Monday, May 3, 2010

Preaching in Romania Sunday Night

After the morning service and lunch I had a short rest and then did some preparation for the evening church service.
After a two hour drive into Bucharet from the bible Institute, we stopped for a Romania chicken shwarma, the best shwarma I've ever had, and I've had lots. I took a picture of this place and the chicken "mass" that was being cooked. They have 7 spits on the go so there is always meat available and the place is busy! It is know throughout Bucharest and now I know why!

Then on to a Brethern Church for the 6:00-7:30 evening church service. We walked in as they were singing a hymn (without instruments) and I was amazed at the scene. There were about 150 believers present for this evening service (apparently evening church services are still very much the norm here in Romanian evangelical churches), men on the right as I walked in and the women on the left. All the women and girls had head coverings on (which I am very familiar with being raised in the Plymouth Brethren chapels of Canada). The center portion of the sanctuary was down a few steps. On either side of this main section was a raised section. Then completely around the sanctuary was a balcony in which there were a number of people including some children (I walked around later and discovered the children's nursery/play area was up behind the balcony).

The singing was beautiful with voices blending together, I could hear some young boys (see the picture below outside the church) clearly in the pew behind me. There were a good number of younger men and boys as well as young ladies and girls present.
A couple of hymns and a prayer (everyone stands for every prayer) and then I was ushered to the pulpit by my translator Emmanuel (he is on staff here with his wife Tereza and he is a gifted young man who has been used greatly in evanglism and discipleship here. Now he is assisting the director in many areas of ministry). It was about 6:15 and I was told to preach until about 7 pm. When I heard of this opportunity on Saturday I was asked to carry on in the portion they were studying on Sunday evenings and so I had John 14 to cover (not an easy passage to cover for some verses and especially through translation). However, the Lord gave me freedom and clear thinking and the right illustrations I believe and when I got to 6:50 the translator told me I didn't need to stop at 7 pm and to keep going that it would be OK with the people. This is the first time this has ever happened to me as a preacher!
I ended at about 7:10 pm with a challenge not to allow our hearts to remain troubled because 1) we could trust God, 2) Jesus has gone to His Father's house to prepare a place for us so this world is not our final home, 3) Jesus is coming again for us, and 4) in the meantime we can show our love for our Lord by acting according to His will because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who can help us in our struggles, give us understanding in our seeking after Him etc. After I sat down tired but sensing the Lord's blessing, the congregation was asked to sing a hymn. During the hymn the elder beside my translator asked him to take me back up to the pulpit where I could share more of my testimony or whatever I thought would be good to share! So for 20 minutes more I shared God's working in my life. I am so grateful for this opportunity and for the conversations afterwards (a number of the men were very familiar with DTS and Drs. Pentecost, Walvoord, Toussaint, and showed great appreciation for the teaching by these men and others). It was a wonderful time of fellowship with belivers, very few who could speak to me in halting English, but who obviously loved the Lord and His Word. Things we might see as impossible hindrances to ministry these believers accept and continue to share.

I got back late and then had a great conversation with Emmanuel. He and his wife are enjoying their second anniversary today! (They will now enjoy it with a pound of Starbuck's Coffee and maybe a special meal out because many of you as God's people have been so good to me). Pray for the staff here at Word of Life who share so freely, generously, and effectively. They have already become a great example to me.

The students have been away for a week of outreach ministry (they study for 3 weeks and then go out in ministry all over Romania for the fourth week). They have this morning to recover and take care of various things and then we are going to start classes this afternoon. I'm looking forward to it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow a lot of time in the pulpit! You must have loved it!