Overcoming obstacles makes triumphs sweeter for Missouri Baptist missionaries to Romania
By Allen Palmeri
August 3, 2004
BUCHAREST, Romania – Getting to Bucharest was half the “fun” for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) team of missionaries who came in May to launch eight new partnerships with Romanian Baptist churches.
A series of weather-related delays condensed what was to have been a week-long outreach into one long weekend of ministry. When the Missouri volunteers finally arrived in Bucharest on May 21, they had no time for rest. They needed to hit the ground running as they fanned out into their churches. And before they knew it, on May 25, they were boarding a plane back to the United States.
Instead of flying from St. Louis to Washington D.C., as planned, the group was forced to make its first flight to Atlanta. Bob Kimmis, pastor, Dawn Baptist Church, south of Chillicothe, took charge of the situation by witnessing to his seat mate on the new flight during a rain delay on the runway.
“That may be God’s whole plan,” Kimmis said. “This guy might be a great evangelist some day (because the flight was diverted).”
For Brock Davis, pastor, Roby Baptist Church, south of Fort Leonard Wood, he will never forget all that it took on his first trip overseas to see the Lord bring four Romanians to Christ. Davis recalled all of the energy it took to fly to Atlanta, Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria before finally landing in Bucharest.
“It’s one salvation for every plane we took over,” Davis said.
Norm Howell, MBC partnership missions specialist, marveled at how well the group adjusted to all of its traveling obstacles, which included long airport layovers and unscheduled overnight stays in Atlanta and Vienna before they even got to the mission field.
“It all worked out,” Howell said. “Through all of the waiting, all of the meals we missed and all of that, the team has been exceptional and had great opportunities to witness.”
Davis wound up doing visitation May 22 in a village. His visitation partner had been trying to communicate Christ for three months with a lady who had a smoking problem, so Davis suggested that he tell her in Romanian that she first needed to ask Jesus into her heart and then He will take care of her smoking problem.
“I gave her a little testimony of a man at my church who laid his cigarettes at the altar after he was saved, and she just lit up,” Davis said. “He (his Romanian partner) told her in Romanian and then asked, ‘Do you want to ask Jesus into your heart now?’ And she said, ‘Da! Da!’ And we stood and prayed with her. I told her, ‘I want to pray over you for your cigarette smoking addiction.’ And we prayed over her, and her husband, who was looking for a job. Her husband had only attended church twice, and that Sunday morning he was at church.”
Later on, Davis preached the Gospel at a youth center, and when he handed over the service to his interpreter, three boys came to know Jesus Christ.
Kimmis met his partner, Victor Sainiuc, pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church of Falticeni, which is a city of about 30,000 people. From there they went to a village and met a young couple with two children living in a small house. The couple is finding out what it is like to live as Christians in a country where 85 percent of the religious population is Romanian Orthodox.
“The whole house was about the size of one of our rooms,” Kimmis said. “They had become Christians, so their family had ostracized them. One brother came back and looked on the walls and said, ‘Where is the Orthodox symbol? I won’t come back until it’s there.’ This family didn’t have anything materially, but they were rich because they were at peace. They were content with what they had, because they had Jesus.”
Damian Phillips, pastor, First Baptist Church, Huntsville, near Moberly, attended a meeting with area church elders in Damuc, which is near Piatra Neamt, where Phillips’ host pastor, Emil Benjamin Handaric, serves. With many Romanian pastors shepherding multiple churches on a part-time basis, there is a great need to train pastors. Missouri Baptists are being asked to conduct leadership training seminars as well as provide theological education for lay leaders and pastors.
Mac McCully, pastor, First Baptist Church, LaPlata, south of Kirksville, is partnered with a mother church in Iasi that has two village churches. He enjoyed preaching to about 30-35 youth from the main church.
“I shared from the life of Daniel,” McCully said. “I encouraged them to learn how to say the two hard words: yes and no. Yes to the will of God and no to the evil enticements of the world. They were very attentive.”
Don Buford, pastor, Liberty Baptist Church, New Florence, near Montgomery City, saw great value in overcoming all of the obstacles that the team had to overcome.
“I came with a 100 percent heart for missions and I’m leaving with 150 percent,” Buford said.
The next scheduled team of MBC missionaries will be bound for Romania in September. Another team, led by Howell, will leave in October, with two more teams heading out in November.