Mladin works on helping MBC workers enjoy Romania
By Allen Palmeri
March 2, 2004
ST. CHARLES – A leading figure in the Romania Baptist/Missouri Baptist partnership came to St. Charles Feb. 9 and spoke about how excited he is that Missouri Baptists want to help plant churches in his native land.
Onesimus Mladin, general secretary of the Romania Baptist Union and pastor of Love Baptist Church in Arad, met with Norm Howell, Partnership Mission Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) for the first time.
“It seems like we agree on exactly how we can run the partnership," Mladin said.
This completes the handoff from MBC Executive Director David Clippard and MBC Associate Executive Director Roy Spannagel to Howell, who is quickly becoming familiar with the details of the partnership.
“Onesimus and Norm Howell are two peas in a pod," Spannagel said. “They are very detailed individuals. Paul Negrut, David Clippard and Roy Spannagel may be casting a huge vision, but it’s these men who will help put the nuts and bolts together to make these partnerships work very effectively."
Mladin spoke at First Baptist Church, Dexter, and Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, before coming to St. Charles to speak to a gathering of about two dozen pastors and laymen interested in the partnership.
“I am praying seriously and I am willing to do whatever I can to make sure that all Americans will have a good ministry experience in Romania," Mladin said. “Generally, Americans are welcome in Romania, and those who come in our churches will have a wonderful experience.
“We have several things to learn from Americans. When they come over, they bring new ideas, and they have such a zeal for personal evangelism. As a result of the partnership, many other new churches will be planted in Romania."
Spannagel explained the importance of Mladin’s position.
“Onesimus is a very warm Romanian," Spannagel said. “He’s also a very detailed man who is in the right spot for the responsibility that he has. He is the one individual who will be helping us put together the details of church-to-church partnerships.
“Onesimus will be choosing the very places where our churches will be interacting and relating with Romanian churches. All of the Romanian people come across with a deep warmth, and that can be summed up because of the person of Christ—Jesus living in their hearts."
Mladin and Negrut work with 1,700 churches in their union.
“Continue to pray that God will give us the vision to see exactly what we can do, not only to evangelize our own country but also think beyond our borders," Mladin said. “Romanian Baptists may be able to spread the Gospel in areas where Americans are not welcome yet. We have access in those countries, and our church needs to see that vision. We could go in Iraq and also Iran much easier than Americans can go."
Mladin comes from a Christian family. In Romania, the true Christians are derisively called “Repenters." As a child, his teacher wondered about his unusual name. Mladin said it came from the Bible—Philemon 10, to be exact. That prompted another question about his family.
“Are you ‘Repenters?’" the teacher asked.
“Yes," Mladin replied.
“That was not a very pleasant moment," he said. “At that age, I felt ashamed."
Said Spannagel: “We are absolutely delighted that Onesimus was able to join Missouri Baptists in several meetings. We have found it to be true that every time we talk about the partnerships in meetings that somebody else’s heart gets stirred about going to Romania or Iraq."