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Romania Winter 2014

Iasi, Romania January 17-27, 2014

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 Winter 2014

Jan  26th,  2014Jesus is Not Done Just Yet

    It is Sunday evening, so we are packing and praying to be able to fly tomorrow with all the snow coming down right now in Romania.

Friday night we thought there would just be a little left of ministry to be done. Saturday evening we had a youth/college student conference where Duane taught on the pillars of the church that are resting on from 1 Timothy. I had to share with them what a blessing it has been to be at Immanuel Baptist Church, the blessing and responsibility towards one another as the church. At the end we had a time of questions and answers. It was encouraging to hear from the students some of the issues on their minds.

The Lord was not done with us yet. After the meeting Philemon and I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the receptionist at the hotel. This eastern orthodox woman said that she has never heard anything like we have said. She seemed opened, said that she would pray to God to save her, read her Bible and go to the church we were telling her about. Praise the Lord for the wonderful opportunity to point her to Jesus!

Sunday morning and evening we were given the opportunity to preach in the local churches seeking to preach the Gospel and the Scriptures boldly. Then we had the opportunity to have fellowship with some of the families and the topic that I was encouraged most was the interest in adoption. Two of the families desire to adopt children here in Romania. How amazing the Lord is working!

We are hoping to fly back to our families tomorrow morning, but either way Jesus is not done just yet.

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Jan  24th,  2014Last Day of Preaching


Tonight our students finished preaching from theGospel of Mark and we said our goodbyes. It was hard to say goodbye to them but we are also happy to be done. Everyone is tired after a week of hard work.


Listening to them preach has been very encouraging. In my class, all the 13 students who preached edified me. I understand it was true of the 11 who preached in the other class. Each sermon was true to the text and they worked hard to apply what they have learned in other courses.

It has been an encouraging week overall. Most encouraging  to us is that our students are able to take a text and do their best to stay with it and interpret it from the context of Mark and the rest of the Bible. There were excited to point out how Jesus the Messiah, is the Son of God who fulfills Scriptures. With each text, they answered the question, “Who is Jesus?” from the point of view of Mark. Non of the students who preached in my class ever conveyed anything that is not evident in the passage. They are able to identify the main point of each passage, com
municate it and then apply it to their own context.



The work of TLI here in the past two years is bearing fruit. Students remind us of what they learned inHermeneutics, Biblical Theology, Genesis, Ruth and Jonah and how that is helping them feel more comfortable preaching. A few students who could hardly preach during our course on Genesis preached with boldness this time. One explained that he is growing more and more in confidence as he learns more and more how to handle a text and work through it. God is at work here and we are privileged to see the beginnings of the fruit.


In addition to the courses we are teaching here, we are noticing unintended benefits of the work TLI is doing. Students commented about how they are able to stand up in front of people and deliver a message with boldness. That was not the case before. They are learning how to evaluate each other and to take criticism without feeling like they are being attacked. There is a willingness to learn from each other and ask help from each other in understanding a passage. We are also realizing that these trips give pastors an opportunity to come together and talk about ministry issues that they are struggling with. The team members who come with pastoral experience are very helpful to these young pastors.

Thank God with us for the work here in Iasi. Pray for us as we have a full weekend of ministry opportunities.

Here are some pictures of students preaching.




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Jan  23rd,  2014Preaching in the Dark

The night air was filled with preaching--eight sermons in one class, six in the other. Two of them even happened in the dark! While we were eating during our break, the power went off. But thanks to cell phones, candles, and a flashlight or two, the preaching went on. 102_8622

What is most encouraging, especially for the returning team members, is to see the growth in the preaching. Increasingly, the sermons are anchored in the passage of Scripture, with applications faithful to the meaning. And in keeping with Mark's purpose, they are pointing us to the Person of Jesus Christ. We see the grace of God at work in their lives and in their preaching. And for that we rejoice!

Please pray, as tomorrow is the final night of our course. At least eight more sermons will be preached, with pictures and farewells. 

For the team,


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Jan  22nd,  2014Jesus is Lord in Iasi

  Tonight we finished going through the Gospel according to Mark and tomorrow we will start listening to sermons from the teachers and students. These three days have been full of tough questions about the interpretation of the Bible and application of the Gospel according to Mark in the Romanian context. As I looked at the classes I am astonished and humbled to see how God could work through us amongst these brothers. Here is what I mean, the attitudes of these men has undergone a transformation these past two years, and it was evident tonight. They were trusting our teaching, they were searching their Bibles and taking notes carefully, they were asking critical questions about the text and I could see in their countenance a yearning that I could not see before. Before there seemed among some of the pastors to be a hesitancy toward us, a sense of "I know best," and reservation as we were trying to dig in the text of the Scriptures. At least this is what I saw. And now to see them opening up, sharing their ministry struggles, and seeking counsel is a great joy!

I also had the privilege to teach and preach college students at one of the local churches in town. We went through 1 Corinthians 10 to look at how Paul sought to challenge the church to fight sin and deal with temptation. We ended the night by talking how the desire to fight sin comes from knowing Jesus, which led us discussed to the Gospel. I could see from their engagement with the Scriptures that there were students who desired to walk faithfully with the Lord. I praise the Lord for how He worked through His Word!

Jesus is Lord in Iasi, He is transforming lives for His Kingdom! Please pray for continuing strength, wisdom, boldness to preach the Gospel, growth in the faith from the Lord.

For the team,


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Jan  22nd,  2014Day five in Romania

Today we had the privilege of meeting with two of our host pastors for lunch. We had a wonderful
conversation discussing a variety of pastoral ministry issues. Many of the evangelical pastors in Romania are, by their own admission, fairly young. Several in their mid-twenties.  It was interesting that they wanted to talk to us about pastoral issues that they were dealing with not because we were the American visitors but because several of us were older pastors with ministry experience. It was a blessing to be able to learn together as we discussed various church issues. Many situations
they were dealing with where the same types of issues that pastors in the U. S. deal with. However, there were also many issues that were specific to Romania culture. This was an opportunity for us to learn as well as an opportunity for us and the Romanian pastors to think through the scriptures and wrestle with how they would apply in this culture.

In the evening we continued teaching through the book of Mark with pastors and church leaders.  It
has been encouraging to minister with these leaders and to teach and study the word of God together.  There are several things emphasized in the book of Mark that we are trying to focus on.  Here are several;

  • That Jesus is the Son of God
  • He is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy regarding
    the coming Messiah
  • He is the Messiah
  • He has authority over all things
  • He has full authority and knowledge even over
    the events that leads to his crucifixion.

I had the opportunity to spend some extended time unpacking Mark 10:45 in which Jesus says “that he came as a ransom for many.”  We discussed how sometimes people get confused and think that he ransomed us from Satan when in fact he ransomed us from the wrath of God.  The good news of
the gospel is that through repentance and by faith in the work of Christ on our behalf God’s wrath is not poured out on us but on Jesus on the cross. That is unbelievably good news and should cause us to want to serve and worship our savior Jesus Christ.



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