another aspect of ministry

Barnabas Bridge – Sunday August 24 2014 – Another aspect of ministry

Ok, so not everything in ministry is preaching, prayer, and praise. Sometimes you just ‘gotta’ eat. And Romanians know how to do this! The good thing about travelling in the warmer seasons is the opportunity to enjoy meals outside. Our friends bless us with kindness and great feasts. The reason Doug runs so many races before and after our mission trips is to compensate for the extensive Romanian and Hungarian nutritional treats he indulges in while ‘being a missionary’! It really is amazing: no matter how difficult life is, those whom we visit make every effort to feed us well. They take the ministry of hospitality seriously and dispense it with joy. And over leisurely meals shared in the garden we experience the depth of true Christian fellowship. We learn and laugh much. We share our lives. We rejoice in the good gifts God gives. We hear of their challenges and struggles. We hope and pray for a better future for their children. It is a time to reassure our hosts that God’s people half way around the world care and pray. We are strengthened and humbled. This is the best work God can give us! Join us on a future visit and experience it for yourself.

As we seek encouragement and confirmation in our obedience to God’s call to this work, please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here





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Tg Ocna

Barnabas Bridge Thursday August 21 2014

Doug has preached at Bethleem Pentecostal Church in Tg Ocna many times. This congregation is so welcoming and encouraging. They always respond enthusiastically to Doug’s teaching and seem hungry to learn from the Bible. There are a number of additional things about this ministry that we see as very positive, and bode well for their future.

1. Emphasis on joyful music and enthusiastic singing.
2. A desire to worship & fellowship Sunday morning and evening. They like to be together! The refreshment time after services is not a token time or rushed but is understood to be crucial to building friendships and a strong congregation. (photo below)
3. An intentional and ongoing desire to do personal evangelism and lead individuals to personal faith in Christ. (photo: new Christian couple with their Bible)
4. An ability to integrate members of the Roma community into the church; not a common occurrence in Romanian churches.
5. Excellent leadership by Pastor Daniel Mititelu and his wife Genina (photo below)

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here






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a new & vibrant ministry in Onesti

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here

Cornel & Dorothy


Cornel Pascu, his wife Dorothy (from Denmark) and their two children live in Onesti. He preaches and leads a ministry which we have been pleased to observe in person on two occasions. It is a joy to speak with Cornel as translator – he is a master of numerous languages. But even more impressive is to see the way this ministry has developed. Cornel has indicated that his passion is to see the next generation reached for Christ. The vision is being reached through vibrant worship, discipleship training, children’s programs and camps, and remote village (Marcesti, Botezuri) compassion and evangelism efforts. There is intentional collaboration with other Christian leaders and an expressed purpose to not be bound by manmade rules and regulations that often end up causing mission drift in many churches. On one occasion when Doug preached, Camelia committed her life to Jesus. Cornel had been in previous contact with her, but in his words, this night was her appointed hour of salvation. She had experienced a devastating fire that took the lives of two of her children, ages 2 & 5. She parented the surviving 5 children alone as her husband had abandoned the family. Real ministry is interacting with real people in real need, and allowing God to change lives.



Pascu ministry in villages

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Tg Mures; prayer in multiple languages

Praise God! Yesterday we received our first donation for this month! Thanks to a new friend in Montana! This will be the start of God providing for 2014-2015? – sure hope so! Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here

Barnabas Bridge Tuesday August 19 2014


Sunday evenings in Tg Mures are always interesting. The music and the praying is loud! (this is Gypsy style! – combine it with Pentecostal and you will find it impossible to sleep at this church service!) Maranatha church is full to capacity and there is great freedom and emotion when Doug preaches. One thing we note on every visit is the readiness of people to seek out prayer. There is not the same kind of reluctance/shyness/pride – or whatever – that seems to hold back many North Americans from admitting their need and crying out to God for help in their lives. Yes, their situations are more desperate, but still it seems to be an attitude difference. Experience this with us sometime and you will see what we mean.

