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Trips

Romania January 2013

Iasi, Romania January 18-28, 2013

TLI has started a partnership with the local evangelical Romanian churches in the second largest city of Romania, Iasi (with aprox half a million people). Even though this area has one of the largest number of Eastern Orthodox believers and churches, most of these people don't have a personal relationship with Christ and don't know the Gospel. Tradition rules over the knowledge of the Scriptures and the Gospel of grace is unknown. Our Evangelical brothers and sisters from Iasi (who are up to aprox 2000 people) face trials both from within (legalism, lack of knowing theology, bad leadership) and outside (spiritual warfare, traditions, rejection from the majority of the population). Hence, God opened a door for TLI to come alongside some of the leaders of these churches and encourage them to be faithful in their calling, training and equipping them in handling the Word of God in a Christ-centered way. Please pray for us and come with us to be blessed and be a blessing for the believers in Iasi, Romania!

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Romania January 2013

Jan  25th,  2013Life & Death at Our Doorstep

Thursday, we had the opportunity to spend time with a few pastors visiting a brother planting a church in a nearby village.  The Lord has been working through him to establish good relations with teachers and staff in the school, and even the mayor!  When Duane and I got there, we had the opportunity with the other pastors to go visit with the mayor for a few minutes.  Duane even had the opportunity to speak on behalf of TLI!  Pray for me as I will be working with this church’s music team/band tomorrow.  Pray that as I am working with the music team I will have opportunities to encourage them with the Scriptures.

At the end of the night’s lesson, a brother came to me and said: “These TLI courses opened up my mind to see how the course on hermeneutics, biblical theology, work together as we study Genesis, and then to see how it comes together in preaching. It has been brought me deeper in the Word and it excites me.”  We are so thankful to hear how the Lord is already working in the hearts of the pastors/workers that we are teaching in Iasi!

Within all this joy this week, one of the pastors got a phone call that a young man from his church was found dead in his bed.  What pain and sorrow, please pray for the family and the church as they grieve.  There is so much joy in ministry, but along with it comes death, because the curse of the Fall has not yet been fully eradicated. Pray for Duane as this tragedy has opened the door for him and other pastors to bring the Gospel message at the funeral tomorrow to believers and unbelievers alike.

Today (Friday), all the students prepared a five minute sermonette based on a passage from the chapters we have studied (Genesis 1-11).  What an encouragement to see the pastors/workers take the Scriptures seriously and seek to be faithfully handling the Word of God! 

We are seeing quite a few pastors growing over the past three trips, desiring to grow their churches to love the Lord and train up others alongside.

 

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Jan  23rd,  2013Pictures from Iasi

Mircea mentioned in yesterday's entry about our lunch with four young pastors. Here we are together at Ciprian's (our host) apartment.

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From left to right: Alex, Alex (Ciprian's son), Ciprian, Gabriel, Duane, Mircea, and Reuben

This morning, we traveled to Comorna, a village about thirty minutes outside of Iasi. Liviu, who is part of our course, is doing mission work in this village. He shared many stories of opposition to the gospel from some of the citizens. Liviu, who is in the right on the picture below, had been part of this work years ago, then served as a pastor for seven years. When returning, only two people were left (the man on the left below and his wife). Pray for fruitful labors, in a village known for drunkenness.

Comorna church102_8538

We had a fruitful night of teaching. The students are learning, evidenced by their interest in living out the teachings of the Bible in their churches. They are interested in applying the truths we are teaching to their lives and ministries. We are praying for God's continued work of the gospel in their lives--and ours.

One final note: I am so thankful to God for the time I have spent with Mircea. I have been helped by his insights into the pastors and the culture, his ability to translate (making me sound much better than I should), his perceptive wisdom in dealing with issues that need to be addressed, his leadership in worship, and most of all his heart for God. May God continue to bless and use him for His glory!

Duane

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Jan  22nd,  2013You’re a Supporter of Polygamy, My Wife Walks Behind Me, & Was God Playing?

Your standing in front of a class of 22-24 men in the basement of a church building studying Genesis 2 and during the study one man calls another man a supporter of polygamy if he’s ok with re-marriage, what do you do? What about when a man mentions jokingly (as if it’s no big deal) that in his culture the woman is seen as only for bearing children, raising children, not work, and walk 5 steps behind her husband? Lastly, what about if a man asks you if God was playing around with sin since He did not intervene when Adam and Eve sinned? How do you bring them back to the Gospel and the authority of Scripture?

