t r o h s
Y R O T HIS
index... OM International First Spark The Years under Communism The 90’s & The Ministry in Galaţi Love Europe Campaigns The 95’s & The Ministry in Piteşti & Braşov 2000 & The Ministry in Babadag 2005 and Beyond OM Ships in Romania OM Romania Teams - Timeline
International Operation Mobilisation (OM for short) was born from the prayers of a woman who faithfully asked God to change the world through the students who passed by her house each day. In the 1950s, the Lord answered her prayer. Dorothea Clapp (USA) gave a copy of the Gospel of John to a young man, who then turned to God at one of the evangelism campaigns led by Billy Graham. His name was George Verwer, the founder of OM. At college, George met together regularly with another two colleagues for prayer. During this time they were moved by the spiritual needs of Mexico. In 1957, George and his colleagues sold things to raise money, and, giving up their summer holiday, they went to Mexico to distribute Christian literature. They repeated the experience the following summer and then, after graduating in 1960, George and his friends went to Europe. They started in Spain, preaching the Gospel and distributing literature. However, after a short time, they realised that they couldn’t do this great work by themselves. They realised that there was need to mobilise God’s Church and, by implementing this plan, they saw hundreds of believers answering His call. Until 1963, 2,000 Christians took part in summer evangelism programmes. At the same time, the first team was formed in India and the Muslim world. Their purpose: to preach the Gospel all those who hadn’t yet heard it. Today, there are more than 3,500 workers, in more than 112 nations, bringing the truth of God to millions of people.
First Spark 1964 will be the year when OM starts to be a blessing for Romania. About this time Dale Rothon is sharing: “My first meeting with Richard Wurmbrand was in 1964. We sat together in a room with about 15 people. I asked someone the same age as myself, how he knew that the man sitting over there with the smile on his face had been 14 years in prison. Mihai Wurmbrand answered, “That is my father”. Mihai shared in Dec ‘01 that when his father was released from prison he phoned a neighbor. Mrs. W fainted so Mihai talked with him on the phone. His father had been invited to speak for some churches in Cluj and he went there one week before coming home.“ “We spent hours late in the night here him share his heart. He was on fire, ready to go back to prison even though he had been out only for a few weeks! Once, when I visited them, RW & Mrs. Wurmbrand talked in Romanian about a man. I asked who he was? The Ws responded that he was the man who had betrayed W. and because of him RW had spent 14 years in prison. Later that day RW and I went for a walk. We met a man on the street. RW introduced the man to me. I note that the man had the same name as the man who had betrayed him. W embraced him. I mention to RW that that ma had the same name as the man who had betrayed him. He responded to me, “Rothon, we all make mistakes.” “When I asked RW what can we do to help his country, he just said: “Bring The Word of God to my people and they shall be set free!” And this is how we started to put together a plan for smuggling Bibles into communist Romania. We saw the Lord opened a big door for us to help our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe so we prayed about setting up a team in Vienna. This we did in 1968.
The Years Under Communism At first we were about 7 or 8 on the team and then the team grew. We had contact, of course, with other OMers so many - certainly 100s, over the years received Scriptures from us to take to the believers in EE.” The 70’s and 80’ represent the pinnacle of the communist power. More than ever before people were starving, their freedom became more and more restricted because of the secret microphones, raids, investigations etc. In 1971 Ceausescu visited China, North Korea, Mongolia and North Vietnam. He becomes inspired by Kim Ir Sen and Mao Tse Dong. The Evangelical Churches refused to submit to this Cult of Personality, their reasons being the obvious contradictions with the Christian life they were trying to live. Because of this many have been interrogated and imprisoned, or they paid with their life after being severely beaten in the communist prisons. During these years a lot of prayer warriors have been battling in spirit for our country! Many risked their lives and freedom to bring in trucks full with Christian literature. Sometimes they would knock on unknown doors looking for people they never met before, or they would just leave the packages in a dark forest, they would wait for days at the border to bring in the trucks wondering what would happen if they got caught. But this way a million Scripture were brought to the persecuted church in Romania.
And God heard the prayers coming from all around the world! In December 1989, Ceausescu and the communist regime have been finally brought to silence! And there was FREEDOM! People were kneeling in the city centers, praying the Lordâ€™s prayer and shouting from the top of their lungs:
God does exist! God does exist! God does exist!
