Bethel-Polo team labors in Romania
INDEPENDENCE—Teams from Bethel Baptist Church of Independence and First Baptist Church of Polo joined forces to minister halfway around the globe in southwest Romania. There were nine people from Bethel and three from Polo.
The team traveled to the city of Calafat, Romania, during the first week of August to build a new addition to the church there. The members worked right alongside the Romanian believers, doing construction during the day and attending worship services at night.
“I was amazed at how well our folks worked with the Romanian congregation,” Bethel Pastor Jim McMechan said. “Even though we didn’t always know what they were saying, and they didn’t always understand us, when it came down to it, concrete is concrete. You pour it the same way there as you do here.”
Several ladies were on the team and they cooked and cleaned with the women of the Calafat church. Each day the small church provided a lunch and a dinner for 30 people, many times having to wash dishes between courses. When the ladies weren’t assisting in the cooking, they were prayer-walking around the area.
On Friday afternoon of the week, the team traveled to three other nearby villages for services. Each village church meets in a small house and they depend on one pastor to make the rounds to preach God’s Word to them. The church bus is a small 17-year-old Dacia car, which Romanian Pastor Daniel Tanase uses to pick up people for church. Sometimes it’s a tight fit to get all the people who want to come to church into that little car.
“What impressed me the most about these believers was their constant devotion to Christ,” said Marilyn Potts, a member of the mission team. “Even though their life is hard in many ways, their love for the Lord is so evident.
“One night when we traveled to the village of Maglavit we found that the little group of believers had been waiting for us for three hours. They were so hungry for God’s Word that they came and just sang and prayed three hours before church was even supposed to start.”
The project that the team undertook at times involved a lot of hard work. When they arrived, they often lacked equipment or tools. A quick shopping trip solved some of those issues.
The Calafat church is currently meeting in the basement of an old house, but the members have great dreams for a new church building. The total cost of the project is about $30,000 and with the help of the partnership with Bethel Baptist Church they are well on their way to getting the work done.
One of the highlights of the trip came during the Sunday morning worship. The team from America got up to sing, “Amazing Grace,” but they had hardly begun the song before the Romanians were joining in. As the two languages blended together in a wonderful chorus of praise, tears came to every eye.
“You just can’t know until you go,” McMechan said. “When we were worshipping together, we had a sense that the love of Christ had bound our hearts together. We all looked forward to the day when as believers we would stand before the throne of the Lamb worshipping in perfect harmony, with everyone singing together. What a day that will be!”