Romania in September





This was visit #4 for Yvonne and visit #7 for me – all in less than 3 years! We are thankful for the encouragement and support from people all around the world, and for the backing of our home church St. Andrew’s, Kimberley. This latest venture was quite exciting and fruitful, but not without its challenges.


People assisted with the provision of more than a suitcase of school supplies – designated for kindergarten work at Maranatha Church, Cold Valley, Tg Mures. However, as we visited with Pastor Horvath and family, it became clear to us that we should hold back some of the supplies. On our last day we re-visited Charis Foundation (a retreat, camp-like ministry in western Romania, near Oradea, close to the Hungary border) – it turned out that they could really use the remaining school supplies. In just a few days they were to host a children’s Day Camp; 45 children had been invited but 65 children were registered. They were preparing for 70. The donated supplies were provided by Canadian friends just at the right time!



Now here is a simple but cool story about the supplies going to Romania. When it came time to do on-line check in for our flight leaving Calgary, I got through all the steps save one, and then was told I had to print the boarding pass at the airport kiosk the next day. I was not happy! We arrive at the airport and try to do just that, and again they failed to print. I was not happy! I was frustrated. So a West Jet/KLM staff member comes to assist this grumpy customer. I said I was trying to check my 2 suitcases plus the extra one (which I was willing to pay for) but the stupid machine was not working.


As she kindly takes us to the front of the line (nice) she asks about our trip. It turns out her family heritage is Romanian, and she personally makes sure we are not charged for the extra school supply suitcase or our overweight case with the additional school supplies. So, see, there was a reason why we could not check in online or at the kiosk! Saved some money and got to speak about our work in Romania and the generosity of our people. We could see her then proceed to tell all the staff about church missions to Romania!


Yvonne and I did this trip having some but not all of our Mission costs covered. So, in faith, we trust that additional support will come in before the end of this year. Again, I can provide details if God impresses this on your hearts.


Wow – it was such a learning and blessed adventure.

We held a brief children’s program on Monday September 16 2013 at Maranatha Church in Cold Valley, Targu Mures. We did not expect the number of kids who turned out, nor the wide age span. It was fun though!


The children and their leaders had made a poster to say thanks to “Kimberley & Cranbrook” – note the Romanian & Canadian flags on the poster. Most of the supplies will be kept for future children’s programs and the Kindergarten. A few of the older children who do attend school took a filled case home with them.


Charis Foundation founders and Directors Daniel & Mona Cuipe were thrilled to receive school/arts supplies as well. For this ‘photo op’ Daniel proudly wore the Canadian baseball cap we had brought for him.


THANKS again to all those who donated the supplies/money for the suitcase and a half we took to Romania … and to the two couples who generously covered the additional $150.00 we spent once in Romania for the school project: our best friends Sandy & Dusty Papke of Ontario and my sister Heather & her husband Ed Willis of Massachusetts.


So many people assist with the Romania mission – we are grateful. The last two mission trips have been supported by many. Special appreciation is mentioned to Rev. Jim Hearne of Balfour, BC, who sends monthly support, and our daughter Hannah & her husband Peter Gimby of Calgary who amaze us with their stewardship discipline & generosity.


We love our work in Kimberley. We love our work in Romania. God is good.


Thanking you for your friendship

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in just a few days – Romania!

bb map pic

Hi everyone,

Just a very brief note to let you know that next week Yvonne and I leave on another Missions/ministry trip to Romania. This is trip #7 for me and trip #4 for Yvonne. This trip we will visit some churches that will be new to us, for encouragement and teaching – we have way more invitations than we can fit in! We will also spend a number of days in Tg Mures, in the Gypsy village of Cold Valley. This is a very needy and difficult community. Our good friends, Pastor Horvath and his extended family always offer incredible hospitality. What an experience to preach and worship at Maranatha, the Gypsy Pentecostal Church!

I am excited that our congregation, St. Andrew’s here in Kimberley, is partnering with this church to begin a Kindergarten for 15 children – due to open September 16, while we are there. St. Andrew’s is looking to raise $300.00 per month for 10 months, which will cover the salary of the full time teacher.

If you know of anyone who has this type of global kindness on their heart, generous assistance large & small is welcomed. Donations for official charitable tax receipts (Canada only) can be sent to ST. Andrew’s c/o D&Y Johns 117 Norton Ave. Kimberley BC V1A 1X8, or you can always donate using Paypal at

We just need to know whether you want to assist with the Maranatha Kindergarten project or give to support our costs to do ministry in Romania. They are two separate funds. We have a few faithul supporters for Romania, some who donate every month and some every year – wow, you are blessing indeed! Thanks.

