For most of us, it's hard to believe that it has already been two years since our team was totally rocked by all that God did on the last Romania trip. After a busy couple of travel days, I know everyone was excited to hit the ground running after a good night's sleep.
Today was our first ministry day and we are already seeing amazing fruit, but we've also experienced some deep frustrations. This morning was a mountaintop experience, especially for the many who were on the trip two years ago. We took about 40 or so of the choir, along with Bryant and Anne Wright, and went to one of our ministry partners here in Alba Iulia to celebrate as they commission their new church building. We got to join with them in worship, and Bryant gave a powerful sermon on the Parable of the Sower. Getting to celebrate with the church body in Partos was an experience like no other, and it was incredible to see how God orchestrated all the details to bring that local church to where it is today. Allow me to explain...
Two years ago, we partnered with this church and they allowed us to use their space as a VBS site during the week we were there. They were such gracious hosts and we loved every minute we got to spend with them. At that time, the church was under construction, with most rooms far from finished, including the main Sanctuary. One of our own trip members, there for VBS, began to feel burdened for the church and decided to strike up a conversation with the pastor and some of his leadership. Come to find out, they had to halt construction due to budget issues and had been incredibly discouraged and wondered if they would even be able to keep their doors open. Leading up to the week we were going to be there, the leadership decided to fast in hopes that God would give them discernment on how to proceed. At the same time, the Holy Spirit was moving in the heart of our trip member to see what he could do about the condition of their church. When they met to talk, it was clear God has orchestrated every detail that they would meet to see how he could help. Since then, the church has nearly completed construction on their beautiful building, and were were the beneficiaries of that as we got to worship in their new building today as they commissioned it. Coming off the heels of a powerful sermon this past week at Johnson Ferry, in which Bryant spoke on Acts 10, Peter and Cornelius' divine encounter, this story felt like our very own Peter/Cornelius story. It also made this morning even more of a mountaintop for so many of us.
After the service, we got the privilege to lay hands on the pastor and simply pray for him as he and his church begin this new journey. They've already seen great fruit in the short time the construction has been done, and it was such an honor to be a part of their commissioning. To add to this already amazing morning, we had a few people respond to Bryant's gospel presentation and make first-time decisions for Christ. What a powerful way to start the trip!
This evening, we were scheduled to have our very first concert at the citadel in Alba. For those of you who don't know, Alba Iulia has this beautiful fortress that dates back to hundreds of years ago, where the old city center used to be. Two years ago, we got to hold our very first concert here and we had an amazing turnout with well over a thousand in attendance. We were excited to once again begin our week with an amazing time worship and evangelism! However, God had other plans for us. All afternoon long, it was as if the rain and sun were battling it out to see what would ultimately determine our fate... our crew worked hard to get ready in between rain showers and it was looking like we were going to be good to go... we were set, the sun was out, and we had a successful first sound check. But then, as we went to have a bite to eat before the concert, the heavens opened up, and the rains unfortunately washed out plans of having our first concert this evening. We had a good number of faithful attenders who stuck it out in the rain with us, but we ultametely had to pull the plug on the event.
I won't lie... we are all really disappointed. For most of us, we know how powerful an evening like this was from two years ago, so we were excited to see God do it again. It wasn't in His plan for us to have the concert tonight, but that's okay... we know He's in control and has a better plan. We simply want to be obedient and be vessels of His love to the people of Romania. Right now, there's a strong (but not definite) possibility that we will reschedule the concert to Tuesday night... the city of Alba Iulia (who is sponsoring the concert) is on board, but we have a few logistic items to finalize in order to make that happen. What we do know is that we have a couple of worship concerts tomorrow, and we couldn't be more excited for them! An added bonus: they are both indoors! ;)
We covet your prayers for sure as kick off day two of Romania 2017. One more thing... on a more serious note; as we were cleaning up from our non-concert tonight, we had an orchestra member fall from stage and hit her head on the fall. She is okay, and left us awake and alert, but was taken to the hospital as precaution as this was a head injury. We are all praying for a speedy recovery and we wish you would join us in praying for her as well. Thank you, friends and loved ones back home for your prayers! We look forward to updating you on all that God is doing here in Romania!