Sunday, February 1, 2015

Remembering Romania ~ Part 1: David and Geta Olcean

This is the first of several posts remembering our time in Romania (Impact Romania 2014) and my reflections. 

    On my first trip to Romania in 2013 one of my favorite memories was that of a church we visited around mid-week. It had been a very long day of visiting several churches and I remember we were tired and hungry. We were already running about two hours behind schedule when we pulled up to a church in Ciumeghiu. We got off of our van and walked into an amazing environment. As we entered around 200 kids started clapping and cheering us in. Talk about energizing! Any thoughts of how tired we were or hungry were gone. We were totally loved on. All I remember is the thought that these kids had been sitting here for over 2 hours waiting for us to show up and they were still energized to see us. Wow! 

     Fast forward to this year. In one of those God moments (as I mentioned in the prior post) we would not be handing out Boxes of Hope but one of our focuses would be partnering with this same church in a community outreach. This church is led by an amazing pastor named David Olcean. Three years ago this was basically a "dead" church in a gypsy village. The local Orthodox church shunned those that would dare to visit there. David started a discipleship group during the week in the community and encouraged people to attend the church on Sunday. Each week he would check back and ask if they had gone. It was then that he found out that often on Sundays the church was not even open. Called by God he started ministering there and the church has grown. He is now working there full time with the help of Remember the Children. One of the things that I found amazing was that several years ago when the children came there were only a few. Then there were 30 and then there were 100. In 2013 it was close to 200 hundred!!! I am not doing the story the justice it deserves but David with his wife Geta are pouring their heart into this community to make a difference. It is amazing. 

      It was David's idea to host a community concert as an outreach event. Their choir produced a CD. As part of the outreach our team walked the streets of Ciumeghiu knocking on doors, handing out the CD and inviting them to attend the concert. In jest I mentioned I now know how Jehovah's Witnesses must feel when they walk neighborhoods. We were ignored, had doors slammed on us but some took the time to listen and thank us Americans. I will mention that it was pouring rain that day but we went out with hope in our hearts. At 3 o'clock the event started and our role would be to hand out tea and cakes to those that came. Well wouldn't you know it- God showed up BIG TIME!. The sun did not come out but it stopped raining for those two hours. People showed up (more than David even dreamed I think) and listened to a concert and a message. The outreach was more than a success. 

    Both David and Geta have a heart for the Lord and the community. It is a dark community that the light is being brought into. As I write this they have purchased the home across from the church and are rebuilding it. They are not just ministering to the community but are now going to be a part of it. One of the amazing things is that our church is going to help partner with them. They have dreams of rebuilding a summer camp for the gypsy children and we are in prayer for that. Our Christmas offering is being devoted to this community through Remember the Children. I encourage you to keep David and Geta's ministry in prayer. Pray for their safety, the growth of the church and that God will be present in that community.