We will certainly take photos, make a detailed report, and hopefully post updates on both or

Most importantly we appreciate your encouragement and prayers for safety and energy.

We leave Calgary the morning of Thursday September 5 and arrive in Budapest the next day. We return Thursday September 19. I have registered for my 5th official half marathon, this one in Budapest a day after we arrive (jet-lag anyone!?) but I have been receiving care for a 5 week leg injury, so this will be a last minute decision!


The primary motive in writing is not to ask for money, really. The real desire we have is just to keep you informed about our great adventures! We are thankful to our new church, St. Andrew’s for showing how much they believe in Missions and how much they recognize our passion – the provision of two paid Mission weeks a year is generous and awesome!!!!

We have enjoyed an awesome summer: grandchildren have come to visit: we held an extended family reunion in July in S. California and Disneyland; I officiated the fun wedding of nephew Jordan Willis to Chelsea, also in California; Yvonne had a great ‘travel writing & blogging’ seminar in Boston last week; and last May we attended an incredible European Leadership Forum for ‘study leave’ – Wisla, Poland. And I will end a 16 part sermon series on Thanksgiving in October – something always happens when you ENCOUNTER GOD.

Life is good, God is good.

We love you all – Doug & Yvonne

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From Europe

Saturday May 25
Hi everyone!
The official course work part of the Study Leave has begun. Already this morning we have been challenged and inspired by three presentations done in a live TV style taping session:
* Nola Leach is the CEO of one of Europe’s leading Christian charities and she spoke on THE TOP 5 LESSONS LEARNED AS THE CEO OF A CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION:  the need for vision, the need to understand the times, the necessity to team-build, the necessity of honesty, the requirement to be Christ-like
* Peter Mead is from England. He regularly instructs on subjects relating to Biblical preaching, and he did his D. Min. degree at Gordon – Conwell Theological Seminary, my M. Div. school. This session, A FOUR-LOCATION PREACHING JOURNEY, took us through the steps of moving from the ‘passage’ to the ‘pulpit’: the Study (the private place with God, in The Word), the ‘stop & pray’ place, Starbuck’s (the public place), and finally the ‘stand & deliver’ place.
* Jim Cecy, Senior Pastor-Teacher at Campus Bible Church in Fresno CA, regularly teaches in Europe. Jim has written The Purity War: A Biblical Guide to Living in an Immoral World, Snowfall Press, 2011. We were able to hear his first presentation on “Sex- it really is God’s Idea”.

This afternoon we each have a 4 hour seminar. I will attend David Robertson’s (Presbyterian Minister from Dundee, Scotland) A Church Based Strategy for Persuasive Evangelism while Yvonne will take in Women Entrusted with Scripture with Ann Blaser.
Our first of two visits to Targu Mures in Romania was such a blessing! We were graciously received and joyfully welcomed. Yvonne and I had time to speak with the Pastor of Maranatha Pentecostal Church about how St. Andrew’s Kimberley will be able to partner with them over the next year to expand ministry into the very needy Roma Village called ‘Cold Valley’. Look for details soon. We return there after the European Leadership Forum for a weekend of worship at their two churches and relationship building with the Horvath family.
By the way, how appreciative they were for the generous response of our Kimberley church, Barnabas Bridge partners, and our family and friends from around North America that helped ‘keep the heat on’ in Maranatha Church during the winter. They were so glad to be able to pay the gas bill and again have a building to gather in for worship and prayer. So thanks to all of you who made donations!
Thankful for you all
Doug & Yvonne
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European Leadership Forum – May 2013

Yvonne and I are right now attending the ELF (European Leadership Forum) in Wisla, Poland. Over 750 ministry leaders have gathered, representing 43 nations. Our common bond is Jesus, and our desire to see spiritual renewal and church growth in Europe. We are here to (1)  gain some new inspiration and insight into how to serve our home church of St. Andrew’s in Kimberley, BC, Canada  (2) to network with European ministry leaders (3) identify individuals who may be able to assist us in future Barnabas Seminars  (4) identify local Romanian churches where our BB ministry may be of some help’

The purpose of ELF is to be “a bridge between local leaders’ needs and God’s global resources …..  so BB fits right into this so well!  It is a forum to unite, equip and resource Evangelical leaders in Europe.  But so much of what is being taught here will be helpful to our church back home. What a joy to be here. What a great way to spend ‘Study Leave’. I am thankful to St. Andrew’s and our Presbytery for releasing funds and time to take all of this blessing, and to share with Yvonne in this great adventure. – Blessings to you all – DJ

