development and future expansion of the Mission.

From antiquity Romania has had a coloured and chequered history. Wars and hostilities down the centuries have resulted in much shifting and altering of borders and governance, until the present boundaries which were set in the 1940s. 

After the 2nd World War the Soviets occupied Romania and forced the abdication of King Michael, and the declaration of Romania as a people’s republic. From 1947 until 1989 people lived under oppressive Communist rule, the most difficult period being almost a quarter of a century of cruel dictatorial rule by Nicolae Ceaușescu.

These were particularly hard times for believers, but it was in these years that SGA teams ventured into the ‘lions’ den' to encourage and help their buffeted and belaboured brothers and sisters in Christ.

It was in those dangerous years too that the seeds of SGA’s invaluable teaching and training ministry were sown. The foundations having been laid in Romania, it then became a springboard from which SGA training programmes were ‘exported’ to neighbouring countries, most notably Moldova where God has used the Mission in a quite remarkable way to advance and reinforce vital evangelical worship and evangelism.

The great majority of Romania’s population of 20 million profess adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but for most of these the connection is only at a superficial level. There is a great deal of religion, but a dearth of real understanding of the Gospel and of true faith. 

Operation World estimates that there are about 1 million evangelical believers. That percentage of around 5% is significantly better than many other Eastern European countries, but it remains a challenging and chastening statistic!

Praise God that there are many positive things happening in Romania. It possesses the greatest Christian literary resources of all Eastern European countries. Some of the most committed and influential preachers and Bible teachers are ministering there. 

The work and ministry of the Emanuel Christian University is a matter of great praise and thanksgiving to God, and only eternity will reveal the extent and depth of its influence upon the spiritual life of the nation.

Emanuel Christian University, Oradea

Having said all this, Romania remains a profoundly needy mission field, with large sections of the population, such as the Roma communities, relatively unreached with the Gospel. 

We thank God that the ongoing drive to evangelize and plant Gospel churches has been effective in Roma villages as well as among the majority population, but there is no room for complacency.