In this photo we are praying for those who came forward after Doug finished preaching. Pastor Horvath of Maranatha Church in Cold Valley (left) is praying in Romanian, Doug is in the centre and praying in English, and Pastor Zsomber Horvath-Kovacs of another church (right) is praying in Hungarian – and those for whom prayer is being offered are Roma (Gypsy).

This is a city split pretty evenly between Romanian speaking and Hungarian speaking people – many are bilingual. There is also a significant Roma population. All of this makes for a unique challenge to Christian ministry. Some facts about Tg Mures: It sits on the banks of the Mures (or Maros) River. Targ in Romanian means ‘market’. Vasarhely in Hungarian means ‘market’. So the city is named Targu (older spelling is Tirgu) Mures in Romanian and Marosvasarhely in Hungarian. In this part of Transylvania is common to see signs in Hungarian and Romanian. So, “MARKET ON THE MURES”. The Sunday morning outdoor market covers many acres of ground, and is the largest we have ever seen! The first written records of this city go back to 1332, though the city is older than that. The population is about 150,000.

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preaching in Romania

Barnabas Bridge Wednesday August 13 2014

Tonight we had sixteen sit down for dinner at the church. This is a big deal for such a small congregation. Thursday night pot-luck and small group Bible Study has become important in the lives of our people. I am so thankful for St. Andrew’s – they have a big love for Jesus, for the Word of God, for singing the praises of God, – and they recognize the importance of thinking globally. Our church, when they issued the pastoral call, officially allowed for an extra two weeks annual leave to do mission work. St. Andrew’s, when the Elders approved the Romanian mission, also processes donations through their designated accounts which allows the issue of Canadian charitable tax receipts.

During this month we are sharing a daily report and some photographs of our work in Romania. It’s about raising funds, yes, but it is about so much more. We want you to know the stories and faces of some of the churches and people of Romania we have come to love. Our mission is to help strengthen the churches, to befriend and assist the Christian leaders, all so that the work of Christ will prosper, so that the discouragement of poverty can be defeated, and so that the next generation will serve the Lord with vision and purpose and joy. Our goal is to offer you and your friends/churches/families opportunities to connect and support. Barnabas Bridge is a small and simple mission: people you know directly relating to real people in Romania. We can find people and projects that spark your interest. We can take you along on one of our trips. Please consider joining our cause. We operate on a shoe-string budget and we will never be able to respond to all the needs before us. We can do a few things well.

We encourage you to read our daily email/posts, take a look at our August campaign information here, pray, and assist. We have received some good positive feedback over the last two weeks but we are still looking for our first campaign donations. Thanks for your partnership. We love all of you and our friends in Romania. Below: two photos from 2012 of Doug preaching in Timisoara at Stinca (Rock) Baptist Church and Tg Ocna at Bethleheem Pentecostal Church.