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Barnabasbridge … a ministry to and with Romania

We appreciate your interest & encouragement in our ongoing work with Christian leaders & churches in Romania. The recent trip in October 2012 was blessed of God & truly rewarding. We were disappointed in the Canadian Embassy’s denial of a visa to Alexandra Racheru, our International Ministry Intern. This happened during the final days of our trip, & required extending our time & travel plans at significant additional cost to try & seek clarification from the Embassy in Bucharest. We were not given an opportunity to speak to any official nor any satisfactory explanation, & sadly returned Alexandra to Onesti. To a certain extent our frustration has dissipated but our resolve remains strong. The highlights of all that went before are not to be overlooked & are noted below. Romania Mission Trip #5 was intentionally designed to be different from the previous four. Our desire was to cultivate new relationships & identify additional opportunities for partnership. We rented a car and travelled around the country! It was a productive journey! We called this our “Facebook Mission Trip” as most of the contacts & destinations were made/arranged through Doug’s ever-growing social media ministry. With over 1500 Romanian Facebook friends, there were more than enough invitations & opportunities to keep us busy!

  • Our adventure began in Timisoara, the birthplace of the December 1989 Revolution. Our host Sava Tomin guided us through the Reformed Church where it all began, where Pastor László Tőkés lived & ministered. It was a very emotional experience to be standing at the rallying point that spelled the end of communism & Dictator Ceauşescu.
  • Pastors Sava & Wendy Tomin became good friends quickly. If only we could have half their energy to serve Christ! What a welcome we received! Together they lead a dynamic new Christian community. The emphasis is on building relationships for discipleship/mentorship, & not so much on programs. We see it’s working well. Check out their Facebook page here
  • Pastor Catalin Covaci, who on Easter 2012 began an International English-speaking church in Timisoara, International Grace Community, hosted us along with extended family, for a traditional Romanian outdoor B-B-Q at his home. We met with numerous people involved in a variety of ministries: an American doing refugee education & encouragement, a Romanian couple running Christian Kindergartens, & an American couple involved with “Precept Upon Precept” ministries.
  • Our first Sunday in Romania was spent in Timisoara, so Doug was invited to preach at Stinca (The Rock) Baptist Church, where Catalin is Associate Pastor. Yvonne shared at the evening worship. Later we were blessed to be part of the regular Sunday evening Kairos leadership team meeting at the Tomin home. This group is a model of how to ‘do church’ in a way to effectively reach a new generation for Christ.
  • In Oradea we met Corey & Diana Burba who founded & run The Beauty from Ashes Center for Orphan Girls.  A delightful couple with two small children & a wonderful extended family at the Center. We were shown warm & generous hospitality by the girls. Truly a blessing.
  • Oradea was also the location of Charis Foundation. Located in a rural setting, this retreat & training centre is home to a number of interesting initiatives. The program “2 Cultures, 1 God” links international church groups with the ministry & culture of Romania, including outreach to Gypsy villages & congregations. Mona & Daniel Ciupe have amazing dedication to the call God has placed on them, as well as an obvious gift of hospitality. Great food, conversation & fellowship awaited us. The Nehemiah School of Discipleship resonated with us with its similarity to our goals of Barnabas Bridge: the offering of intentional quality training for Christian workers unable to attend Bible Schools or Seminary. Take a look at their website
