Romania Trip Report
Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have safely returned from our trip to Romania and it is with great joy that we give the following report of our trip.
SUMMARY. Three of us stayed for two weeks and traveled about 1,700 miles all over the Moldova and Transylvania area of Romania. Two fellow jail volunteers at Cook County, including Bob Faulkner and Romanian Constantin Lupancu, who now lives in Chicago, and I visited churches, villages, and prisons from Bucharest to the Ukraine border and west to Tirgu-Mures in the heart of Transylvania. At the beginning of the trip, I committed myself to not complain about anything and for the most part, each member of the team did well in this area considering the tremendously grueling and arduous aspects of the trip. The eastern Europeans I observed never seemed to get tired and set a blistering pace for us pampered Americans. For two solid weeks we were in a preachers paradise. Constantin knew everyone and they were so happy to see him that we had more invitations to preach and eat than we could accept. Every night, we were in a church somewhere and Bob and I would give a full message while Constantin translated for us and also gave his own testimony. I poured my heart out for the sake of the Gospel. On Sunday, we would do this in three churches. I gave two seminars a total of 63 people and because there is obviously little interest in working in the prisons by the churches, especially in the Botosani area, I preached the seminar (from 10am to 4pm) instead of presenting it in order to inspire and encourage them to work with inmates. In addition, we all preached in services in three prisons to over 100 inmates and staff (including two imposing Greek Orthodox priests/Chaplains who carefully watched and listened to us). Just to get into the prisons is very difficult. One prison worker said that we might have to bribe the guards to get INTO the prison! (We didn’t) Also, there are Greek Orthodox priests assigned to every prison in Romania. We preached the unvarnished message of salvation to hungry hearts who, with only a few exceptions, had never heard the message of the new life in Christ Jesus before. At the invitation to ask Jesus into their heart and to have a new heart, every single one of the inmates rose to his feet and prayed to receive Jesus as Savior. Of course the Enemy was there to try to steal the seed that was planted but to those seed that fell on good ground, we believe that much fruit will come forth. And what about the follow-up you ask? Well, a committed prison ministry sister in Bucharest named Elena Munteanu has committed herself to write to each of the inmates that we ministered and to send each one an envelope and a stamp so that he can respond. We took the names of inmates in two of the three prisons and sent them to her. Also, for the first time, Chaplains for Christ has committed to financially support a Chaplain. We will be sending $150 per month to a man experienced in jail work but who could not be involved in it without financial support. We are praying that as this man begins to work three days a week in the Tirgu-Mures (Transylvania) prison, within one year he will be recognized by the government as the first Evangelical (and non-Orthodox) Chaplain in the country of Romania. One of the chief officers of this prison was very open and kind to us having been an exchange student in the U.S. previously.I could talk of the mud-brick homes and the widows and orphans and so much that was done by brother Constantin in giving financially to the poor and my brother Bob who expressed such a love for the people of Romania. Someone asked him at the beginning of the trip, “What do the people of Romania need most?” They need so much that the question seems daunting. Unexpectedly, at the end of the trip, I was given an opportunity to speak to the people of Romania and address this very question. The director of an orphanage that we stayed at invited me to travel with him to Bucharest and join him in a live, forty-five minute, and prime time interview broadcast to 15 million viewers via national television, which has no Christian television programs ( the tv station was TV O). That morning, the Lord gave me this message for the Romanian people which I believe is their greatest need. The nation of Israel and the nation of Romania share a similar history. Both were delivered from the bondage of harsh rule. When Israel came out, they had no water, they found bitter water and complained about that. Their complaints never changed the bitterness. However, Moses cried out to God and He sent a tree (a shadow of Christ to come) and the tree made the bitter waters sweet. Then, they continued to Elim where they found many wells of water. Even so, Romania can complain and find the waters of their souls to remain bitter or they can allow Jesus to change the bitter to sweet with Living Water that will become rivers of Living Waters and will satisfy so that they thirst no more. At the end of the program, so many calls came in asking me questions about what I had said that the station could not take all of them. I noted seven of the questions including: What do you believe? What religion are you? Why do you go to prisons to preach instead of to free people? Who are more open – prisoners or free people? Finally, the moderator asked me if I had any final message for the Romanian people. I looked into the camera and said, “Jesus loves you and wants to turn your bitter waters to sweet if you will make Him Lord of your life. Find a Bible and read it to find out more about this wonderful message from God to you.”Thank you for your continued support, love and encouragement. Even as we pray that the Lord will bring forth fruit that remains in Romania, I ask that you pray for the next trip, which comes so quickly. On Oct. 4th, I fly to Khartoum, The Sudan to minister for one week in four prisons, purchase and distribute 1000 Arabic Bibles in those prisons and conduct the prison training seminar. Then, I travel to Cairo, Egypt for another week of prison ministry and another prison training seminar.
Please pray that the finances will come in and the Lord will protect me during the journey.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Chaplain Rob Brown