Romania Twenty Years of Reaching Hungry Souls
In recent years, our churches in the western and southern regions of Romania have experienced significant growth. In addition, the Romania work has expanded into new areas, including the city of Coroteni in the southeast region of the country, and the towns neighboring the city of Pascani in the northeast.
To help guide the growing work, several mission trips were made in 2017. In each, the teams focused on visiting our church locations, encouraging the saints, and reiterating sound doctrine. During the most recent trip, which began on October 2, John Musgrave, Director of Romania Work, and his wife, Rodica, along with their mothers, Edna Musgrave and Viorica Marincus, visited a dozen churches in two weeks.
The ladies gathered for a time of Bible study and fellowship, using our Daybreak lesson on Philippians 4:8 as the main subject. They enjoyed a discussion that lasted nearly two hours.
The first week was spent among our southeastern church locations, starting at Bucharest, which is the headquarters church for the eastern region, and is pastored by Gheorghei Macovei, the Eastern Romania District Superintendent. There, the team toured a nearly completed church building and participated in an evening service. Afterward, the ladies gathered for a time of Bible study and fellowship, using our Daybreak lesson on Philippians 4:8 as the main subject. They enjoyed a discussion that lasted nearly two hours, making this first Ladies’ Fellowship session a great success.
On Friday, October 6, the group traveled to Margaritesti accompanied by Reverend Macovei and Ted Bora, the Western Romania District Superintendent. They toured the new church there before driving to Osica de Jos, where they were greeted by eighteen people. This was the largest group Reverend Musgrave had seen at this location. The front area of the church had been remodeled recently to create a nice sanctuary. There was a sweet Spirit on the service, with many tears and expressions of joy. From there, they went to a service in Ghindeni. About thirty were in attendance at this location, which had started with a single convert just eight years ago.
The next day, the team went to Motatei Sat for a service in the new church building there. The sanctuary was nearly full as some of the neighbors had accepted invitations to attend. In the evening, a second Ladies’ Fellowship was held, this time at the Craiova church, which is the headquarters for the southern region. The church is pastored by Pavel Balanoiu who leads the work in that area. Forty-eight ladies attended, and again the lesson was well received. At the same time, a ministers’ meeting was held with about twelve men in attendance. On Sunday, the team attended a service at our church in Capu Dealului.
During the second week, the team visited our locations in western Romania. On Wednesday, October 11, they attended a service in Sanpetru-German, and during the announcements, heard a good report of the 2017 youth camp. The next evening, they went to a service in Zadareni, the western Romania headquarters location, and reported a good time of prayer and fellowship. That Saturday, a ministers’ meeting was held at the church, while a few miles away, sixty ladies met for the third Ladies’ Fellowship, which was another success.
Sunday morning was spent worshiping with the saints in Comlosu Mic. The congregation had grown since the year before and several improvements had been made to the building. After the meeting, a meal was served in the new activity area. In the afternoon, a visit was made to the Gottlob church, and here, too, some major remodeling had taken place, including murals painted on the Sunday school walls. The final service of the trip was on Sunday evening in Teremia Mica. This church building was completed in 2011 and the congregation now has youth and adult choirs, which sang during the service. They also have a small orchestra which provided a few specials.
Viorica said she especially enjoyed the services on the west side of the country where she grew up. She said it was a tremendous blessing to see the children in Teremia Mica playing their instruments.
Looking back on this trip, Viorica said she especially enjoyed the services on the west side of the country where she grew up. She said it was a tremendous blessing to see the children in Teremia Mica playing their instruments. After coming to the Apostolic Faith Church in Portland thirty-five years ago and experiencing this Gospel, she had a burden for the churches back in Romania. During this trip, she was so thankful to see firsthand that God truly has a plan for a work in Romania.
After returning home, Edna testified that although she had heard many accounts of the work in Romania over the years, what touched her heart the most was witnessing the familiar sweet Spirit of God in the Romania locations. She said it was such a blessing to be so far away, yet still feel right at home because she was among the people of God.
During an earlier mission trip in June, a team of ministers and pastors made several home visits in southeast Romania in the city of Coroteni. This is a new outreach area about ten miles north of our church in Ramnicu Sarat, which sends ministers twice a week to hold services in Coroteni. A church is under construction there, and a service was held in it. Reverend Musgrave said the sanctuary has a capacity of about thirty, but he counted forty-seven inside and several more standing outside. Many in attendance were in need of salvation, so he was happy to see that everyone stayed to pray.
The next evening, the team attended a service at the Ramnicu Sarat church. Around one hundred attended, and there was a good response to the altar call afterward.