  • Tg Mures was our next stop. This was a last minute addition to our itinerary & wow, it was a blessing from the Lord. Thanks to Eva Sebi Horvath & her extended family, we were given an enthusiastic ‘royal’ reception. Can you say “volumes of Romanian home-made cooking”?  Pastor Anton Horvath has a moving testimony & the family dedication to a Gypsy church ministry through the years is inspiring. This was our first exposure to an urban Gypsy Village. We have maintained regular video contact with the Horvath family and hope to return for some ministry collaboration. We were really touched by the way aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters – the Horvath clan – joined us on an evening stroll through the downtown streets. Thank you Eva for introducing us to your city, church and wonderful family!
  • In Cluj we met with Canadian Presbyterian Missionary Brian Johnston. Brian is an accomplished photographer, an ordained PCC Minister, and teaches English & music at The Protestant Theological Institute. Students here train for ministry in the Hungarian Reformed Church in Romania (and 3 other denominations) and we were thrilled to meet with several enthusiastic & competent students. We discussed their dreams for the future of ministry for their denomination. We were given a tour of an efficient student & volunteer led Christian telephone emergency assistance ministry. Find more information here:
  • Cluj was also the city where we linked up with our friend Raluca Arhip, a Dentist who we met at earlier 2010 & 2011 Barnabas Seminars in Bacau. We enjoyed a morning together at the impressive Salt Mines tourist attraction in Turda. Look at what we found:
  • After a picturesque drive through Transylvania, including the Dracula-made-famous city of Bistriţa, we reached Suceava just in time for the Thursday evening mid-week service at Bethlehem Baptist Church where Doug preached. Pastor Catalin Covaci & Paula were gracious hosts, & were great tour guides. We pray for this couple as they reach people for Jesus, expand their ministry with children, minister to the poor, & finish supervising an impressive & much needed new building project.  On Friday morning they arranged for a meeting with two women who run an amazing crisis pregnancy centre in the city. Also that morning we enjoyed the music and colourful costumes of a regional cultural festival in a local park.
  • Week #2 started Friday with our drive to Onesti. Here Alexandra Racheru and her father George filled the next four days with good food, great Christian fellowship, & ministry opportunities. We met some faithful brothers & sisters that evening at the Brethren Church where Doug preached. Saturday provided an opportunity to preach at a new ministry led by Cornel & Dorothy Pascu. That night there were special guests from Norway & Denmark. We got to reconnect with Barnabas Seminar participants & good Danish friends Kjeld Lykke Olsen & Ena Lykke Olesen,. On trip #4 we got to see & hear of their exceptional ministry in 4 rural Gypsy villages. Sunday morning we returned to the familiar Trinity Pentecostal Church in Bacau (, where our Romanian connections all began, & home to all previous Barnabas Seminars. Doug loved preaching there again, & we enjoyed seeing Pastor Marian Paduret (, his family & the congregation. Preaching yet again that evening, we were thoroughly blessed by our visit to Bethlehem Pentecostal Church in Tg Ocna. This is a church that inspires us with its vitality, evangelism, & generosity. They have always been so supportive of our ministry. Thanks to Pastor Daniel Mititelu and his wife Geanina for their kind welcome every visit! The post-service fellowship & refreshment time last for hours and reminds us of St. Andrew’s Kimberley! It is so important to build into each other’s lives. Monday we both spoke at a meeting for youth, an evening of worship & fellowship at the Pentecostal Church in Onesti. It was a time of tears & smiles as Alexandra said words of blessing & good bye to each young person. Little did we know that the visa rejection a few hours later would change our emotions so quickly.
  • Our remaining days included multiple frustrating days & non-productive visits to the Embassy in Bucharest. Resigning ourselves to no further possible progress, we spent time in Brasov, & Onesti with Alexandra & Louiza Andone. Following an emotional goodbye, Yvonne & I finished the extended time in Romania with some personal rest & relaxation in Brasov  and Rasnov.

