Romania trip exceeds expectations of MBC leadership
By Allen Palmeri
October 7, 2003
JEFFERSON CITY – Sixteen church-to-church partnerships have been birthed between Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) churches and Romanian Baptists following a recent 10-day trip by Missouri Baptist pastors to the Gospel-starved European nation.
"The trip actually exceeded my expectations," said Roy Spannagel, MBC associate executive director, referring to the Sept. 22-30 pastors’ conference in Romania that drew 30 Missouri pastors and laypeople and more than 200 Romanian pastors.
"The people who came back were absolutely enthralled with the time they had. They came back with a deeper passion for God and for church planting."
Spannagel launched the partnership in May when he traveled to Romania with David Tolliver, pastor, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs. The two of them signed a three-year partnership agreement that came to life with the September trip led by MBC President Monte Shinkle, pastor of Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, and MBC Executive Director David Clippard.
"We feel good about the fact that we were able to put one of our teams in every region of Romania," Spannagel said. "We want to develop the principle of multiplication. First there were two. Now there have been 30. Next we hope to see 90 folks going, and then 90 multiplied again."
The next trip is planned for the spring of 2004, Spannagel said.
Missouri Baptist pastors were kept busy preaching during their recent trip. After being sent out at noon Friday (Sept. 26) to their assignment in Romania, the Missouri Baptist pastors were called on to preach five or six times, Spannagel said. Gerald Davidson, pastor, First Baptist Church, Arnold, preached once on Friday, once on Saturday and six times on Sunday, Spannagel said.
Clippard preached at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Oradea, and also at a baptism service near the Ukrainian border. About 35 people came to Christ in those services, Spannagel said.
Mike Quinn, pastor, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Hartsburg, preached at a funeral service that lasted two hours. Quinn’s wife, Becky, said a brass band led a funeral procession of pastors, men and women in front of a horse-drawn wagon that transported the body to the cemetery.
Although communism is no longer a threat, the Greek Orthodox Church that makes up between 80 to 90 percent of the Christian population tends to look down on true believers.
"Persecution is not over in Romania," Spannagel said. "They still are resisting evangelicals in the villages."
Becky Quinn, administrative assistant to Clippard, said she learned of a term of derision that Orthodox adherents apply to Baptists and Pentecostals. That term, ironically, is "Repenters."
Missouri Baptists returned from their preaching experiences all over the nation to encourage one another in Oradea.
"It was a very powerful time," Spannagel said.