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Mike and I are appointed AG missionaries to Romania, a country from which we miraculously escaped communism in November,1981. On the night of our escape, Mike took my younger brother and I, through a military guarded entrance, into the port, in order to hide us on a ship headed towards Greece, the next day. We walked right through the gate without being seen or stopped by the armed soldiers! Once we approached the ship, Mike asked us to step onto an adjacent speed boat while he went to the top of the ship and threw the ropes that we needed in order to be hoisted to the top of the ship. We had to tie the ropes around our waist and jump into the freezing water. I jumped first and as my husband began to pull me up, I only reached about 15 feet in the air when we both saw a search light from a patrol boat projected our way! At that very moment the rope snapped and I fell back in the water! Coming back to the surface, I quickly looked to see if we were caught but instead I saw that the speed boat turned another direction and went away! It was so clear to us that God was fully involved in every detail of our escape! Mike immediately threw another rope and pulled me to the top, then he pulled my brother up and took us to a small closet on the bottom of the ship that he had planned ahead for our hideout. Before the ship left the harbor, there was a final search done by a military regiment. For that, Mike took us to the oil tank that was empty at the time, except for a layer of thick grime on the bottom of it. We had to hide there until the search was done. We could hear the soldiers walking on top of the tank and we could see the beams of their flashlights penetrating through the cracks as we were laying quietly in that layer of mire. After they left, Mike came back and gave a whistle, our signal that it was safe to come out of the tank and return to our more comfortable wooden closet. We then sailed to Greece, a trip that took eight days, or I should say eight long nights, as we didn’t see the light of day, or any light for that matter, during that trip. We got off the boat at night fall, so we wouldn’t be seen by the crew but once wew were in Greece, we did not want to ask the Greek government for asylum for fear of being sent back to the ship. From Greece, we crossed the border on foot into Yugoslavia, where we got caught by the police and because we did not have legal passports, we got sentenced to three weeks of prison for crossing the border illegally. They later helped us reach the border of Italy and instructed us to ask for political asylum, once we arrived in the nearest Italian town. The Italians were very kind to us, we were placed into an immigration camp while we went through the process of being interviewed by the American Embassy and were graciously granted permission to fly to the US, our home for the last 33 years!
Along our journey, we have been telling our story to anyone who would hear about our amazing Heavenly Father who is close to anyone who trusts Him and who gives us the courage and the strength to live a life according to His plan and to cross over any obstacle that blocks our way!
We have been affiliated and serving at Glad Tidings Church in Reading, PA since 1989. Since the fall of Communism, we felt compelled to take the Gospel of Jesus to the people of Romania. Year after year we took teams all across Romania preaching the Gospel and seeing many people saved. Needless to say, after the revolution, Romania was lacking ministers, places of worship and leaders to help intergrate and disciple the new converts. Seeing this great need, we were prayed and fasted, waiting on God to show us the next step. When the answer came, we left behind our secular jobs in business and nursing and our three married children and grandchildren, and answered the call to full-time missions. We returned to Romania with the objective of planting churches, training leaders and serving in the unreached region of Southeast Romania. For the first two years, we worked at the Missions School where young Romanian people study to become missionaries to the unreached people groups and countries.
Last year, we moved to the town of Baneasa, a city in the region of Dobrogea, where, on a fifty miles radius there is not one evangelical church! Baneasa is surrounded by tens of villages that do not have know Jesus as their Savior. We joined a team of church planters in the region and together we are envisioning that the entire region will be evangelized by the year 2022! In the southern part, we saw the need of building a ministry center in the city of Baneasa which will serve as a base of operations from where we will help reach the surrounding communities with the Gospel. We have already found favor with the local authorities and were offered facilities to start a medical clinic for helping the community with the medical needs. Through a recent medical outreach, we were able to meet and serve over 800 local people! Before Christmas, more than 1200 children, parents and teachers attended our Christmas outreaches in public schools and theaters. As a result, we are conducting services on a weekly basis in a village public school.
The Baneasa Community Center, once is built, will help hundreds of abandoned and neglected children through feeding, literacy and after school programs, as well as adult literacy and job training, temporary shelter for trafficked victims, discipleship and ministry training. They will be assisted by the national leaders, students from the Missions School short term missions teams and missionary associates. Therefore, the ministry center will provide housing for ministry workers in the rooms assigned for this purpose.
The building phase will cost 150,000.00 dollars but more than the funds, we need the prayer of every missions minded partner! The building lot has already been purchased, the plans are already drawn, marked and approved, all is needed are the funds to build!
Thank you for your partnership in reaching the lost of Southeast Romania!