We must say a huge thanks to our hosts & also to our translators. Translating is as important as the preaching & teaching itself. One translator in particular, Alexandra, was kept very busy during our week with her. We are so grateful to the Lord for leading us to this work in Romania. We must acknowledge the kind & supportive congregation we partner with here in Kimberley. What a gift that they recognize this passion & call on our lives. There is no congregation like St. Andrew’s! Our ministry has been greatly enriched by colleagues Cathy McMulkin & Patrick Voo who each took an opportunity to come and teach in Romania. Who of you will be next?

Please follow us on Facebook so you will know of our 2013 Romania plans. We are looking for partners (prayer, financial, ministry & teaching). Check out the two blogs: &   Doug is also on Twitter (@presrevdoug). Our emails are &   Doug’s phone is 250-432-9531. Yvonne’s phone is 250-432-9584. If you sense God prompting you to support the cause with a donation, or by actually coming to Romania with us, we’d love to hear from you. Donations made through St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kimberley will receive official Canadian charitable tax receipts. Online gifts with PayPal can be made on the Barnabas Bridge website. Our address is 117 Norton Avenue, Kimberley BC V1A 1X 8.

Enjoy the life that Jesus offers,  Doug & Yvonne Johns,   Kimberley, BC,   January  2013

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2 new developments

Saturday September 8, 2012

God has graciously opened a door for us to return to Romania in a few weeks. Our financial partners/investors are generous! It has been exactly a year since our last ministry/mission trip. The air tickets are purchased but the schedule is still being developed. We know we will be in Timisoara the first weekend. We leave from Vancouver Wednesday October 3 and return to Vancouver Thursday October 18, in time for Synod meetings in White Rock. The focus of our trips is usually teaching a Barnabas Seminar but this time we will make additional contacts with some churches & ministries, visit some new cities, and hope to preach multiple times both weekends. Yvonne and I trust that we can connect with many of our Romanian Facebook friends, and visit again with the wonderful & inspirational Christian friends we have made on previous trips.

The Barnabas Seminars – especially with Pastor Marian Paduret in Bacau who had this exciting idea and vision years ago – is still our primary objective in the years to come. We love to teach, and to have North American colleagues accompany us. Many have said they are interested, but could not commit to this Fall. We are looking for others to come along on future visits to this wonderful country.

Follow all the details and blessings of our October work right here on this blog, and on Facebook or Twitter.

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update from Romania

I want to share with you a recent email from our colleague Pastor Marian in Bacau, Romania. Please take time to read and follow the links. Thanks. God is doing amazing things through his leadership in evangelsim, church planting (Paris, London, Darmanesti, Tg Ocna) and mission work (Republic of Moldova). If we can raise up partners, Yvonne and I will return to teach/encourage our Romanian brothers & sisters. We also wish to bring an international intern to North America. ( )

Greetings from Romania

First of all I want to thank you very much for your support and prayers.

This summer, so far has been busy and blessed – in special the last month of June .  We had a Barnabas seminar in Bucharest , and one Seminar in Chisinau, capital of the Republic of Moldova. Both meetings have been a blessing for the church leaders that participated.

Also  we had the blessing of dedicating the church Building in Darmanesti.  After  all these years, to see the reality of what was just a dream years ago, is a great reward from God.  Thank you for your prayers.

One of the blessed evenings we  had last month was when we had a diner for families. We rented a restaurant and  had 50 % saved couples and 50 % unsaved. It was great.  We stirred curiosity and built  friendships and won trust of these people that started some of them to visit the church.

We also were able to do ministry in 5 community’s in The Republic of Moldova  helping the poor and preaching the Gospel.     It was humbling to help the extremely poor people and we really loved especially the kids ( a lot of them)!

The reason I write this short  letter to you is to ask you to keep us in your prayers. Please continue to pray for us.

This month we  will have a camp with the youth from church. Please pray for us that will be a time of life-change for many.

We are in the process of opening a non profit organization  to work with the youth and kids in the school in the district, and not only this,  but it will also have a wide range of ministry – a great blessing. The name of it will be” Value Plus”.

Beginning with September we will start Barnabas Seminars  again. We need your prayers and support for this.

Thank you again for all and God bless you.

Pastor Marian Paduret

Trinity Church

Str. Orizontului nr 16

Bacau , Romania

ph – +4 0747 12 03 08

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barnabas bridge launch

In the Fall of 2010 Pastor Marion Paduret of Bacau, Romania, shared a vision, extended an invitation, and within a few weeks I was making my first visit to Eastern Europe. I met wonderful people, was inspired by their spiritual and youthful enthusiasm, and soon began making plans for future Barnabas Seminars.  This is all about a two-way flow of ideas and encouragement. God is in it, and humbly we ask the leading, blessing and anointing of God (Father, Son, Spirit) on Barnabas Bridge ministry initiatives. Come join the adventure – trust the Lord by traveling with us or offering your support prayerfully and financially.


March 24 2012 personal update:

With mixed emotions I officially report what many of you already know: We have been invited to minister in Kimberley BC. All of the various steps used to confirm God’s leading in this kind of ministerial move have been completed. It was decided at our Presbytery meeting on Tuesday of this week that I we will end our relationship with First Church Brockville May 31st and begin with St. Andrew’s on June 1st. Mixed emotions because farewells are difficult. Yet new opening doors excite and inspire!

As we get closer to that date I will offer more details about how to stay in touch with us. I will tell you some of the things that God used to draw our hearts to the Kimberley ministry. This will be our third move to do ministry in BC! We will also reflect on our 5 years in Brockville and our last ten years in Ontario. God has been good, through victories and challenges!

All of you are important to us, and we sense that God continues to expand our base of colleagues & friends not only across Canada, but around the world. I can say that the Kimberley opportunity will enable us to enthusiastically leverage our time and resources so that our vision for the Barnabas Bridge mission to Romania (and perhaps other Eastern European countries) will become a reality.

Thankful to God for all of you!


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