The first town our team visited immediately upon arriving to Romania was Anina. It is a little mining town in the mountains, but the mines have been closed. This has left the people who still live there for the most part unemployed or retired. Beni Lup from Bridge to Europe whom I have mentioned in some earlier posts helps pastor a church there several times a month called Hope Church. Hope Church has its own amazing prophetic history as it was formerly a building used by the secret police during the communist era. For close to 40 years a believing woman in the town would come down to the building, lay hands on it, and pray that it would become the town’s church building. One day a man from inside the building began mocking her and asking her what she was doing. She told him and said something to the effect of, “One day you will be the mayor of Anina and you will give us this building for a church.” He laughed at her and told her to go away. The building was in the service of communism trying to destroy Christianity. The thought seemed utterly ludicrous to him. However, God had the last laugh. That building was eventually given for a church by the man she had spoken to, who had indeed become the mayor!
We were the first team to be able to stay in the newly finished bedrooms on the top floor of the building and had a delightfully full two days ministering to the people of Anina and near by villages. They were hosting a week of evangelistic meetings at night, of which we led the first two. My husband Nathan powerfully proclaimed the Word, I danced to “Alabaster Box” which I mentioned in my post about the Roma people, and our worship team did a beautiful job of leading worship in a cross cultural setting where they didn’t know the language. There were times where we were able to sing in English, and the congregation sang the same lyrics in Romanian and it was glorious. It was like a small taste of heaven! Beni also asked me during worship to lead the congregation in simple movements to a few of the worship songs such as “Hallelujah”. He explained that it is in the Bible to dance before the Lord in worship, and he invited people to follow me. The memory of leading Romanian men and women in simple arm movements will forever be etched in my mind. It was thrilling to see a tiny picture of the unity of the body of Christ! Even though they had not been exposed to worship dance before, even men from the most conservative neighboring congregations were amazed and longing for such freedom in worship for their own church. It touched their hearts in a profound way and each night at the end of the service, 5 or 6 new people received Christ into their lives for the first time.
Nathan and my father-in-law Jack had the opportunity to train pastors from the area during the day time while the women on the team ministered to some of the local women. Many of the women were unable to attend because of work, so the majority of those we prayed for and taught were older and very precious in the sight of God. They had walked through very difficult times of persecution and were so touched to hear that God sees them and knows them in the hidden place. I interpreted Psalm 40 through movement as a heart’s cry to the Lord and again found that it transcended language and cultural barriers beautifully. They said could feel in their own hearts what I was dancing.
In the afternoon we traveled a few miles up to New Hope Church where around 70 kids and young people were waiting for us to have a service for them. We worshipped in song and movement with them, my brother-in-law Chandler shared a message, and we gave them some candy. They are absolutely precious! We were honored to have met them.
Our church is going to partner with Beni Lup to help establish a Bible Training School for pastors in Romania and other Balkan countries that will begin in Anina. My husband has always desired to start a training center, and by the end of the trip we were already talking about helping start 2 schools in Romania! We are also hoping to start a training program at our church in Knoxville. We know this is such a huge vision, and we can not do it by ourselves. We are asking for the Lord to bring us those who would desire to partner with us and Bridge to Europe in this phenomenal opportunity.