Record contingent of Missouri Baptists complete profitable trip to Romania
By Brian Koonce
October 4, 2005
ORADEA, Romania – The 46 Missouri Baptists who just got back from Romania brought something more than postcards and pictures to their churches. They brought home nine church-to-church partnerships and a hunger to continue to see Romanian churches grow and spread the Gospel.
After meeting with pastors from across the eastern European nation in the large city of Oradea, the Missouri teams – representing 12 churches and one association – split up to meet with pastors and congregations throughout the western half of Romania. Once matches were completed, the Missourians brainstormed with Romanian leaders about how best to reach the surrounding communities and plant new churches.
Ron Wilcoxson, pastor, First Baptist Church, Dexter, was partnered with Toni Mic, pastor, Pankota Baptist Church outside Arad, Romania. Wilcoxson and Mic prayer walked and led 16 people to Jesus in an area where there is no church, save the local Romanian Orthodox parish. The vast majority of Romanians consider themselves as members of the Orthodox faith, although most acknowledge they very rarely have a real faith. This makes the people of the former Communist-controlled nation particularly receptive to the Gospel.
“Rarely does God open the doors as wide as He has in Romania,” Wilcoxson said. “We have the opportunity to impact an entire nation, and through them all of Eastern Europe. Missouri Baptist churches who participate in a Romanian partnership will not only receive the blessing of the fruit born in Romania, but they will also see a definitive change in their church members who go to Romania to minister. Those members will come home with a spiritual fire that is sure to ignite a desire for a greater move of God at home. We plan to return there in June of 2006 to do more street witnessing and a crusade. Our hope is that when we leave, a new church will have been launched.”
Though this “vision” trip is only one of some 40 journeys Missouri Southern Baptists will make to Romania this year, it was by far the largest contingent ever taken.
Paul Negrut, president, Romania Baptist Union, met with the team and thanked them for coming. He also asked the churches of Missouri for additional partners to help spread the Word of God and plant new churches.
“There are 2,000 Baptist churches in Romania, but still there are 12,000 villages in towns with no churches,” he said. “We pray that God will give us the passion and the partners to reach these 12,000 places for the Gospel.”