Evangelism and discipleship are two core components to our ministry as we serve in Romania. You could say that they are the bread and butter of what we do, no matter where God leads us.
For the past number of years, we have been serving in a national church plant who's pastor left. After being asked to step in by the mother church (the church that planted it), we lead and shepherded at the church plant with the prayer that they would become healthy and eventually call a national pastor to lead them - effectively working ourselves out of a job.
While leading at the church, we spent a great deal of time teaching and preaching the Word of God, discipling individuals, and training leadership to step up and serve. While in the midst of all that ministry, it became clear that the majority of marriages around us needed help.
Communism stripped the country of so much, and the people have few examples of Godly marriages. They often don't know where to look, or what to do. So we began to do everything we could to help those who wanted Godly marriages. We held a number of events, a weekend retreat, and Bible studies all focused on God's design and plan for marriage.
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When we return to Romania, we plan to continue investing in marriages through the local churches in Romania. We plan to continue to serve with our church planting team and see what God has planned. We know that there are more needs than we can meet, so we are praying that God will bring more workers to the harvest.
The church plant where we have been serving...they are currently in the process of finding and calling a Romanian Pastor. We love the people there and plan to continue to help the church as God leads, but our role there will be much different when we return to Romania.
Mihaela was born into a world of brutal oppression, disabling fear, and the struggle for survival. She grew up under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu, a dark time in Romania's past. Her family held onto a faithless religion for the simple fact that it allowed them certain privileges as descendants of German Catholics.
It was at her grandfather's funeral where she heard the Gospel message clearly proclaimed. From that moment on, she could see God doing a work in her life. Despite the dark times in which she lived, without regard of her own life, Mihaela placed her faith in Christ.
Years later after the fall of Communism, after she graduated with a Chemistry Degree and held a job in a prestigious lab in her city, she felt God leading her to attend Bible College. It was there that she met Chris and her life of missions began.
Chris born in Michigan to a family who was active in serving the Lord. He grew up in the church, and faith was something that was embraced by his family.
At the age of 12, Chris finally grasped the reality of what Christ really did on the cross. It was at that time that he surrendered his life to the Lord and promised to follow Him wherever He lead.
Years later Chris moved to San Diego to attend Christian Heritage College (now known as San Diego Christian College), and to work at Shadow Mountain Community Church (their sending church). During that time, Chris took a year off from school & ministry at the church to serve on the mission field in Romania, where he would eventually met Mihaela.
After being married in 2002, they moved to San Diego where Chris completed his master's degree at Southern California Seminary. Before they would move back to Romania, they would serve at Shadow Mountain for three additional years, and at a little church down the street for 7 years as the youth pastor, associate pastor, and then only pastor on staff.
The Guess Kids
God has blessed Chris & Mihaela with three children; Brianna, CJ, and Abby. As they were beginning their pre-field ministry (deputation) they became aware of the fact that the baby Mihaela was carrying (Abby) had major congenital heart defects. They were advised by the doctors to place all plans of living overseas on pause as this was a serious issue. They gave two different outcomes that the family needed to prepare for. Abby might be born and not survive long after birth or she might be born and have surgery every year or so for the foreseeable future. Not knowing what God was planning, the mission field was on pause. When Abby was born, Mihaela was able to hold her for just a brief moment before she was rushed off with Chris to another hospital. Four days later Abby had her first of many open-heart surgeries. Mihaela was discharged and was finally able to see her baby. It was a difficult time for the family, which drove them closer to the Lord and each other.
Today, Abby is doing well following an open-heart surgery in July 2017 but faces a future with more heart surgeries. Her older brother and sister continue to love on her and "take care of her". All three kids love serving together as a family in Romania - when they are in the States on furlough, they often ask when they are returning home.