Some members and friends at Buckingham together with a number of friends from other churches seek to provide some regular support to Christians working in Romania. We also offer some small scale relief to those suffering from the worst effects of poverty in that country.
In spite of the downfall of Nicolae Ceausecu’s communist dictatorship in 1989, Romania has continued to experience numerous problems. An unstable government has presided over an economy in which relatively high costs of living must be paid for by salaries which are only a fraction of those received in the UK.
Corruption among politicians, the police force and health officials is endemic. Education is sometimes not possible (as a result practical difficulties) for children over the age of 14. Living conditions, especially in more rural areas, are little different from those faced five hundred years ago.
And yet in this religious country, there are many outstanding examples of Christian pastors and church workers.
Support for Pastors: this has included financial gifts for a number of pastors (such as Doru Decean, pictured right). Life for a pastor in Romania often involves pastoring a number of different churches over a geographically diverse area. Doru himself, while based in a medium sized church in the town of Campia, leads a team of Christian preachers and workers that help in five other churches. Wages for such people are often very low, and we have been glad to help Doru in his ongoing ministry.
Support for Ministries: it has been a joy to observe in Romania many lay people engaging in different forms of Christian ministry. One whom we have offered some help to is Milut, who uses his minibus to collect some of the poorest gypsy children and include them in the youth programmes of local evangelical churches. (Note: the young girl in blue four from the left is the Delia mentioned below)
Pastors-in Training: in view of the need to help the Romanian church of tomorrow, we have sought recently to identify and help some young men training or who plan to train for the ministry. These include 17 year old Tei from the village of Draut, who hopes to start formal theological studies once he has completed his school education. We offer small bursaries for books to people like him to help them in their costs of study, and hope to offer support to more people like Tei in future.
Church Ministries: while education for a Romanian child begins at the age of 7, gypsy pastor Marcel Lakatos has started two preschool classes for younger children in his church in the village of Batar. Due to their only receiving limited state funding, we regularly contribute towards the cost of the teacher’s salary in the lower class. Our observation of life for gypsy children in the Uk reveals the clear benefits of an early education, something equally noticeable in Romania.
Visits to UK: from time to time some friends from Romania are invited to the UK for a holiday. This normally lasts for a week and provides a very welcome opportunity for relaxation and fellowship. In October 2010, the group (pictured here with some others at the Clifton Suspension Bridge) viewed the local sights and joined us in worship during a visit that was appreciated by all. The group consisted of pastors, Christian workers and friends from Romanian churches.
Evangelical Literature: the Orthodox church occupies a very dominant place in the spiritual landscape of Romania, and influences any with teachings that are often not in accordance with the Bible. One of our projects has been to fund a steady flow of evangelical books into the school library of one of the villages we visit.
Relief for the Poor: through contact with Romanian pastors, a number of financial gifts have been given to some of the people most badly affected by poverty. These include 17 year old Danny, who we first heard of when he was travelling 21km to a local college to train as a mechanic, and often making the journey by foot when funds were lacking. We have helped him with transport costs for the last eighteen months, and Danny has recently passed his final exams.
Health: the young girl in the photo is named Delia, aged 12. Doctors discovered 18 months ago that her persistent physical weakness was being caused by a hole in her heart, which was increasing in size. Her family circumstances meant it was impossible for them to pay the money required for operation. We were glad to help in this, and the operation was carriedout in November 2010.
And many other similar things! All of us involved in this ministry testify to the joy that is experienced when helping others. We are confident that this is one of the activities our Lord Jesus would have been involved in were He physically present in this world today. We are delighted to be able to join in the labours of fellows believers in Romania, and offer some help to those who are suffering. We look to the Lord for His guidance as we continue in this work.