Romania - 2013




Monday afternoon, we left Braila and headed for the city of Iasi, about 250 miles north, in Romanian Moldova.  Along with Marin and me, we were accompanied by Dan Marin’s brother-in-law, and by his father, both of whom came to Braila by train on Saturday to help with placing the concrete pad on the roof of Marin’s new construction home. In exchange, Marin agreed to install a wall and door into the Iasi home owned by Dan and in which are presently residing Dan’s parents on the upper level and his family on the lower level.  Our travels took us through Negresti but my friend Lydia Rascol, who lives there, is away in Bucharest. Lydia visited us in Seattle some years ago to thank Caleb for the containers we sent for her ministry. Negresti is the poorest section of Romania and Lydia has dedicated her twilight years to helping feed and teach gypsy children. She is about 80 years old, lives in a tiny apartment, and receives support from friends in Detroit where she used to live. She retired from city government and came back to her home village of Negresti in 1999.

Arriving about 11:30 pm at Iasi (pronounced “yoush”), we are greeted by Dan’s wife Camellia and his four children: Teo, Robert, Lili and Samona, all under 10.  I have an honorary uncle status in this family and feel right at home. Living conditions are somewhat tense. Their history reads like a sitcom!  Daniel and Camilla hired Marin to build them a home on a lot in the country, formerly an apple orchard which was subdivided into various lots for new construction. Arle, the neighbor, had Marin build his home as well, being made suitable for Arle (Camilla’s brother) and his family and their parents (Christina’s mother and father). Before Dan’s home was finished, his parents moved in and took over the house!  They remained there for the last three years, having sold their former apartment and deciding they did not want to live with Arle!  This has been a big source of contention. Finally, Camilla decided she had had enough and simply moved her family in too! There are two sets of bunk beds in the former living room on the ground floor, a bed in the dining room where Dan and Camilla sleep, plus a refrigerator and portable cupboards and supplies. In the SMALL kitchen there is a couch on which I sleep. Marin is upstairs in the in-law’s quarters. Marin is there to help build a wall to separate the two families within the same house!

Monday morning construction begins and by nightfall we have a wall and locking door, creating a duplex and bathroom and makeshift kitchen on both levels.  However, the water system is not working downstairs so Marin and I stay a second day in Iasi while he re-routes the water system.

Meals are makeshift at best in the very crowded quarters. Tensions are high as one can imagine and Marin and I are literally the only ones communicating with everyone else. I am very pleased when Wednesday we are at last free to leave, the wall being complete and debt paid for the help with Marin’s house roof. Staying out of the way and having no computer access, I managed to read my kindle while preparing bread, cheese, and lunchmeat sandwiches for the group at designated intervals. (There is no other food in the house and no one seems to be interested in going to a store.)   I miss coffee!

Leaving mid-afternoon once the kids are home so I can say good-bye, Marin and I headed  west toward Bistritsa, knowing we will not make it by nightfall. We stop at Barland and Vaslui to visit friends in orphanages. Here the police are very strict on enforcing rules against photography of children so I keep my camera packed.  

We continued on, it is minus 5 degrees and snow and ice are everywhere so we stop for a bowl of Chorba soup and then get a motel room for the night at Toplani. Marin is pretty exhausted and truly needs the rest. Our “two-star” motel had to work hard to get the second star. It had no heated water, not much heat, and no windows but the two bunks have sponge rubber mattresses and big down comforters.  It had the feel of monastic punishment!

At 6 am we left, heading north to Suceavea to see Dan Danut, the Caleb Ministry representative for the Suceavea and Moldova districts. He is a Suceavea policeman and sadly cannot secure leave to be with us, so we continued on west.

At Bistritsa we stopped to see Eli, the man with 12 children living in the remote countryside. He came down the mountain to visit as the road is not passable in the winter. He tends sheep for others to earn a living for his big family. We gave him the Caleb Van several years ago and a computer system to teach his kids. Last year he brought me a pig as a gift to thank Caleb for our help. I had to participate in butchering the poor pig, not my proudest moment!  Eli is doing well. The children were all away at school so I unfortunately I could not see them. They have a new home as the old one burned down! The church gathered and built a long cabin style mountain home and they feel very blessed by this kindness. The house has no conveniences like running water or plumbing but they are used to a rugged lifestyle.

