The best mission trip I have ever taken was to Romania in 2005. If you desire to take such a trip, I would encourage you to check their website at http://www.pimi.org You will arrive at Partners In Missions International (PIMI), and their trips for the last 19 years are taken exclusively to Romania, where the Gospel has been shared with countless souls, and over 42 churches have been planted. Each day is carefully prepared by the leaders of PIMI. The day would usually commence with breakfast and a meeting, followed by one on one evangelism in the city or in a local neighborhood. You will confront three types of people- Romanians, Hungarians and Gypsies. College age interpreters will help you share the Gospel with these folks. After lunch, the middle of the day would feature Backyard Bible Clubs, commonly hosted by a local church after canvassing the nearby neighborhoods. Towards the end of the day, the farmers would come in late from the fields, and their families would attend church services, whereby we would share the Gospel with them all via interpreters. During such a mission trip, some team members often take off on trips to perform construction for a church building in need. It is a multi faceted ministry and dynamic to say the least. If you feel His prompting to embark on such a venture, I would advise you to beware of the Turkish coffee. It is served in small mugs, yet has a thick concentrated caffeine in it, and if you drink too much of it, you will be awake for days! The Romanian people are among the friendliest folks I have ever met in my life. They are hospitable, kind and humble. One of the most difficult parts of the trip is leaving them. They are appreciative of the staples in life that we often take for granted. Yes, even toilet paper! Towards the end of our trip, a common practice is to leave them most of our clothes that we used during the week. We would often wash them and give them to the Romanian people. (It also leaves more room in your luggage for souvenirs). Be advised, Romania is the same latitude as northern Minnesota. The winters are brutal, with a lot of snow and ice. The summers are hot and humid. The following is my speaking itinerary in Romania during our trip. The pastors/preachers all preached week long revivals:
We were based at Bethel Baptist Church in Satu Mare, Romania. We spoke at this larger church, and at all of the surrounding rural churches as well. My messages were as follows:
1)September 14, 2005; Tatarasti, Romania; The Lamb Of God; Revelation 13:8b
2)September 15, 2005; Bethel Baptist Church, Satu Mare, Romania; The Lamb Of God, Revelation 13:8b (one profession of faith during this service)
3)September 16, 2005; Bethany Baptist Church, Ardud, Romania; My Testimony, II Corinthians 5:17
4)September 18, 2005; Baba Novac, Romania; My Testimony, II Corinthians 5:17
5)September 18, 2005; Bethel Baptist Church, Satu Mare, Romania; My Testimony, II Chronicles 7:14
6)September 19, 2005; Satu Mare Prison, Romania; My Testimony
(When speaking with an interpreter, the message must be very simple. The speaker will find out which interpreters he/she matches up with the best. We all have a certain chemistry).
During the peak of the Roman Empire, Romania and Hungary were known as Dacia. They held out the longest from being defeated and incorporated into the Roman Empire. In battle they mauled the Roman army, yet the size, discipline and professionalism of the Romans eventually won the day. Soldier-Emperor Trajan defeated Dacia in 106 A.D. This was the zenith and largest extent to which the Roman Empire grew.
Romania always brings up thoughts of Count Dracula. We were in Transylvania, but no where near his famous castle. His real name is Count Vlad Dracul, known as Vlad the Impaler! When the Ottoman Turks threatened to take over Romania, castles were built in the east to hold them off, and Count Dracul impaled them on stakes by the thousands! This psychological warfare turned the Muslim hoards back. The Ottoman Turks could have overrun Europe from the east, if not for the tenacity of Count Vlad Dracul. Romanians laugh at our folklore and our ideas about “Count Dracula,” since he is a folk hero of sorts in Romania. Many superstitious Romanians in rural areas do believe in vampires to this day. We toured a couple of the castles in Romania.
The Turkish coffee caught up with me towards the end of the trip. After collecting a few souvenirs, I was feeling ill and not able to tour Budapest, Hungary as we began our way home. Praise the Lord I was healthy for the time that really counted!
The founder of PIMI is Bob Ward. His partner and Romanian liaison is Pastor Elijah Morar. They make up an incredible team, and coordinate mission trips to Romania throughout the year. Incredibly, Bob was called home by the Lord in April of 2014. Below are letters by his wife Yvonne, and by Pastor Elijah Morar. Elijah is now leading this amazing mission thrust in Romania. By reading the following letters, you will capture the flavor of this ministry in Romania:
April 17, 2014 Dear Friends, Writing this letter is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Most of you know that my husband, Bob Ward, went to be with the Lord on April 9, 2014. His short illness, Multiple Myeloma, was diagnosed on January 17 of this year. Those three months were a whirlwind of hospitals, doctors, trying to find answers, never thinking this was the way it would go, but God called him home. He fought a good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. To say my life has changed is an understatement. The emptiness in me and in of our children, grandchildren, friends, is great. This void is felt around the world, in his heart-country of Romania. The vision he had almost twenty years never faded. Until the end, Bob considered the Romanian people and the pastors there. In fact, one of the last things he said to me was that he gave me the responsibility to see that the work continued and they have what they needed. With every fiber of my being, I plan to see that happen. While life has changed, one thing hasn’t. Partners in Missions, Int’l will continue to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Romania. Bob had a three-step vision for the future in this work. We will be sharing this with you in the weeks and months ahead. These endeavors cannot be brought to fruition without the continued support from those of you who have been so gracious to give over the past years. Pastors still need to be supported; new projects need to be funded. Medical clinics, women’s ministry, kids klubs, kids camps, pastor training, prison and orphan ministries, church plants and church constructions are only a few of the things PIMI is involved in. The foundation Bob laid will be built upon. Elijah Morar, our Director in Romania, will be acting President of PIMI while we seek the Lord’s will about a permanent leader. I will continue to serve as Vice President, being actively involved in the ministry as always. We are adding to the Board of Directors and making plans under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Rest assured this ministry has only begun. I want to honor my sweet husband and glorify our God by moving forward with Bob’s vision for PIMI and Romania. We cannot do it without you. I’m asking you to pray about your part. Is God calling you to go on a mission project to Romania? There is still time for you to make plans to go. The dates are July 11-19. If you are a financial supporter of PIMI, please continue to give. If you haven’t given in a while, would you please pray about giving? For all you have meant to Bob and me, for the many ways you have supported us and Partners in Missions, Int’l, I thank you. Please pray for our family as we learn how to live without our husband and father. Please pray for PIMI and the precious people of Romania. Yours for Souls, Yvonne Ward.