Saturday, October 24, 2015

A God of the Last Minute, but Perfect Timing

"Dear Lord, You have called us to be medical missionaries in Southern Germany. Would you please provide for our training and also give us a place of our own where we can start a lifestyle center?" We have prayed this prayer for over a year and a half.  In January we decided to go forward by faith and register for the training. And in March of this year He miraculously provided for the first part of our prayer. As many of you already know, we got to spend almost 4 months in the US getting medical missionary training, visiting different lifestyle centers and helping with some prayer initiatives. It was a blessed time that we have tremendously and thoroughly enjoyed.

"Lord, how do we continue from here? Would you, please, provide also a place of our own where we can invited people to help them regain their health? Would you, please, give us a place with buildings already on the property, isolated, with no direct neighbours, with enough land that we can grow our own food and in a nice setting?" We prayed this prayer countless times in the last year, but it did not seem that God planed to answer our prayers any time soon. We knew that God had to do a miracle for this to happen. Why? Firstly, we did not have the money to purchase such a property. Secondly, a place with no direct neighbours it is almost impossible to find in Germany.

We had to do something. We needed to use our time and talents. We kept looking for an open door, and we saw one opening in Eastern Germany. So we told God that if He didn't open a door in the South before the end of September, we will use the door that we could already see. We will go and help a dear friend to start his lifestyle center. We had to use what we have learned if we did not want to forget it. It was not an easy decision to make, especially for me. Moving again to a new place where we knew no one beside our friend was not something that brought me joy. But it helped that he is a dear friend who has the same purpose in life and who has the same approach to the medical missionary work as we do.

End of September came. We could not see God opening a door in the South, so we made the bitter-sweet decision to move to Berlin. We wanted to move as soon as possible, but our friend requested that we wait until October 26. I was not happy about that. I wanted to be able to start my German language classes as soon as possible, but I decided to leave the matter in God's hands. He knew better what I needed.

The same last week of September, Roman was asked to preach on the 17th of October in the church where he is a member (that is 2.5 hours away from where we currently live). He did not want to accept the invitation. He told me that he wanted to stop preaching for a while. He needed some rest. But even though he did not feel like preaching, he was impressed to accept the invitation. He was also invited to have a presentation for the youth in another nearby church the same Sabbath. He was not excited about either one of them, but he accepted both invitations.

The week before his preaching appointment we rented the car to move. We prepared a lot of our stuff. We said our good-byes. We were ready mentally for the big change. But we were not ready for what was about to happen that weekend.

It took only 30 to 45 minutes of a conversation with a friend for God to turn our plans upside down. He shared with us his concerns about giving up too fast on God, about trying to start big when we can start small with what we have. He showed us that he really cared for us. We could clearly see that he hated seeing us leave Southern Germany. And at the end of the conversation he came up with a solution: he had a place for us that fulfilled all the requirements of the Spirit of Prophecy. We found hard to believe the part with fulfilling all the requirements for a health center. We knew this is not very possible in Germany. We had to see it as soon as possible and make sure it is really so, so we visited it the very next day.

We were astounded by what we found there. We knew God can do it, but still found it difficult to believe that He was really giving us such a place. It was hard to believe that He was really answering our prayers and giving us the very things we had asked for: buildings in place, no direct neighbours, enough land to grow our own food and beautiful surroundings.

I thank God for a husband committed to do what God is asking him to do even when it is against what he wants. If he did what he felt like doing, we would have not met our friend and would not have received this place.

It's been a week since God answered our prayers and we still feel that we are dreaming a wonderful dream! And we still ask each other at times: Is it really true? Has He really answered our prayers?

We will be moving there at the beginning of the next year since there are still some arrangements to be made. Until then God prepared for us another place. And I find even more amazing that God has prepared the way for us a long time ago. Before we left for the States at the beginning of April, our friend (the same friend who gave us the property) told us that he has a place for us to store our furniture if we chose to leave it in Munchen. We took him upon his offer. It was easier than bringing it all the way to Ulm. This is the very same building where we will be moving for the next few months. It simply blows my mind to see how God prepared everything many months in advance!

Friends, we serve a God for whom nothing is impossible, a God who delights to give us wonderful gifts when we ask them for His glory. He told us in Jeremiah 32:27 - "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" No, nothing is too hard for God! Let's dare to ask for the impossible, because He delights to do the impossible for His children. We know because we have just received it from Him!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Time for a Change

Lately, as I have traveled and observed people's approach to mission, I thought more and more about our commission and the way we fulfil it. Let's face the facts: we have been here on earth for so long. We have been given the mission to spread the Gospel. And we say that we do it. But our efforts are meagre and powerless. How do I know it? I know it because there are still so many people who have not heard of the Gospel. I know it because we are still here on earth.