From Bistritsa we journeyed north to Saintsghroeghe Bai (Saint Georges Bath) to see two of my favorite people, Sisters Titsa and Mary. These beautiful ladies are the most spiritual and loving people I have ever met.  It is energizing just to be in their presence!  We arrived with gifts of bags of apples, potatoes, and jars of honey for them. Climbing the cumbersome stairs to the old apartment house, we found Sister Titsa with Bible open, instructing a neighbor man on scripture. Without missing a beat, she prepared a basin for foot washing, and started pronouncing prophecy upon me. In her late 70’s, this awesome instrument of God emits love and caring in her every motion. I feel so treasured and safe and valued in her presence. She and her sister were deeply involved in the raising of Christina, Marin’s wife.   

Following many readings in God’s Word, she then tells me God has many more years’ work for me! I wanted to say “Thank you,” but she then goes on scolding me not to waste a moment of it! She told me God is opening windows on the world and it is my job to draw back the curtains and let His love in to these dark places.  She sees me as a torch that simply will not burn out and that I have not been critical enough of others who are lazy in their walk, disrespecting God and placing themselves first.  She then gives me a string of Bible verses (too fast for Marin to keep up) and says I must ….MUST….bring His Word to more as it is the only comfort they will receive in this heathen world. She asks me who wrote God’s Word? Men or God? I say God through the Holy Spirit but she says NO!  It was written by imperfect men. The Holy Spirit inspired them but corrupt sinful man penned the word which is why God’s Word is not truly worshipped and adored as it should be. Man cannot truly reflect the purity of God, the righteousness of His Kingdom, or the importance of our place in His heart.

This lovely lady spends all her time teaching everyone who will listen. She and her sister visit stores, plazas, shops and churches all over to play their guitars, sing their spiritual songs, and to pray for healing and give God’s Word.  As we depart, she gives me the passage Daniel 8:13-14 and said it has been wrongly interpreted through the ages…and its message is more critical now than ever before.

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?”

14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days;[a] then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

I have received this message many times before but hearing it from this lady gives it special significance! She warned that when we stop sacrificing (worshipping, serving God) the bad things come and steal from us so we must continue to always work for God. She says this is why she looks forward to our visits, because we work for God. She reiterates that without God we have nothing and are nothing.  It is only what God gives us that counts.  She asks what I think of what God gives and I say it is two things: Sufficient and Frumose (beautiful).  She is pleased by my answer. (Thank you, Holy Spirit!)   It is like being in school to be with these ladies and yet one comes away enriched and feeling like one has not done enough!

In parting she gives me 1 Corinthians 4:

8 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

And 2 Corinthians 6

4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Sister Titsa says do not judge yourself for the world does enough of that. Look forward to the only judgment that matters and count yourself righteous as Christ does already. So, just “shut up” and “do your works to His glory.”

In the afternoon, we visited Sister Maria in her home. This is indescribable. It reminds me of the little cabin St. Francis lived in at Assisi, but smaller. It is the back porch of a big house which is enclosed into a tiny living space. It has a bed, four cupboards, a wood stove, and literally that is all! No refrigerator or heater or radio or anything else! The one electric light is a plug in she rarely uses! She speaks in nothing but scripture! Everything is asked and answered by quoting the Bible, making conversation very difficult.  She is speaking blessings and warnings and then repeating prophecies. Most people look after her to see she is okay but she is living in a different world than most of us now. You will never find anyone who has more peace than these two ladies! What a treat to visit with them on our journey.

From Saint Georges Bath we headed west, arriving at Lugos around 1 am. It is 6 degrees below zero, snowing, and we saw no point in arriving at Timisoara, just 50 miles west, in the middle of the night. We again found a two-star motel, this one for just $31 for both of us for the night. Awaking at 6 am, we are advised the “free breakfast included” did not start until 10 am, so we decided to journey on into Timisoara, the second largest city in Romania.

The time in Timisoara was very short. It was now Friday and we needed to get to Petrosani in the mountains by Sunday and back to Braila by Monday. That is over 800 miles in the winter snows! The first three years I visited Romania, I spent time with the family of Nicoli Ianos. I traveled with him into Moldova, Bulgaria and Hungary. He taught me much of what I do now as a missionary. I have seen his children grow and mature. I lived with his family for three months in Australia in 1997, 1998 and 1999. They are family and whenever I am in Timisoara,  they are my family. I conducted the wedding of their youngest son in Detroit, Michigan, in 2003 and of the youngest daughter in Timisoara in 2012. My purpose in coming this year was to hold evangelisms in Serbia and distribute 28 boxes of supplies, food and candy packs we shipped from USA for the poor Serbian Christians living about four hours from Timisoara.  These Serbian Christians are the subject of Caleb Ministries outreach conducted by Ianos family.

