Two more trips by Missouri Baptists to Romania draw near
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptist Convention Partnership Missions Specialist Norm Howell and Pastor Gregary Bunn of Humansville Baptist Church are planning a return trip to Romania.
The trips will be Sept. 11-20, and Oct. 9-18 and will cost about $1,700 dollars for anyone interested in participating. In April, Howell and Bunn went on a vision trip to assess the needs and opportunities in Romania.
“The past couple of trips that we have sent teams on in Romania, one had been in the Bacau Association. On that trip we sent seven or eight Missouri Baptist pastors and most of them are partnering in that area.” Howell said. “Gary Longenecker (recently retired pastor of First Baptist Church Lebanon) was our team leader. It was a great trip and a real eye opener for a lot of people.
“Another group that we sent in May was led by Bobby Miller, pastor, Moores Chapel Baptist Church, Glenallen, in the St. Francis Association. He took four or five people from his church and area. They went into the Brasov area, which was Bobby’s second trip there. They have already partnered and now they are going back a second time to work with the existing churches. There are many, many opportunities in Romania with every kind of ministry we can think of.”
Howell emphasized the need for Missouri pastors to sign-up for the September and October trips.
“What I really want to see accomplished are churches that would like to partner for about three to four years with a Romanian church,” he said. “That they would build in that relationship and would continually take teams maybe once a year or once every other year to a location and help them with different types of ministry. Maybe even help them start a third church where the two of them would work together. That would be one of my primary goals. I’m looking for churches that would be interested in partnering with a church in Romania.”
Bunn also had some comments about the future of the partnership.
“Personally I would like to see every person, particularly every pastor, but every church member that possibly can to take an overseas trip,” Bunn said. “I would really like to see a small group of people return over there. To go 6,000 miles and do Bible club does not seem to me to help them unless that is already a part of their program. It seems to me the best thing to do would be training, to really help them develop their skills, to hone in on what their skills are and when you do leave you are leaving something behind. When you go over there and do a backyard Bible club, it is like you are doing what they could do.”
Finally, Bunn had some remarks on what people who sign up for these trips might experience.
“I was told that where I went they only see Americans twice a year and so the first couple of days they were just checking you out to see if you are real,” Bunn remarked. “They are very reverent when it comes to church and the Bible because of their past. Even though you have got the language barrier, you get past that and you are accepted. They are affectionate people and want you to know how much they appreciate what you do. What I had in common with them was the belief of a relationship with Jesus Christ is the way to heaven. They do not treat their Bible like they would another book and that impressed me. I think we have taken it for granted because we do not know what it is like to not have the Bible. Once they get into worship it appears to me that they are one hundred percent into it. They do not seem to do it half hearted.”
For more information about the upcoming trips to Romania you can reach Howell at 573-636-0400, extension 620, or Linda Stockton at extension 621.