The 90’s & The Ministry in Galaţi In September 1991 OM Romania was born, as the team met for the first time! After completing training in the Mission Training School, a team made up of Ann Siebert, Hyun Mi Choi and Jo Bassham left Vienna and started the voyage to Galati which took approximately 2 days. “Together with Colin Brazier and Carsten Steins we drove the car to Cluj where picked it up Hung Jung Kim. We were elsewhere on New Year’s Day, on the road, travelling together through Romania. On the first day of 1992 we arrived in Galati, our new home - what great way to start a new year!” says Jo Bassham. From the start, the team lived together with the families of the Baptist Church and the Lord’s Army, while learning Romanian. On 2 March a new member of the team arrived - a man, John Hooker, who was to be the first director of OM Romania. In the next few years, many people have come out and have joined the team. There were many battles, but many blessings and open doors too! There were some disasters, some successes! Even though people said it was the hardest period of their lives, there were a lot of breakthroughs, a lot of contacts build with churches all around the country, especially through the summer campaigns which were called Love Europe.
Love Europe The first time when Romania was involved in ‘Love Europe’ was summer of 1992, starting with the conference in Pardubice, Czechoslovakia, followed by the summer evangelism campaigns. Three of these took place in Romania. The team said: “It was a great blessing to see people trying new methods of street evangelism: Drama, sketchboard, etc.” In 1993 there were 10 teams involved in evangelism in different locations in the country. Many people received the Lord: Men, women and whole families. It was an enthusing and wonderful time! Before concluding the evangelism, the team had already organised periodic meetings and discipleship courses. The OM team was very encouraged by what God was doing? A girl said about that summer: “Before I did not talk to anyone about my belief in the Lord Jesus, and what it means for me. Now, I want to tell you everyone!”
BraĹ&#x;ov and PiteĹ&#x;ti 1996 marked a new era for the life of the OM Romania team. As the team had grown, two teams could be formed. The first part of the year was spent at the new mission base in Brasov. The team which was living there would be the administrative team. Those involved in Galati would continue the work there. At a given moment, they felt that it was time for a change. The team moved from Galati to Pitesti at the end of 1997. For several years there had been a summer team there, and the work had gone very well. There was a good link between OM and a few churches. John and administrative team moved to Brasov and the evangelism team worked in Pitesti. We were involved in work with children and young people. Each developed new friendships: we held Bible studies in hostels with girls from an orphanage, we visited a home for old people and people with disabilities . When the team grew to 10 people, we organised two concerts at the Trade Union House. We then started to teach English at a school. Many of us have remained friends for life. Young people have been influenced and invited to go on a mission and to want more from life. But most importantly, people have heard the Gospel. The OM work in Pitesti concluded in August 2001.
The work in Babadag began in 1998 when two young men came to live and work with a group of people who didn’t hear the Gospel before. Also during this period a group of youth from Tulcea used to come and share Christian Literature keeping in touch with the people who haven’t heard the Good News during the summer outreaches. Mariana Dogaru moved there in the summer of 2000 with a commitment for 6 month which turned out to be 6 years. Already forming a good team they started a small group of Romanians worshiping together and a church for Gipsy Turks. They started a Literacy School at the church for the Turkish children. In 2002 Luminita Dragusin, Esther Clarke and Junko Myasaka joined the team. Together they were involved in both Romanian and Turkish Church. „During the 3 years of Literacy School happening in the ruins of an old sugar factory, God has blessed us with tens of children who learned how to pray, who met with Jesus and saw many of them continuing their studies in the city.
After that The Lord blessed us with a building right at the centre of the community. In time this one was renovated and became a kindergarten for the kids in Bendea neighborhood.” Some of the kids used to bring their parents to church. Only 10% of these kids used to go to school back then. After 8 years of kindergarten, the percentage increased so much that even the teachers and the authorities of the city noticed. Sometimes trips were organized to take the children from both churches to the mountains. This was indeed an event for them because some have never been outside their city.