But the Serbia trip fell apart before my very eyes. The intended Serbians will still receive the items in time but Diane Ianos and her new husband, Daniel, who is Serbian, were behind with the program.  She met him at University in Timisoara and they got married last year. They devised and designed the Serb outreach as it is to his home pastor. In OCTOBER I wrote and confirmed that all was set for bringing in the goods and holding the evangelism.  I was told yes, the goods were in Serbia waiting and all was ready. When I got to Timisoara I found it simply was not true. When Daniel and Diane graduated from Timisoara University in June, Daniel found he could not find work in any European Union Country and Diana was not comfortable with their living in Serbia (wise girl). So they both took jobs in ENGLAND. Diane was pregnant so they moved to England July 30th so the baby could be born there as it  gives them a host of benefits!  So our program was left in hands of Andre Ianos (33 yr. old brother of Diana). When he took boxes to the border, Serbia wanted $300 duty for each box. A Serb can take them in free but European Union members cannot since Serbia has set up protectionist legislation.  So I went to the border, with the boxes and two big sacks of potatoes (about $250 pounds each!) purchased here to supplement the food, and presented our European Relief Agency credentials endorsed by Serbia. They still refused.  The weather was very bad so our Serbian brothers from Partos could not get there to help take things across. So the Serbia program was put on hold for better weather.

Saturday evening we attended the five-hour Pentecostal service at Isus Lumina Lumii church. This was a great service. It reminded me of the enthusiasm for Christ Romania had during the post revolution era when the underground church started appearing openly.  The pastor introduced me but apologized because he had not made preparations for a translator. There were seven Romanian pastors to preach plus musical interludes, songs, and prayer time--truly a rich service.  A man about 25 years old came and sat with me to translate the events for me.  Andre’ Ianos gave a very impassioned introduction to prayer. Usually four or five short meditations or scriptures are given following about 15 minutes of concentrated prayer on that subject in each service. Andre’ called for prayer for all those who have broken their mother’s heart by making them cry as they walked away from God. He then confessed to the church and publicly to me his regret for leaving us in disobedience in Melbourne, Australia in 1998. At age 18, he chose to disobey his parents and leave the family at the Sunshine Church, electing to run off with friends his age. We knelt in prayer in the parking lot and asked God to keep him safe.  Ten years later, while drinking at a bar, he received a vision of our praying for him and the vision then rose before his eyes and he saw us praying in the spiritual realm in heavenly garb. He dropped his drink, left the bar, and returned to the family, serving Our Lord ever since!   His confession had a profound impact on everyone there!

When the service was nearly completed, Ianos Nicolai was called upon as the last pastor.  He told the church they were not blessed or receiving God’s full blessings because they were blind to God’s gifts by their own comforts. He said they had passed up the opportunity to hear the words that have transformed thousands elsewhere. He then recounted how, during the revolution in Romania, he met me and drew from me the strength to rely upon God for power to preach the Word in a communist dictatorship. He told of our praying in gypsy camp meetings, Jurasislava prison, at the Moldovan border, and in Fantanelli village. He recounted our work in Bulgaria, Ukraine, and in Australia. The young man translating for me stopped, pointed at me and said “This is you?” He then drew closer to me and literally stopped talking completely.  I do not know what Ianos Nicolai said from that point on but clearly it had a big impact. I was embarrassed but also amused because Marin learned much he had not known of my adventures as well.  After the service the pastor had all of the pastors and my party up to his offices for refreshments. I never realized how strongly Ianos Nicolai felt about me until that night.

When we returned to the house, Sammy Ianos gave his testimony of coming to Christ while imprisoned in Italy. It was a very heavy evening but blessed indeed.

Saturday we visited many sick people with Andre’, spent time with my friend Daniel Beleano who now lives in Timisoara, and had an evening service in Ianos’ church. Afterward, Marin and I left as the weather was very threatening and we could not risk getting snow-bound in Western Romania. We stayed the night in a small motel in Terjiu Jiu and then headed back to Braila Sunday, arriving just in time for evening service. I spoke on Isaiah 54:2-3 and the Prayer of Jabez on enlarging our view of God in our lives. It was well received as several shared after that it altered how they thought about God working in their life.