Another newer outreach area is Pascani. Five years ago, our workers began regular visits to the families who live in the thirty-five villages surrounding this city in northeastern Romania. They were invited into many homes to share the Gospel, and a few took the way. Since then, the work has grown from dozens to hundreds. During the mission trip in June, our team visited several locations in this area.
In the town of Baia, a church building has recently been donated, and on Saturday, June 4, the team attended the first Apostolic Faith service held in it. There were about forty in attendance. The next day, a water baptismal service was held in Bosteni, which is within walking distance of Pascani and serves as the headquarters of the work in that area. The three candidates were the most recent of ten who had received salvation in Bosteni during the previous eighteen months. Now, they help make up a congregation of seventy. On Sunday evening, a church service was held in Humulesti, and again, the congregation size was about forty, including children. The final service of the June trip was held in Vanitori Neamt. More than one hundred gathered in the yard of a church member’s home for the meeting, and afterward several responded to the invitation to pray.
Earlier in the year, Harlan Lee of Roseburg, Oregon, made his fifth trip to this region, and spent two weeks making numerous home and church visits. One of the towns he went to was Sodomeni where a former bar has been acquired and remodeled for use as a church. The newly configured church has a congregation of about ninety. A few years ago, this town was subject to frequent problems and police visits, but now our workers report that there is great joy among the citizens. Harlan joined the saints there for a service and said they had a wonderful time of fellowship lasting three hours. During that time, two gave their hearts to the Lord.
We marvel at how God has blessed the work in Romania, which started less than two decades ago with a single Sunday school, and pray that many more souls will answer His call.
Timeline of Apostolic Faith Work in Romania
The work in Romania began in 1998 when two couples (John and Rodica Musgrave, and Ben and Rhonda Marincus) visited the Marincus childhood home in Lovrin and found that a church had been built on the site. The pastor and his wife had been praying for assistance in spreading the Gospel, so after returning home, the couples enlisted the help of a few others in translating the Biblical doctrines that make up the core beliefs of the Apostolic Faith work. When the men returned to Romania in March 2000, they saw that the Lovrin congregation had fully embraced the doctrines. The following timeline shows how the work progressed from that point.
- 2000: Recognizing the need for a Sunday school program in Lovrin, a team from the Portland headquarters helped to translate curriculum, purchase a building and van, and conduct Sunday school workshops. In August, the first Apostolic Faith Sunday school in Romania was held with 120 students attending.
- 2001: A workshop was held in Lovrin for the pastors of neighboring churches. They were instructed in how to hold Sunday school, given information about our doctrinal beliefs, and provided with translated materials. Several months later, a team visited each location, and as a result, Apostolic Faith Sunday schools were established in six locations.
- 2002: In May, the Sunday school location in Sanpetru-German was dedicated as the first Apostolic Faith church in Romania. Five months later, the Gottlob location was dedicated as our second church in Romania.
- 2003: The first annual youth camp was held on recently purchased land in the Valea Lui Liman area.
- 2005: The Bulgarus location became our third church in Romania.
- 2006: In January, a group in Teremia Mica became part of the Apostolic Faith organization, and their new church was dedicated. The next day, the church in Zadareni was dedicated as the headquarters location for the Romania work.
- 2014: The church in Comlosu Mic was dedicated in November.
Southern and Eastern Regions:
- 2007: A congregation in Rimnicu Sarat, located in the southeastern region of Romania, became part of the Apostolic Faith work. The next year, in August 2008, their church was dedicated.
- 2009: After attending the 2008 Apostolic Faith national conference in Zadareni, visitors from the Rimnicu Sarat area expressed interest in our organization. In response, a team from Portland was sent in January 2009 to hold services in twenty locations. This led to Apostolic Faith churches being established in Bucharest, Capu Dealului, Craiova, Ghindeni, Margaritesti, Motatei-Sat, and Osica de Jos.
- 2012: The Craiova church became the headquarters for the southern Romania work with the pastor, Pavel Balanoiu, leading the effort in that area.
- 2014: As the work expanded to include sixteen locations in three different regions, it became necessary to divide the oversight responsibilities. Ted Bora and Gheorghei Macovei were appointed as Western and Eastern District Superintendents of Romania, respectively.
- 2013: Home visits were made among thirty-five towns neighboring the city of Pascani in northeastern Romania.
- 2017: The Apostolic Faith Church in Bosteni became the headquarters for the northern region. It is pastored by Vasile Budeanu who has been a missionary to the region for years and facilitated the first visits from Portland.
- 2017: Reverend Macovei has oversight of the northern work, which now includes Apostolic Faith churches in Baia, Coroteni, Humulesti, Ramnicu Sarat, Sodomeni, and Vanatori Neamt.