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where it all started

Barnabas Bridge, Tuesday August 12 2014

Our first Romanian ministry experience was in the city of Bacau, at Biserica Sfanta Treime (Church Holy Trinity) with pastor Marian Paduret. He was able to gather pastors, leaders, young adults and missionaries from around the region for periodic educational gatherings on a Saturday, Barnabas Seminars. Sometimes Marian would teach, and sometimes he would invite international guests to lead the day-long seminars. Doug was honored to be asked to teach a few times, and on two occasions was able to bring colleagues. Patrick Voo focused on “The church and post-modernism” and Cathy McMulkin presented on “Spiritual Formation”. The Sunday following the seminar day, allowed for opportunities to preach either in Bacau or at a church in another community – and we were busy ministering Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Over the first two years of our Romanian mission trips, 2010-2012, Doug was able to get to know a half dozen churches and communities this way. Since then Pastor Marian was able to connect with some enthusiastic and generous American church partners to initiate a bold and effective mission expansion into Bacau and also the Republic of Moldova. You can see more of ValoarePlus (Values Plus) in one of the links below. I believe there are still some Barnabas Seminars from time to time. Pastor Paduret is well educated, has incredible energy and vision, and is able to accomplish much for the Lord. He has planted three churches, and I am sure there will be more to come. In this region dominated by the Orthodox Church, and in a climate of despair and hopelessness, there are many individuals seeking the assurance, peace, joy and purpose that can be found in yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Valoare plus has resulted in effective Gospel outreach into the educational and business community of Bacau. While Barnabas Bridge has branched out to connect with many other churches and ministries in other areas of Romania, and while the Barnabas Seminars have not been part of our recent experience/emphasis, the Barnabas Seminars, Pastor Marian Paduret, his family, and all of the people at his church, continue to hold a big part of our hearts when it comes to Romanian memories. God bless them! One of the goals of Barnabas Bridge is to take the Barnabas Seminar model into the more isolated areas of Romania to provide ongoing education and training. A special Bacau memory is the Sunday evening that Yvonne spent a few hours speaking and fellowshipping with the sisters. You can see the picture below and find her message on the Barnabas Bridge blog. Pray for the Paduret family, and all aspects of their ministry.

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here

Paduret family



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Romanian Orphans

Barnabas Bridge, Monday August 11 2014

Another connection made through Facebook resulted in encouraging visits to the ‘Beauty From Ashes’ Center in Oradea. The Romanian Orphan Ministries organization has found leadership of the highest quality to lead this amazing work. Corey and Diana Burba are dedicated, entrepreneurial, loving, creative, hardworking servants of Christ. Corey is from the USA and Diana is from Romania – their complimentary gifts foster an efficient, safe, and supportive environment. They have two wonderful children and their extended family includes the young women they mentor along with a great team of support staff. As girls leave the state-run orphanages at 18, they are rarely equipped to survive on their own. The fortunate who are selected to enter Beauty From Ashes will learn to plan and prepare meals; grow, harvest and preserve garden fruit & vegetables; establish, maintain, and promote small businesses, including making items to sell, price setting, marketing, and budget tracking. We were impressed with the creativity and professionalism of their boutique business. Touring the house and property was like a visit to a grandmother’s rural home where she fills her freezers, cupboards and cold cellar with homemade food to last until next growing season. There is opportunity to be tutored in English, to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to participate in regular outdoor mountain hikes and picnics. But most of all, this is a home filled with the love of Jesus. Devotions, worship, Bible study, plus weekly church attendance are designed to make serious and long-lasting disciples. It is our joy to refer you to a couple of Facebook pages that will tell you more. There is an opportunity to assist with the sale of their boutique items in your country. We are glad to be able to connect with the Burba family. We would love to introduce you to them.

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here   

Burba familyIMG_8769 

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Barnabas Bridge Sunday August 10 2014

So far we have made only one visit to Suceava, a city in Romania’s north-east. Pastor Catalin Croitor & his wife Paula provide dedicated & patient leadership to the Bethlehem Baptist Church. It was our pleasure to learn of their outreach into poverty-stricken villages, their encouragement & support of a very busy and effective pregnancy centre, and their commitment to train Bible centred leaders. Doug was able to preach at a mid-week service. They meet in a very small worship center until funding is attained to complete the new sanctuary – a building program in process for 15 years! The church is praying for partners to assist with the cost of the heating system which will allow a move to the basement of the new building. Theological students travel great distances to learn in the 3 year program. This Suceava congregation ministers in Bahana village, where the church there had lost its roof in a fire. Amazing that while in their own building efforts they assist this church with rebuilding. Pastor Catalin asks for prayer for Speranta & Corneliu Bozu & their 6 children: all 8 live, sleep & eat in one small room. Only the father has a job – and that being the cleaning of dirt from roads, which offers only very small pay. There are opportunities in Romania to assist churches like Betleem Baptist and families like the Bozu’s. Barnabas Bridge can help make meaningful partnerships a reality. Just ask us. We will never forget the enthusiasm, sense of humor, and amazing hospitality shown to us by Paula & Catalin.