Monday we shopped and gathered supplies for The Colony where a long night service was held. It became a full evening as Marin and I visited the shut-ins first, had dinner with his parents and then went to The Colony (gypsy slums). Marin’s father came with us. I preached on the continuing involvement of God in our lives, using the text in Acts 17:19-34 of Paul referring to the monument to “The Unknown God” in justifying his argument about Jesus to the Athenians. I then told of how God used my visit in 1980 to a village in The Philippines to give me entrance in 2013 to the same village to preach about Jesus 33 years later! They were all excited to see God working in our lives by this example. We brought cookies and pop for the kids, bottled water and cakes for the adults. It was a very good night and the gypsies were pleased we did not “overlook” them on this trip.

Tuesday is the last full day here as tomorrow I leave for Bucharest to start the trip home. Today Marin and I will visit the grave of his brother, and will gift food that I purchased in bulk plus some turkeys to poor families in various villages. Tonight, I preach in Braila and will give the talk on Honoring Church Leaders (Pastors). Thank you all for your kind support, prayers and encouragement. God Bless.

Jerry Brian Riess


First Report - November 24,  2013


Leaving Seattle November 5th at 4:15 pm, I fly to Paris and then to Bucharest. Marin arrives 45 minutes after I clear customs, due to very heavy rains in the Bucharest area.  We drive to Braila, enjoying one bowl of beef Chorba and tolerating one flat tire on the journey, arriving at the church apartment approximately 40 hours since my last sleep.

Christina, son Paul and daughter Elisha remain in Bucharest hospital as Elisha is having her annual Downs Syndrome evaluation and Paul is being treated for dizzy episodes at a neurological clinic. Anna greeted us at the apartment and we picked up Michael and Stephen at their grandparents house on the way here. Claudio (Marin’s nephew) is in school and working as a waiter so he will be home on weekends as he has his own small apartment.

Thursday morning Marin and I purchased the fence and marker for his brothers’ grave site. Vasile died two years ago and I have been saving my personal money ($800.00) to honor his memory in this way as Marin’s family did not wish to “reward” his alcoholism by spending family resources on his grave.

In the afternoon I unpack and rest, preaching Thursday night at Braila Pentecostal Church on Psalm 138.

Friday we visited families and the sick, and had family time Friday night as Christina and the kids arrived from Bucharest by Maxi-Taxi (van) about 9 pm.

Saturday we cleaned the apartment and cared for the 107 Turkeys while visitors arrived to greet me throughout the day. A gypsy friend visited and advised us that his young daughter is in the hospital with an ear infection and he had no food to bring his wife and daughter. Hospitals do not provide food or linens in Romania, so a family member or friend must bring them food and personal items each day. We prepared food and Christina took it Saturday evening to the hospital.

Sunday morning I preached in Braila Pentecostal Church in morning service on Discipleship, at Gypsy Colony in the afternoon on the Virgins ten oil lamps, and at outdoor evangelism in Chiscan on Sunday night, about the Mars Hill encounter of Paul. In between, we brought food from the apartment to the family whose daughter and mother are still in the hospital. We are advised that the 9-year-old and 5-year-old are alone on the weekdays because their father must take a job as laborer when it is offered. Consequently, we inherited the two additional children until their mother returns home.  It would not be safe to leave them unattended in the Gypsy Colony.

After the Evangelism, we took dinner to the lady and her daughter and to another man also in the hospital. It has been a full day!

In the evening we learned the house across the street from Marin’s new home construction, was burglarized in the afternoon, the neighbors losing $2,000 in funds saved to pay for natural gas installation on the street. The home was vandalized with nearly everything inside destroyed.  Christina offered to get some of the Tiripa family furnishings out of storage to give as replacements and Claudio and Marin went to help clean the house in the morning. Marin’s home is ready to install the roof but had nothing of value inside to be vandalized.

The apartment we are in is on the Braila church grounds, being above the Caleb warehouse. It has two rooms, a long hallway to a tiny kitchen, and a third room where all the clothing and school supplies are stored. Rooms do not have closets or dressers for clothes. The “bathroom” is downstairs and outside and is an outhouse. The apartment has one heater in the double room. I am in the clothes storage room a wood stove given me by the gypsies last year when we were here. The home Marin and Christina built and lived in when Pastor Dan was here in July 2011 was surrendered to the bank when friends of Marin purchased the adjoining home and then refused to pay. Marin and Christina did not want to see them put on the street so gave up their own house and moved to the apartment to give the other family time to regroup. They have not paid anything in two years and now finally the matter is in court.

