Today I listened to a sermon on the internet about negative situations we sometimes find ourselves in. It wont be a revelation to you to say that life has its ups and downs, it can sometimes be very difficult. Do you sometimes feel as though no-one is going through, or has gone through situations like you have? Are your situations always worse than anyone else's? The preacher drew our attention to Paul in the Bible. He was bearing the marks of Jesus as a result of suffering persecutions for Him, the way he had been treated, the stoning at Lystra, whippings, floggings and assaults had all had an effect. We too can bear the scars of things that have happened to us. Paul writes about his trust in God, when he reached a low point he trusted God, not blamed him.
Julie and I flew to Romania on the 16th January (returning on the 26th February) the flight was good but we had a very interesting time on the train from Bucharest to Cluj. We purchased overnight tickets on the assurance that Traian, Julie and I would have a cabin to ourselves. In fact the cabin was a six birth and our bunks were the top ones. Julie was not impressed!! We managed to find the guard who sold us (with out receipt) another cabin. The whole trip was a success, we accomplished everything we wanted to do. The most difficult thing was changing OACs address from Cluj to Alba Iulia. Getting the necessary papers, filing them with the judges office, waiting two weeks, hearing nothing, going to Judges office to find lost papers, all takes P + P. (Prayer & Patience) Eventually we found them ... in Alba Iulia at the office of another Judge. At the OAC European conference in November last year OAC Romania was recognised as a branch of OAC International. While we were in Cluj we had our first OAC Romania National Conference. (actually we all met in Constantins house but National Conference sounds good) We discussed the rule book and other similar interesting things. We talked generally and prayed for each other. It was a good time.
While we were staying at Constantins house we were able to go with him on an evangelistic trip to Sighet in northern Romania, approximately 5kms from the Ukrainian border. Traian, Julie and I worked with the children while Constantin and two others preached in churches. Many came to Christ. In both the morning and evening meetings we had about 80 children each time. The Sunday School teachers want us to come back in July to do some training with them and to hold a holiday club, You will get about 400 children said one teacher. They hadnt seen a programme like ours before and had never given children the opportunity to come to Christ. During the ministry times there werent many dry eyes. One teacher who had been praying for her son was amazed at the change in him. PTL. Traian also booked his puppet team into the University at Cluj. We all went along to help. The hall was full. After everything was completed in Cluj, Julie and I moved to Alba Iulia. We met the builders and organised a time in which they could start to put the house back together. They are from the Pentecostal Church and are able to do everything, plumbing, electrical, plastering, tiling etc: Each man has his own skill but they work together. This was a real answer to prayer because trying to co-ordinate all the different tradesmen was looking quite daunting. We have seen examples of their work and they come highly recommended. While we were there Julie and I were able to go shopping. We bought a lorry load of sand, bathroom fittings, tiles and cement. They are cheaper in February than in the spring. When building work commences the prices double.
To pay for building materials, builders and architects we had to withdraw money on our credit card, so far we have spent £4000. Could you help us to pay it off? We ask that you pray and help if you can. Could you mark any gifts with Berachah (means blessing)
Another answer to prayer was finding an accountant. His name is Dani and he lives in Alba Iulia with his wife Diana. He is a government inspector of taxes, examining the books of companies to see if they are paying the right amount of tax. In his spare time he works for Campus Crusade for Christ, sharing the gospel with students.
The puppet team were invited to Resita by a school Head teacher. We were surprised to find out that we were to perform in the cultural hall because he had invited all the schools in the town. There were 570 children with teachers and parents. The next day we were in a theatre with 200 children. Im sure that there was good fruit. We have received a lot of invitations from all over the country, not only for puppets but for general evangelistic opportunities. Pray that the Lord will bring us more people to work alongside us. On the 17th March we were invited to a place in the mountains about 100 Kilometres away. It was great because in the surrounding villages there are no evangelical churches. No one had seen puppets before, ever!! One lady, a teacher I think, said, It has made a great impact on the people Constantin Rodila in Cluj writes.... There are lots of opportunities for me to preach at the moment, I seem to be travelling a great deal. With Julie, Paul and others I went to Sighet in Northern Romania. It took 5hrs to drive from Cluj. We arrived Saturday evening and went to a Church. Our programme consisted of singing, testimonies and preaching. People gave their lives to Jesus. The next morning (Sunday) we were back and more people came to Christ. In the afternoon we went to another Church in a nearby village, Im not sure if people got saved there. We were back just in time for the evening service at the first Church. At the end of the service they gave us food and we drove back to Cluj. It seems that every weekend I am in a different Church, pray that I will be able to continue. 2 Timothy 4 vs 1-5.
The work here in Cluj is going very well. At the moment I am working very closely with a Church here in Cluj and my role is to organise and lead the youth meetings. Our group is growing through evangelism. When I came here it was just a group of Christian youth, now it is a group of Christian youth that is looking on the outside!! It has taken a little time to break with their tradition but now we have evangelistic meetings in the Church building and we also go out to where the youth are. The Church have given us a whole building, three floors, in which we can say is for the youth. We had a cleaning day and even the boys swept and washed the walls. It was a great sight to see!! I hope to have a table tennis table and other things one day. I am still singing with the Continentals when you read this I will be touring Italy with them. There aim is evangelism through singing. They used to go to places, sing songs and move on. I suggested that we add testimonies and preaching to the programme. They agreed.
It is a sad time at the moment because Malcolm, one of Julies brothers has passed on. He was 58 and lived with Julies mum and another brother who is mentally handicapped. Over many years he had associations with the Jehovahs witnesses which obviously led to many interesting discussions. Please pray for Julies mum at this time and for Julie as she organises the funeral set for April 2nd. Julie had another test recently at the hospital and they think there is a problem with a valve in her gullet. There is a small operation available should the doctors decide.
Andrew continues to pass exams at university. This is amazing as he never seems to do any revision which frustrates Julie and myself. He has three months left and is considering a career in the Police Force. Rebecca is doing well at Lincoln university. This is her second year. She has just failed the first part of a recent exam because she didnt read the question properly. Fortunately she should pass the second part and so get the required grade. She continues to talk to the Muslims in her accommodation telling them (in her opinion) where they are going when they die!! She, like Andrew has no interest in Church. I dont know what to write about myself except that I praise God for what He is doing through us all, Im always amazed when prayers are answered. I think its great when God sorts out the little problems as well as the big ones, it shows that He is interested in everything.
Our next newsletter will probably be with you in September. Please do not forget to pray for us all during this time. This is what we will be doing until then...
April 22nd - 27th, Spring Harvest, Minehead with Powerpack - Julie & Paul
May 6th - June 1st Romania, Alba Iulia, Open Airs - Julie, Paul, Traian, Youth group. Preparation for holiday club
July 3rd - Leave for Romania
July 5th - 12th Vienna, Open Airs - A coalition of Austrians Americans, Romanians & English
July 14th - 18th Timisoara, Open Airs .
July 20th - 29th Dragonesti, Romanians, English, Americans Dragonesti is a town in Southern Romania with no evangelical churches and lots of witches and stuff. There are no Christians so no training necessary just open airs. This could be difficult.
August 11th - 18th Sighet, Childrens holiday club & training. - Paul, Julie, Traian & puppet team
We do this work in the knowledge that we have Gods guidance and strength and your prayers and support.