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here

Suceava church sign

suceava new sanctuary


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a new approach to church in Romania

Barnabas Bridge, Saturday August 09 2014

In our last post we introduced you to the city of Timisoara in western Romania. We stay there for this post as well. From the historical/traditional Hungarian Reformed Church of Lazlo Tokes to the successful new church ministry of Kairos. We were so excited and blessed to spend time with Pastors Sava & Wendy Tomin. They lead with grace, authority, and vision. There is an intentional focus on relationship building as opposed to program development. We were impressed with Kairos’ intentional effort to mentor and empower new leadership, including the designation of additional assistant pastors grown from within the ministry. Meeting locations are functional and chosen so as not to remind newcomers of traditional religious institutions. Again, the emphasis is on relationships. It was an incredible experience to be included in the regular Sunday evening leadership meeting. As we gathered in Wendy & Sava’s living room, we witnessed a time of prayer, a time for discussion & debriefing of the morning worship/teaching gathering, planning, vision casting, and leadership training. I had to wonder if church leadership teams in North America would be so willing to give up their Sunday evenings week after week. It seems a good recipe for church health and growth. Join us in giving thanks for Kairos and praying for their effective Kingdom of God outreach in the important city of Timisoara.

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here




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never underestimate Romanian church people

Barnabas Bridge, Friday August 08 2014

Never underestimate the influence of a Romanian church or the Romanian people. The people of the Hungarian reformed congregation would rather take on the Communist Dictator than let their beloved pastor be taken away from them. The late Charles Colson, in his book about church life, The Body, features the story of brutal dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and faithful pastor Laszlo Tokes. From 1987, Tokes quickly gained immense popularity – a very real threat to the establishment. Faith had given Tokes eyes to see what could happen when the church understood its identity, when the people stopped thinking of their faith as just a Sunday morning ritual and understood that the church was the community of the people of God that could infiltrate the world. But the growing vibrant church was unnerving to Communist leaders. They threatened members of Tokes’ church, and parishioners had to run a gauntlet of secret police just to enter the building each Sunday. Once the service began, agents would stand in front of the church cradling machine guns in their arms or dangling handcuffs in front of them. Merely attending church services became a silent act of protest. Meanwhile, Tokes was denied his ration book; without it he was unable to buy bread, fuel, or meat. Then Tokes himself was attacked. Four men, their faces concealed behind ski masks, burst into the pastor’s small apartment in the church building. Laszlo and Edith happened to have visitors that evening, who helped them fight off the attackers with chairs. The assailants ran away, leaving Tokes bleeding from a knife wound in the face. Soon after the secret police must have concluded that killing Tokes would simply make him a martyr. Instead, they would render him ineffective by exiling him to a small, remote village outside of Timisoara. A court ordered his eviction from his home and church, setting the date for December 15, 1989. On December 15, 1989, the secret police came to take Laszlo and Edith. They brought a moving van for the Tokes family’s belongings, but they never got to load the truck. For massed protectively around the entrance to the church building stood a human shield. Heeding their pastor’s call, members of the congregation had come to protest his removal. The extraordinary demonstration continued throughout that night and into the following day. Then, late in the afternoon, the people took the protest a step further. For the first time in their lives, Romanians shouted their secret dreams aloud: “Liberty! Freedom!” Before dawn of December 17, the secret police finally made their move and broke through the people. Laszlo and Edith took refuge in the church sanctuary near the Communion table. Police beat Tokes until his face was bloody. Then they took him and Edith away into the night. With their pastor gone, the crowds moved from the Hungarian Reformed Church to the central square of Timisoara. Savage police gunfire claimed hundreds of victims, but the people of Timisoara stood strong. By Christmas 1989, the world reeled with the results of that stand: Romania was free and Ceausescu was gone. The pictures below show the church where it all started. It was amazing to tour this church. Wow!

Please read about why our Barnabas Bridge August campaign is so important by clicking here




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