Just recently, a friend of mine was telling me that someone went interviewing young people close to Berlin, Germany. He asked the young people if they know what Jesus did for them. And some of these young people did not even know who Jesus was. They thought that he might be a politician. This is Germany, the birth place of Reformation!

We keep doing the same things. We see that we do not have success, but we still we hope for better results. Wasn't Albert Einstein right when he said: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"? Yes, you got it right. I think that this quote is talking about us and our approach to evangelism.

We talk about the Jesus' method, but how many are really applying it? I am not saying that there is no one doing it. There are here and there some who have understood what Christ's method is. But we need more of those.

In Gospel Workers, p. 43 we are told that "during His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching." And yet, how many of us are doing this in our evangelistic approaches? We love to talk. We love to preach. But this is not what the people needs. People need more than our words. They need divine healing. They need mental, spiritual and physical healing.

I read this quote in my morning devotion today, and I was impressed with the approach of John the Baptist. It presents John the Baptist in a different light. We usually think of him as a stern guy who spent time like a monk in the wilderness and who only knew to admonish people and point their sins. Here is a new picture of him:

"From time to time he [John] went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit he studied the character of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the life-work before him." GW 57

What was the result of his preparation? We are told that "multitudes flocked to the wilderness". GW 54

I find in this passage three things needed to be done in preparation for a successful mission.
1. A vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit,
2. Studying people's characters to know how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven,
3. Spending time in meditation and prayer.

We need to study people's characters because we need to find them where they are. Because we need to offer them what they need. Because people are tired of words, they need deeds. Because people are different. Because different people need different approaches. Because people need healing, be it spiritual, emotional or physical. Because it is all about people, not about us and what we think they need. But we can do this only when we have spent time with Jesus in Bible study and prayer, only when we have been filled with the Spirit.

I believe it is time we ask ourselves: Are we doing the same thing and still expecting different results? Are we trying to work without the Holy Spirit? Are we preaching more than healing?

It is time we change something if we want to go home soon!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Eventful Trip, but God Is in Control

We are on our way back home to Germany and we were supposed to be home already. Instead we are still in the US... Why? I'll tell you in a minute.

After the GC Session we were blessed by the hospitality of our dear friend Melody who opened her cabin for us. After 10 intensive days in the prayer room, we were all exhausted. So spending time in nature of the Ozark Mountains was such a refreshment. Who cared that we had a flat tire on the way? Actually, it was not a flat tire, but the rubber started coming off the wheel. Here is the proof:

And who cared that the spare tire went flat after we put it on? Anyway, this might not seem a big thing, but since the car was FULL with luggage (and I really mean it when I say full), dealing with the flat tire took us a few good hours. 

The 10 days spent with Melody and he family were a balm for our souls... Resting and working on different projects in the peacefulness of her place, surrounded by trees and wild life (we have seen many deer, squirrels, rabbits and even a snake) was such a blessing. Mel even organised a late surprise birthday party for my birthday with one of the best vegan cheese cakes I have ever had!

Eating from the fresh produce of Sylvia's garden was another huge blessing! We have been more than blessed with the hospitality of the Masons.

So yesterday Mel dropped us at the airport and we started our journey back home. We made it safely to Charlotte, NC. Than we boarded the flight from Charlotte to London. I was hoping to be able to sleep, but I was not very successful, so I kept checking the GPS to see where are we and how far away we are from London. Two and a half hours into our trip I saw on the GPS that we are flying back. I thought it might be a mistake. I waited for a while and the GPS showed the same thing. I wanted to call the cabin crew to solve the dilemma. But I did not get to do that, cause the pilot finally decided to make an announcement: Because of security breaches on board in the business class, we were forced to go back. What that meant, we were not sure. But we were relieved that it is not a mechanical problem of the aircraft. So we flew back another hour and 50 minutes to Philadelphia. Once we got there, we were asked to stay in our seats until we are given further instruction. Since I could not see what is going on, I heard from a few people that some police came, handcuffed a lady and took her off the plane. A few minutes later we were told that we should take our belongings and wait in the airport for further instructions. When disembarking the aircraft, we could see the handcuffed lady right outside the plane being questioned by a group of police men.

