risky business?

Barnabas Bridge – Wednesday August 27 2014 – Risky Work?

The photos below are from Tg Mures. They could be from any city in Romania. And the brutal living conditions we have seen in rural villages break our hearts. We have great admiration for the pastors and their families who take incarnational ministry to an exemplary level. Limited resources, a lack of affirmation & appreciation, betrayal, frustration, are all experienced by almost everyone in ministry. But it is intensified in this country. There is not the same level of training. Many are isolated. Support networks are missing. There are also additional challenges for those who are called to the cross-cultural ministry to the Roma. Trust and respect issues, destructive gossip, threats & theft, constant violence and drunkenness, little progress in discipleship, – special people are doing this work. We get off easy when we travel. There is a sense of safety as we stick close to our friends when walking in the community. Sometimes residents refuse to move their children or work tools or carpets (being washed) when we try to take the car down the lane to & from the pastor’s house – and our hosts must do some good Romanian raised voices confrontation persuasion. It is a rented car, and to save money we do not take out extra insurance (perhaps a little risky if you have seen Bucharest traffic, or shared the road with countless horse-drawn wagons). Thus, for safety, Pastor Horvath invites us to bring the car into their courtyard. This is their garden and a play area for all the grandchildren but it is important to keep the car safe. Well, sort of safe: from the top of the hill above their house, locals often rain down stones and rocks onto the house roof, aiming for people and our rented vehicle. So we cover the car with pillows and blankets. Yet Pastor Horvath and his family remain, being there to help people in life’s challenges: offering worship & prayer opportunities. I applaud them. I thank God that we have an opportunity to partner and assist.

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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

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the solution is quite simple, really!

Barnabas Bridge – Tuesday August 26 2014 – The solution is quite simple, really!

These churches need help, really! It is a harsh reality: the difficult challenge of keeping a church open in Romania is a test of trust. It is frustrating and requires hope to stay the course. Pastor Horvath of Maranatha Church in Tg Mures has indicated that they have two major challenges as summer ends: (1) the church roof leaks: what will the damage be when the Fall rains begin? (2) gas bills are already overdue: how long can they go without heat this winter? This church has a volunteer pastor who takes from his own monthly pension (less than one day’s wage for many westerners) to pay for the building and ministry costs. He is stretched beyond limits. This congregation in the Cold Valley community is desperately poor and any idea you have about church budgets or offerings must be pushed from your mind – totally not even ‘on the radar’. Our friends in Gherla really need help to rent a larger room to accommodate worshippers and buy wood for winter heating. Our friends in Ghimbav want to minister to children and keep up with their rent of their ‘upper room’ church. And we know 1st hand of a few other churches in similar need. The solution? (1) a handyman/contractor could help assess and repair the roof (2) congregations in Canada or the USA could partner with these churches, and with just a few hundred dollars from a mission budget, make a huge difference. So ….. any people good with tools want to take a mission trip? Someone with building expertise could assist with some home repairs too. Lots of opportunity!

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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

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the children

Barnabas Bridge – Monday August 25 2014 – The Children

Corruption and poverty – this is the future for many Romanian children. Whether, Hungarian, Roma or Romanian, these kids will grow up struggling to either cope with or break from the leftover corrupt and discouraging oppressive systems of Communist rule. Even 25 years later the cycle of hopelessness persists. Now graduating from Universities is the first generation raised in freedom – freedom to see via TV, movies and internet how the western world lives. Who can blame the young adults from seeking a better future outside of their home country? The population of Romania is about 20 million. Demographic data shows children up to 14 years old make almost 16 percent of the population; young people 15 to 24 = 12.3 percent; Those over 65 = 16.1 percent of Romania’s population, and people above 85 are 1.3 percent of the country’s population. Barnabas Bridge can’t begin to make life better for all Romanian children. But by partnering with a few families and a few congregations we can bring some encouragement, some resources, & some smiles to small groups of children. We can assist some congregations that are divinely positioned to have an impact for good, for God – on your behalf let us link you to some of these opportunities.

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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

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maranatha church thank you kids

Marta & Romi kids

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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

https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

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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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

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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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

Cornel & Dorothy

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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.

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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 https://barnabasbridge.net/31-08-14-campaign/

Barnabas Bridge Tuesday August 19 2014

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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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