2005... After the departure of the Hooker family (John and Petronela), the work was been taken over by Herbert and Inge van den Berg, in 2004 and then in 2008 by Rafael and Alice Nastase. Mobilization The vision to recruit Romanians for Godâ€™s ministry continues. Every year, we organize more than 20 church and mission presentations all around Romania in order to help in mobilizing the Romanian church to fulfill its role until the ends of the world. Between 2005 and 2012, tens of Romanians were mobilised and sent out on a long-term basis to serve overseas and Romania. Literature OM Romania offers at an affordable price Christian books, brochures, Bibles and educational materials to communities in urban and rural areas. Bus4Life It is a ministry which started as an initiative of OM Finland, serving in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2007, B4L is used by Romanian churches as a tool to preach the Gospel in an a creative way. Hundreds of people, every year are stepping in at the board of the Bus in order to buy a book, speak with believers, have free medical tests or a cup of tea or coffee. Ministry among Gipsy minority Through this ministry, with various teams from Romania and overseas, we helped Roma churches in social programs, building and renovations, children ministry and door-to-door evangelism. At the same time we are supporting social meals and Roma workers in their ministry. AGAPE Meals Once a week, in partnership with a few local churches, we offer a warm meal to the poor people in the community. Most of these people earn their living in hard conditions. At these meals participate children, poor people and elderly people who cannot afford this and who are most of the time ignored or abused by their families.
Sports ministry The sports work is an energetic and direct way through which we have an opportunity to connect with young people, to become friends with them and share the Gospel with them. There have been boys who have heard the Gospel in football teams and have then became part of the church. Youth and children ministry The ministry with youth and kids takes place every summer, organizing competitions and camps, where they can hear the Word of God. Kids Games and Teens in Missions Programs were blessings for both kids and youth of the churches in Romania. Micro Business Too many young people are leaving the country to find work over seas. Through our project we want to encourage and train the ones who want to open a small business here in Romania, walking along side them in the development process, so that the families can stay together and have a hope and a future in their own country. Short Term Outreaches According with the needs we meet, we get involved in short term evangelistic programs. For example, every summer we organize a Cycling outreach - Biking in urban and rural areas, meeting the needs in practical and spiritual ways. By a dental mobile clinic we offer medical assistance in remote areas. As people are coming, they can receive both medical and spiritual care. OM Romania Headquarters OM Romania Center is such a blessing for us! We can organize here different events both Evangelistic and Fundraising. Renovation and maintenance of the place itâ€™s a full time work though.
20th of July – 2nd of August 1994 The Doulos was planning to visit Black Sea ports in the summer of ‘94 and despite all the difficulties, the Doulos DID visit Romania! This whole experience is quite an example of the spiritual battle we are in! This was an incredible time, but a few things really stand out in my memories: -The Romanian conference participants had an impromptu worship time on the quay side when the officials wouldn’t let them on the ship... and then they were allowed to board! -The increased awareness of people outside Romania, of the spiritual battle going on here (and also in Bulgaria as the ship’s visit there was cancelled) -Livelink - as we waited and prayed in Romania for permissions for the Doulos, Love Europe participants at the congress in Germany prayed for us following a live phone link from Romania to the congress! -Although the ship’s book exhibition was not allowed to open, government officials participated in receptions on board, while ship evangelism teams made visits to orphanages, distributed literature and did open-airs. In addition to the ship’s historic visit to Romania, Love Europe teams also came to preach the Gospel. Homes, orphanages, hospitals, markets, parks and the streets all served as pulpits for the proclamation of the Good News. 2003 – Doulos visits Constanța again This time a lot of things have happened: 49.000 visitors came on board to visit the book shop or to attend the organized events for kids, youth, elderly, women, pastors or missionaries. The International Night was a highlight because 800 people came to watch it! Praise The Lord for the impact that the ship had on so many Romanians! Romanians send by OM Romania who served on board the OM Ships: Doiniţa Maftei - Doulos 2008-2010; Luminiţa Maftei - Doulos 2009; Mihaela Sveduneac Doulos 2009; Cristian Vesa - Doulos 2009; Raluca Cardoş - Logos Hope 2010-2012; Oliviana Ţugui - Logos Hope 2010-2014; Diana Sipos - Logos Hope 2014-2015
OM Romania Team Timeline
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