Christina and Marin sat and again gave me the lecture on why I should move to Braila, promising to keep me within their family or, if I wished, to provide a small house for me near them. They worry about me and want me near. Each trip I get this invitation as the world becomes more dangerous. I again thank them but say no and they promise not to nag me more about it. Yeah,like  that’s gonna’ happen!

Tuesday was very busy. Visited job site where Marin is building their new  house. It is across the road from the one he built last year as they sold it instead of moving in to it, the offering price being very good. The new lot abuts Marin’s’ parents farm in the back, giving huge opportunity for garden and joint management of both properties. The 8 men working there are all men I have baptized in past years so it was great fun spending time with them. They are now preparing to install the roof. The home should be ready next summer.

We then shopped for groceries and supplies and returned to the apartment to prepare dinner. At 5pm I went to church (next door) and I preached on “How God equips us for this Life and the Next”. Returning home at 8:30,  we got a phone call that the doctor in Bucharest Hospital wants Elisha and Christina in Bucharest hospital for another evaluation 9 am Wednesday.  Marin rushed Elisha and Christina to Tulcea (30 miles) to get the night train to Bucharest but found it was cancelled for the evening. (Not enough passengers) So,  we got up at 5 AM and drove them 150 miles to Bucharest in the morning. (3 hours each way)  Doctors are very lofty here about such inconveniences. Their threat is that if Elisha is not there for the meeting they will cease state paying her medical and special schooling expenses OR move for state to become her guardian. It is very cruel so Marin and Christina always respond when demanded by the doctor.

Marin and I got home again from Bucharest about 2 pm and we purchased construction materials for the three houses he is building.  Elisha and Christina  returned Wednesday night by train about 6 pm. Marin and I were preparing for church which was foot washing service tonight at Chiscan.  But abruptly daughter Ann (13) stood straight up in a short doorway of the apartment, cracking her head. Marin and I looked after the children while Christina rushed Ann to the hospital. She returned by 9 pm with shaved head and 4 stitches on top. (I agreed NOT to take her picture).

Thursday turned out to be really strange indeed. I awoke feeling queasy  and by 10 am my body exploded severely. It was very embarrassing as there are few conveniences for being sick here. Twice I did not make it to the toilet, soiling most of my clothes. Christina helped by cleaning up after me (as if she hasn’t enough to do!) and putting me to bed with hot tea and stoking the fire in my wood stove. She declared my room off limits so children did not disturb me and later she brought me a towel and basin so I could bath while she washed my clothes.  I felt so sorry  for troubling her but there was nothing I could do. Very uncomfortable with no heat in my room,  toilet being downstairs and very cold weather outside. (About 30 degrees) It was reoccurrence of my sickness last April with dizziness and hard time breathing.  By late afternoon I was better but by no means well enough to go out. Meanwhile, at Marin’s’ building site they were “raided” by police on a tip claiming they had undocumented workers. (Meaning workers for whom they are not paying labor taxes like our social security and Labor and industries). Christina provided all the correct documents  but still Marin and the 8 workers lost a day’s work and must appear tomorrow in court to prove his proper worker documentation. It is harassment and annoyance at best. We believe the man who vandalized the home across the street made the complaint to suggest an undocumented worker was the thief, taking heat off him. He has now been apprehended in Bulgaria but the money was not restored!

Thursday night I stayed in and had a bowl of Chorba for light dinner. Friday was shopping and paying bills at local utilities, visit to lawyers office regarding house transactions, and watching the kids while Marin and Christina attended to their various chores.  Friday afternoon the Timisoara Caleb people advised they are trying to arrange the Serbia Evangelism. Diane Lanios, who spearheaded the project last fall, is now suddenly living in England with her husband, a Serbian, who set the plan in motion.  They have a two-month-old baby boy requiring full attention and cannot come back right now for the evangelism.  Diane’s brother Andre’ Ianos has assumed responsibility for the project but has to go to Germany next week for two days' work.  The Serbian government will not grant a visa to Marin to enter, wanting more time to consider his application. (He served in jail under Ceaucesceau Dictatorship for being a Pentecostal Christian)

Meanwhile, Marin and I await word on arrival of our 10,000 Christmas Shoeboxes so we can catalogue and distribute them to the local villages. As I have barely 18 days left in Romania for this trip, plans are up in the air.