This all took place today in our second day of teaching as we are continuing our study in Genesis chapter 1-11.  We praise the Lord for granting us wisdom and patience in some of these tougher moments.  We are also thankful for the opportunity to study these issues in light of and under the authority of the Scriptures with brothers and a sister from Romania.  The discussions on the issues of a woman’s worth, value, the biblical view of marriage, divorce and re-marriage are very important, so we were glad to be able to wrestle through the Scriptures with the brothers. 

At lunch we had the opportunity to sit down with four young pastors in the area and hear about their ministries, struggles and issues they are confronting.  Both Duane and I are praising God for the desire He is putting in these young pastors’ hearts to preach the Scriptures and uphold them in the way they do ministry. The Lord is raising up ministers of the Word, He is working in Iasi!  All of us left encouraged and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting with another pastor!

                Please pray that the Lord would continue to grant us opportunities to sit down with pastors and that He would speak through us to build up His church in Iasi!

 

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Jan  21st,  2013First Day of Teaching

It was a long and winding trip from Bucharest to Iasi. At least, I think it was. I slept most of the trip, while Mircea and our driver and host pastor, Ciprian, discussed politics (in Romania and America), church life, and our coursework this week. But once we arrived and had a chance to get settled, we were eager begin the first lesson on Genesis, as was our class.

Twenty-four students were in attendance, with two more scheduled to start on Wednesday. Mircea led in worship, as we committed our time to His praise. How appropriate to adore the One who alone is worthy, for He has created all things (Revelation 4:11)! We spent the first part of the class in review, walking through the highlights of our curriculum on Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology. The students were appreciative of the material and asked wonderful questions. Here are some samples:

  • When talking about cultural idols, one student asked how to discern when the time spent on a computer is necessary and when it is idolatry.
  • Another asked whether we should give new Christians (or non Christians) a copy of the New Testament. Is the Old Testament important?

Together we wrestled with the Bible, seeking to bring our lives under the authority of His Word.

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing that Gabriel, one of the pastors, has been leading the youth in his church through the Biblical Theology curriculum. It is good to see previous material passed on to others.

Tomorrow, we will meet with three of the pastors in the morning, touring Iasi and talking about ministry. Later in the afternoon, we will gather again with the students and continue with our look at Genesis. Be praying that we will be clear and that the students would profit from our teaching.

Duane

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Jan  20th,  2013Sunday Fellowship with Bucuresteni

Last day in Bucuresti, since tomorrow we are back on the road;  the weather was nice and chilly, not too cold.  My (Buni’s) uncle and aunt have been very hospitable: from warm beds, lots of hot meals, car rides, to jokes and encouraging conversations. It has been a joy to see them and other relatives, especially since I was only able to see them for one day last time I was in Romania. I thank the Lord for them and pray that He would continue to grant them a love for Him and a passion to bring the Gospel to Bucuresti and the rest of Romania!

We had the privilege of being a part of the morning and evening services at Providence Baptist Church. We started by going to the youth/young adult Sunday school class, where we spent time singing, praying and hearing from a young Englishman that works (along with a few others) with Gypsy children in the area.  The Lord never ceases to amaze me with how He raises up His people from so many parts of the world.  Though there is so much we know of what mission organizations are doing around the world, there is even more missionaries that we do not know about.  During the main service, we spent time singing, being encouraged by the choir, I was given the opportunity to play a violin solo and Duane brought a message from 2 Timothy on how should be vigilant to keep the Gospel fresh at the forefront of our minds every day. 

In the evening we got to be encouraged by the mandolin orchestra and few individual points.  I sought to encourage the church by from Romans on the assurance of salvation that the Holy Spirit gives to believers.   

My fellowship with Duane has been sweet, I have been encouraged by his love of the Lord, zeal for the Word, openenesss about how God has worked in his life and flexibility to be with in a culture that is foreign to him.  It is encouraging how the Lord can grant fellowship to His children even when they have known each other.

 We are looking forward to tomorrow as we drive to Iasi (7 hour drive) and start the sessions with the pastors and workers on the book of Genesis

 Would you pray that tomorrow:

1. Our seven-hour trip with the host pastor from Iasi would be full opportunities to encourage one another with the Scriptures.

2. That the Lord would grant us wisdom, boldness with the Gospel, clarity in teaching in the first session.

3. That our hearts and the hearts of the pastors/workers would be humble, teachable, and hungry for the Scriptures.

4. That the Lord would grant me (Buni) better translation skills.

 

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