I have been living and serving in Romania for six years and it has been such a privilege to be used by God in this time to reach people with the gospel message and to bring the only true hope to people often without any hope.
My ministry changed six months ago. I am now involved in what is sometimes called “second line mission” (the training or supporting of those in the front line). I am the coordinator and a teacher at a school which is training Romanians to be missionaries in a transcultural setting.
Cross-cultural mission: A legacy in the church
While working in Romania, I have noticed that although communism ended nearly 30 years ago, and with it the persecution of Christians, it had left behind a legacy in many of the people in the church – a passion to see the gospel preached where the church is still underground and persecution of Christians still goes on.
Romania had been truly blessed by missionaries who came into the country after the fall of communism. Now they are seeing that they can get involved and can go out into the world to tell people the good news of Christ.
Just over 10 years ago, a few people who formed a prayer group for cross-cultural mission decided that they wanted to do more. They started Kairos Missionary Agency and, along with a Pentecostal missionary agency which started around the same time, became the first, and still the only, agencies which are indigenous to Romania and are not part of big Western mission agency.
Effective training for the mission field
After Kairos started sending out missionaries, it realised that Christians need training to be fully equipped and effective in mission. For this purpose, Kairos Transcultural Mission School (SMK) was started. SMK was small, with a handful of students living in people’s homes and attending lessons in an upper room of a church. Many of these students ended up going into the mission field better equipped and are still serving today.
A new phase
After a year’s hiatus, SMK has entered a new phase. It has been relaunched, with a new building and the first full-time staff members, myself and Anca (my wife). We hope to build on the great work the school has already done and increase what is taught and who has access to the teaching.
SMK is a one academic year residential course, focusing primarily on:
Spiritual Identity: The students seeing their identity in Christ, so when everything else is stripped away on the mission field, it will not cause them an identity crisis but instead make them rely even more on Christ.
Culture and Communication: That different cultures and languages are not a barrier to the gospel but can be a bridge to reaching people, as you learn their culture and their language. We are not going into the world to bring our culture but to bring a vital message which is for all cultures.
Evangelism: We need to be ready in season and out and to be able to give a reason for the hope we have. We need to learn how to explain the gospel clearly to everyone, working out where they already are, what they already know and helping them to take the next step to knowing Christ.
These three modules, together with many other subjects, make a training course which will, by God’s grace, grow the students into better servants for our Lord and better messengers of his gospel.
Along with classroom study, we arrange practical field trips, with three short-term mission trips to nearby countries. In November, I had the opportunity to lead the students on a trip into the Republic of Moldova.
This brought back many happy memories for me, as Moldova was where I had my first real experience of international mission, going there several times with UCCF to teach English and the Bible to students. This was where my passion for international mission started.
Being blessed by blessing others
The last three months with the students have been among the busiest of my life. I have had to organise the school and do practical work on the building as well as teaching, but it has been so rewarding. I don’t see myself as withdrawing from the frontline but instead training others alongside me, on the frontline.
Romania has started becoming a sending nation in its own right. A country that has been so blessed by missionaries coming in, is now a country being blessed by being a blessing to others, as they send out workers into the harvest field.