A deep discouragement began to trouble Tavi, a Greater Europe Mission (GEM) worker. His home country of Romania was hard ground in which the seed of the gospel did not easily sink in and grow roots. Those who responded to the gospel were few and far between. Young people were the most receptive, but harsh economic realities forced them to leave and establish lives elsewhere. How could newly planted churches thrive under such circumstances?
The grip of Orthodox tradition
Sometimes, Tavi wondered if he’d misunderstood God’s call to full time Christian work. It wasn’t that Tavi didn’t feel a desire to reach people for Christ. But the Orthodox Christian tradition, with its lack of emphasis on deep relationship with God, seemed to have a vice grip on Tavi’s fellow Romanians. It could take years for a person to come to Christ, or even to build trust in an environment in which evangelicals were highly suspect.
Was this feeling of discouragement a sign that God didn’t want him in ministry anymore?
“Lord, please confirm my direction in missions in two ways,” Tavi prayed. “Let at least one person respond to the gospel and be baptised, and please bring at least one more person to work alongside Nicoletta and me.” Nicoletta is Tavi’s wife.
After praying, Tavi continued with his ministry. When Tavi and Nicoletta visited the parents of two girls attending the church’s programmes, they learned that the girls’ mother, Daniela, was open to hearing more about Jesus. Although she was raised in the Orthodox church, she wasn’t afraid to explore other religions and visit other types of churches. Still, something eluded her.
First prayer answered
When Nicoletta invited Daniela to study the Bible with her on a regular basis, she happily accepted.
“I can feel something is different in you both,” she said. “Your faith seems real. I want to know more about what you believe.” In time, Daniela trusted Christ as her Saviour and was baptised.
Second prayer answered
One prayer had been answered. But what about the other? Did God still want Tavi to continue in ministry? Before long, God brought not one, but several new people to work alongside Tavi and Nicoletta.
“Ever since I prayed for confirmation, God has shown his faithfulness,” says Tavi. “We have not lacked for help on our church planting team, and I know I am exactly where God wants me to be.”
(The original article was shortened.)