|(Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders)|
Romania (MNN) ― While Romania is no longer a communist country, the government may be dipping their toes back into its history of trying to control the church.
Legislation being considered by the Romanian government specifically targets smaller churches.
Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders says, “The government is clamping down. They’re making it more and more difficult for the churches. There’s talk of even closing down churches that are under the number of 200 people.”
Klein says the threat of government slowly taking control may not be well recognized by the Romanian people. “People are thinking, ‘Well, it wasn’t so bad under communism. At least the government took care of us.’ They forget the oppression they lived under, and especially as Christians, what kind of oppression [they endured].”
Vision Beyond Borders sent a mission team of 10 people to Romania last week to work with a church that is under threat of being closed down if this legislation is passed.
Despite this threat, the church’s ministry is still growing and impacting Romania for Christ.
According to Klein who led the trip, “One of the elders in the church really has a heart for the gypsy people. His wife is actually from a gypsy background, so he’s really encouraged our teams to go out and minster to the gypsies. He said, ‘I really love these people. I want to reach them with the Gospel.’”
The team helped minister to the gypsy community, which experiences a great deal of discrimination. “There’s a minority of them that kind of have a bad reputation in Eastern Europe of being pickpockets and thieves, and so they’re really looked down upon in Europe and especially in Romania.”
Among the gypsy community, team members gave out clothing, vegetable seeds, and provided electricity for one woman’s house. They also shared the message of salvation, and five people accepted Christ as their Lord. The team set up a PA system and sang worship songs.
Pray for the Romanian church to continue impacting the gypsy population for the Gospel of Christ. Pray that the government of Romania will not shut down smaller churches.
Vision Beyond Borders will send out another mission team to Romania in September. They will build a home for the director of Haven of Hope orphanage which shares a compound with the church.