In a Romanian village in the Carpathian Mountains, I saw the power of God play out in a remarkable way. I had the opportunity to visit several towns and retrace the steps my Grandparents took in the early 1980’s. My Grandparents smuggled Bibles into Romania from Germany during a time when possessing a Bible in Romania was forbidden. I’ll never forget driving our car into this farming village, where the modern conveniences of a store, hotels, and restaurants or even another car were nowhere to be found. Equipped with the name of a contact that hosted my Grandparents 20 years prior, we entered the quiet village. We approached the house and had a lively conversation using our best attempt at Romanian that quickly turned into hand gestures and acting. Within 5 minutes two other neighbors came over and immediately recognized my Grandparents as if they had kept in touch all those years. The family who hosted my Grandparents insisted that we stay with them. They invited the village for a meal that was prepared in a courtyard and cooked on an open fire. An elderly woman approached my Grandparents with tears in her eyes and a tattered looking book in her hands. The book she was holding was a handwritten copy of the Bible. Others approached my Grandparents with their own hand-written copies. We came to find out that the one Bible my Grandparents had left for the entire town to share had circulated person to person in which they had handwritten their own copy. What’s incredible about this story is the impact the Lord has made in their lives through his living word. These Bibles were not the types you see on shelves, they were picked up daily and had shown signs of tremendous use.
In another Romanian town, we stayed with a family who ran an underground church during the communist occupation. They met for years literally, in an underground room with a musty smell, dirt floor, and wooden pews. Amazingly, this family built a large church directly over their underground chapel. Instead of filling in their old chapel with dirt, they kept the space as a remnant of their past directly below the pulpit.
I think of my Grandparents often and how they have carried out the Great Commission throughout the world over the last 45 years. Their journey started with a short-term mission trip that led to a global distribution of Bibles. Amazing. Like them, God has called me and my family, and yours if you know Jesus, to be his hands and feet in both our city and throughout the world. Grace Church is taking a group on a short-term mission trip to work in an orphanage this upcoming June. Who knows what doors will open and what God will do? I know He will do great things!
Tom, who goes by “T”, works in international finance and is an elder at Grace. He’s married to Sarah and has four energetic boys, Teson, Previn, Sebastian, and Ryker. He loves and serves God in lots of ways!