Romania: Road trip to Cluj

Today was unique for us... we got to do something special that we weren't able to do a few years ago on the previous trip, and man was it awesome. Today, we got to partner with a local church and friend of our mission partner here in Romania. This church is a young, thriving body in the city of Cluj, the second most populated city in Romania, and a few hours north of Alba Iulia. This church was pretty excited to have us come, and they worked hard to land the opera house in the center of town for the location for one of our concerts. This picturesque theater is absolutely stunning; and with it being over 100 years old, it has that perfect charm you'd expect for an early twentieth century theater. We were blown away by how beautiful it was and very much enjoyed having one of our concerts there.

Because of how long we had to drive to get to Cluj, the concert tonight was really the only opportunity at scheduled ministry we had today. Still though, God was working in the hearts of the people that attended our concert. When you get the privilege of having the senior pastor on a mission trip, you give him a microphone and let him preach of course. Between what God said through Bryant, and the gospel being so clearly presented in our music and programming, once again we got to witness a few people make professions of faith for the first time. It was a very meaningful concert.

In addition to sharing Christ for those who wouldn't call themselves believers, these concerts have also been a great opportunity to simply encourage our local mission partners and the people they're doing ministry with on a regular basis. Tonight after the concert, our choir and orchestra folks got a chance to fellowship with our concert attendees. It was a wonderful sight to see... a sea of red, yellow, and blue shirts having meaningful conversations all over the lobby, hallways, and outside, getting the opportunity and love on the people of the local church and community. One of our team members got the privilege to meet a Romanian girl name Christina, after the concert. Christina would call herself a believer, but struggles with a warped view of God. In her heart, God is always disappointed in her and looks down on her from heaven in constant judgement. She struggles in multiple areas in her life... broken relationships, depression, some serious spiritual warfare. Well, thankfully in God's great timing, she was able to meet our team member who dealt with almost the exact same situation in his younger years. He was able to minister to her and challenge her distorted view of God and explain that, yes, God is a God of judgment but he's also a God of grace who wants to know us personally. Christina said the concert definitely served as a challenge in how she viewed her relationship with God and was so grateful for us being there. We are so thankful for the opportunity minister to girls like Christina, and thankful for the chance to hopefully have impact on the hearts of the people of Cluj. 

Tomorrow, we get the opportunity to be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus in all sorts of ways. Our team will be scattered across town doing various things from construction to hospital visits, to vacation bible school. In addition to that, the concert that got rained out on Saturday will be happening after all, on Tuesday. We're excited for both of these things, and as always, we appreciate the prayers of our friends and loved ones back home.