Friday night was family night with people coming to enjoy popcorn, baked pumpkin and prayer time.

Saturday the Tiripa Van broke its alternator so we were without a car until at minimum Monday when parts might arrive from Vienna, Austria.  So we did laundry, cleaned the Turkey area, and did household chores while Marin and Christina did errands on the bus system and trolley. Sunday we had service in the morning at Braila church, mid-morning service at Chiscan and evening service at the Baptist Church, a multi-faith monthly meeting of about 350 people. It was a long day. Transport was provided by trolley, bus, and a gypsy boy with an Opel (always late!) Exhausting day! At Braila I preached on The Temple, at Chiscan I spoke on Priesthood of Believers, and at the evening service I repeated the Mars Hill teaching of Jesus being author of history!

Monday we got news Christina was again required in Bucharest with Elisha. It was off to the train at Tulcea by taxi. I looked after the kids in the daytime until Marin could get home (still without car) from the construction site! We usually visit sick on Mondays, but without a car this was not feasible.

It is now Tuesday morning and still no word on the alternator. We borrowed a small Dacia car and are visiting the sick this afternoon and have church this evening.

Service was prayer time and a short teaching on the necessity of daily devotions and Bible reading and prayer. Marin translated for me.

Wednesday was very busy day with big wind storm here. Marin was busy at the construction site making sure things were safe so I missed church as had no one to translate for me since Christina watched the children. Braila Church has no program for children apart from the regular service and the influx of seven children from the Tiripas into the service with mother busy translating is too inviting for disturbances. Michael, Stephen  are too young, the two gypsy children we are watching even younger and Elisha with her Downs can be big distraction in a service.

Thursday  Marin and I were invited to Sister Johanna’s home for a late luncheon. She always has a big dinner for me on my visits. Her husband , a ship’s pilot in the Merchant Marine is at sea for 18 months as is the oldest boy Lorenzo, a ship’s navigator in his own right. The second boy Michael just graduated from medical school and is interning. The youngest boy Cornel has now obtained his aircraft pilot’s certification and is in British Airways program! All three boys have served as translators for me through the years.

Friday the church came together to clean the winter sanctuary, scrubbing all the walls, furnishings and washing the curtains. A small room is used in winter as it heats efficiently as compared to the big church.  Friday night was Long Night Service at Braila with many Gypsys and Romanians coming together at 9 pm until 6 am. Much singing, preaching and prayer with break for sandwiches and tea.  Marin had to attend a Pastors Conference in Galati so I wandered in and out of the Long Night service, not having a translator.

Saturday Marin got the car fixed for our trip and Christina and the kids planted fruit trees, grapes and shrubs at the new house worksite. I conducted a Skype conference call to several Pastors in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, being close in the time zones. We covered the material Caleb used in Romania a year ago on recognizing child abuse and spousal abuse in the congregation and sheparding through it. (This area of the world tends to ignore it as a problem)

Saturday evening following bath time in the Tiripa apartment, some gypsy friends of mine came by about 10 PM asking prayer for a man named Viral. He had just returned from England where he worked as professional keyboard man and had accepted Christ two weeks ago, and decided he had to flee worldly employment. We met in the little “winter church”, and I prayed for him and we talked. Had nine gypsies plus Marin, Paul and myself. Prayed for most of them. I had Viral repeat his confession of faith to be sure and had him memorize Romans 10:9-10 for his peace of mind as he seems still vacillating between two worlds. It was interesting and I believe very productive time.

Big surprise Sunday morning. I awoke to find Pastor Julian Chelu and his wife Maria came all the way from Bucharest to visit with me and preach together! Pastor Chelu is old friend from Bucharest. He has 5 children, all now married. The two girls are married to pastors and the three boys are pastors! Anna and her husband are missionaries in Bihor, India. Sammy, the youngest, is serving as youth pastor in Llonca, a gypsy village. Pastor Chelu is head of over 100 Pentecostal churches in Bucharest District. We have preached and traveled many times. Caleb shipped him several containers. We enjoyed a good visit and reunion before church.

Sunday I preached with Pastor Chelu at Braila and then traveled south to Slobovia as Marin’s father got Christina to translate both occasions. Sunday  night I may be at the Baptist Church. Tomorrow we leave across the country so this will end the first report for this trip.

Thank you all for making this trip possible, for your prayers and your support!

Jerry Brian
Caleb Good News Ministries


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