Romanians rely on prayer as they nurture a heart for missions at home
June 8, 2004
|Romanian Pastor Dan Boingeanu, center, prays in his home for a group of Missouri Baptist pastors going out to preach May 23. Clockwise from Boingeanu on top are: Jerry Field, Missouri Baptist Convention state director of church planting; Larry Carnes, International Mission Board strategy coordinator for Romania; Norm Howell, Partnership Missions specialist for the MBC; David Baker, pastor, First Baptist Church, Belton; and Dwayne Brown, volunteer coordinator for the IMB in Romania. Pathway photos by Allen Palmeri|
SUCEAVA, Romania – Romanian Pastor Dan Boingeanu said the Romanian Baptist church, having helped bring down a communist dictatorship in 1989, must keep on conquering through prayer.
“We continue to pray because we know that it’s a spiritual battle,” Boingeanu said. “We are not going to a village before we have a lot of prayer.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is partnering with the Romania Baptist Union on a church-to-church basis to plant churches in many of the 10,000 Romanian villages where there is no evangelical witness. On May 21-24, 18 Missouri Baptist pastors and laymen worked to establish eight new partnerships. In Suceava, Boingeanu is working with David Baker, pastor, First Baptist Church, Belton.
“We pray because we know that is the way of receiving the victory,” Boingeanu said. “God is preparing all the things before us, and we are ready to see how God is working. We are able to submit to that will, because sometimes going to a village you will start a revolution.”
Suceava, a city of about 200,000 located 30 miles south of the border with Ukraine , is the Baptist foothold of eastern Romania . Suceava has a Christian school financed by Pentecostals, who have a 700-member church here. The school is available to students from the 500-member Maranatha Baptist Church, where Boingeanu is the pastor. The school, which has been open one year, is just across a dirt road from his home.
“That school is nicer than many of our first-line schools in Southern Baptist life,” said Baker, who also is a member of the MBC Executive Board and a trustee at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
Boingeanu has developed a mission strategy that is similar to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Acts 1:8 Challenge. His church actively plants churches within an association of 57 local Baptist churches and 14 missions to whom he serves as a director-of-missions-like leader. Along with his two brothers, who are also pastors, Boingeanu has started a missionary society that has sent workers to Peru and Macedonia. Their goals are to train people for missions, to organize missions conferences once a year and to help churches support missions.
These things happen because Romanian Baptists pray. Boingeanu described how they went to a village in January to meet with someone who was not at home when they arrived.
“The missionary and someone else from the church went on home and they prayed together,” Boingeanu said. “They said, ‘Lord, we came to this village, we prayed for this village, and now all the doors are closed. Please, tell us where to go.’ And they went back to the village, and they saw a lady who was looking for someone.“
‘I came to visit my neighbors, and they are not at home,’ she said. And the missionary said, ‘Oh, you are interested to hear the Gospel?’ And she said, ‘Oh, for a long time I’ve waited for someone to tell me the truth. Let’s go to my house.’ And she asked her children and her husband to be together, and they started the meeting in her house, and we still have the meeting in her house. It’s the answer to the prayer. We didn’t know where to go, and God gave us the answer.”
Baker recognized the power in Romanian Baptist life.
“I think in some ways, the Romanians are ahead of us,” Baker said. “They have a deeper commitment. Things have been a lot harder here. I think their people know the meaning of sacrifice. I think they have a real commitment to worship that sometimes is missing in some of our churches, and just a sincerity that we might have once had.
“I told Brother Dan, I thought our church would benefit more than their church from any partnership.”
The Romanian Church is a praying church because it must coexist, for now, with the 85 percent of the population that calls itself Romanian Orthodox. Romanian Baptists are a remnant in eastern Romania along with Pentecostal and Brethren believers. Prayer is more than a nice idea; it is central to the spiritual growth of the minority Romanian Baptists who rely on it for strength against a state church that dominates culture and believes it is in need of nothing.
“The Orthodox Church is a ceremonial church,” Boingeanu said. “In the Orthodox Church, you do not get a spiritual life. In the Orthodox ceremonies, there is a lot of mysticism. We need to have a lot of prayer to confront this system.”
Citing Matt. 28:18-20, Boingeanu and Baker have all of the authority they need to reach the world. As pastors leading pastors, they are strategically positioned to reach “Jerusalem” (their local Baptist association), “Judea” (their state), “Samaria” (their region) and “the ends of the earth” (the other continents). In fact, Baker lets out a hearty laugh when remarking that “the way Brother Dan approaches things is so similar to me, it kind of frightens me for him a little bit.” Boingeanu compares their work to that of the disciples, who were sent out two by two.
“Come to Romania to help us, and let’s work together for the kingdom of God,” Boingeanu said. “We received the Bible from missionaries who came from England and from Germany, and now it’s our time to give them the Bible back. In secular Europe, they need the Bible, and God is using the missionaries from Romania to give the Bible to those countries.”