Wow, the last two days have disappeared like my ten year old
son’s ice cream on a hot August day in Kentucky. Between the ladies meeting with pastor’s wives and
missionaries and the men meeting with pastors, preparing to teach, teaching,
strategizing improvements to our teaching, and reviewing our teaching we haven’t
wasted a moment’s time…but efficiency is not the biggest obstacle we face.
Yasi is a dark city.
Being located in the economically depressed part of northeastern Romania
makes it a difficult city to make one’s home yet even more evident is the
permeating presence of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Like a cold wind on a winter’s day it is an unwelcome presence
that is always felt. The Romanian
pastors say that the closer one gets to Moscow the greater the influence that
the church has on the culture and we feel it at many levels. They identify the effects of its
presence in evangelical churches as they describe the culture of pride in the
Eastern Orthodox leadership that spills over into the evangelical church at
both the leadership and church body level. Moreover, tradition slips into soft legalism that exchanges
the power of the believer’s identity in Christ to transform the Christian into
a holy man or woman of God with weak and lifeless commands.
But the Lord has been especially kind in answering prayers.
We had been warned about these realities by our team leader
Andrei Sava (a native Romanian) and asked for prayer that we would come with
humble hearts that would make it easy for the Romanians to receive us. We also asked that you pray that
the Lord would grant humility to the men and women that attend these training
sessions to hear our teaching. The
Lord has been very gracious to hear and answer on both fronts. We have had great favor with the people
that God has brought and they have responded with a Berean like eagerness to know
how to interpret the word of God. Truly
it has been a great blessing to teach in Yasi and spend hours pouring over the
Scriptures with men who love the Word as much as we do! In addition, the Lord has turned our
hearts with great affection towards each another.
This morning Philemon Yong described an unusual burden that
he felt towards the church here in Yasi and challenged us to consider whether
God was calling any of us to leave our families and homes and follow Christ to
Yasi. His words strike hard
because we know that very little help has come to this area and they are asking
to be equipped! What is more, God
in his providence has brought us here!
The church in Yasi is at war with the enemy, please join us
in praying for her; that God would raise up men and women who would continue to
teach and train with all humility, that he would continue to do this through
TLI and with a leader/s on the ground here in Yasi, that the presentation of
the curriculum would continue to be helpful and clear, that God would continue
to raise up men and women to go over the next three years to complete the
curriculum, and that we would listen to the Spirit as he leads us to consider
how he would have us continue to serve our brothers and sisters in Yasi in the
future. In Him, Keith.