Later on we found out more details: the lady was on medication and drank alcohol. That made her violent. She tried to break into the cockpit a few times. She was violent. She tried to get out of the airplane while we were in the air. She asked for a knife. She damaged a window. They used tape to handcuff her, but it did not help cause she broke it every time. So they had to turn around... since there was no way to calm her down and she was doing more damage.

So here we are, in Philadelphia. Thank God that they changed our tickets. And gave us a meal voucher for each one of us. And when you have a wise husband, a $10 meal voucher for one can feed very well two people for a meal. So we had two (almost) free meals today. I say almost because Roman had to pay one more dollar for each meal.

Though we do not understand why God allowed this, we are fully confident that He has a plan and that His plan is perfect. We are happy to be safe and thankful that we will be home 24 hours after we were planning to. I guess it could have been much worse.

We are fully trusting in the promise from Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

We Have Been Blessed

It is hard to believe that our time in the States has come to an end. What an amazing time we spent here. We take home three and a half months of precious memories from visiting 14 states and meeting many, many wonderful people. Roman and I both agree that it was one of the best time of our lives. We have learned so much! We have met so many wonderful, God-fearing, humble people. And they have taught us a lot of precious things. We have met many old friends that we have not seen in a while. And we have made many new friends. There are simply no words to describe how blessed we are.

After our medical missionary training at Centurion we visited many lifestyle centres (Eden Valley, Uchee Pines, Ministry of Health, Wildwood, MEET Ministry) and learned a lot from them. God surely blessed us with a lot of wonderful mentors. We were blessed, as well, to be able to spend an early one year wedding anniversary in Utah visiting Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon.

We have also spend some time with our dear friend, Melody, at the GC headquarters, in preparation for the GC Session. One of the highlights of our trip was the time spent at the GC Session where we helped in the prayer room. It was such an honour to be able to pray with people. And such a joy to see answers to our prayers. But what we enjoyed more than seeing the answers to our prayers is seeing people giving their burdens to God and being filled with joy and peace! I guess I will share with you some amazing testimonies in another post.

Leaving the States is a bitter-sweet experience. While we wish we stayed longer and continue the fantastic experience we had here, we are also excited about going back and starting to put into practice what we have learned. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us and how He will lead us in the new medical missionary ministry that we are going to start. We serve an awesome God and we are excited to be serving Him!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Counting the Blessings - One Year Later

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since we have started our journey as a family. Time flew by fast, much faster than we expected. It has been one of the best years of my life. People warned us that it might be tough in the beginning, that adjustment to family life will not be so easy especially since we were both in our early 30s, we both had our own way in life. But I praise God for a wonderful and smooth year. Was is always easy? No, it was not. But with God and because of our commitment to solve our differences right away, we can say that sea was calm.

It has been wonderful to work together, serve together, grow together, learn together, laugh together (and let me tell you, we have a lot of fun!!!), travel the world  together, encourage and help each other! I had an idea how I wanted marriage to be but the reality is far better than my expectations. 

I thank God for a wonderful, sensitive, God-loving, humble, mission-minded, fun-loving husband and for his determination to honour God through every aspect of his life and of our relationship. His love for God and people is an inspiration for me. I could not have asked for a better husband. He is my prayer partner, my traveling partner, my mission partner. He is everything I have asked from God.

I do not think that I was ever so excited about the future. And I am thankful that it is God who gives us a hope and a future!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Power of Prayer and Fasting - Testimony

As someone who blogs not for the sake of blogging, but hoping that someone's heart will be touched and led closer to Jesus, I often ask myself if I am really making a difference, if it is worth taking my time to write.

Well, a couple of days ago God showed me that I am not writing in vain and that He can use an imperfect person like me and imperfect blog posts like mine to touch hearts.

A little over a month ago I received an email from a stranger. I will name her Laura to protect her identity. She read my blog posts for the 100 Days of Prayer and came across my personal blog (I have no clue how she did that!!!). Here are two excerpts of her email:

I have never told anyone about this, even now I don't know why am writing this, but one thing I do know: I need someone to pray for me and advise me on how to fast and pray.

Please pray for me. Our marriage has serious problems, which is leaving me emotionally broken. And because of that, I am struggling spiritually and I feel am going deeper and deeper in things which are not good. I can't pray, I can't read the Bible no matter how much I want to (I know its sound crazy!). I don't know who I am anymore and my life is falling apart.

I wrote back and promised her that I will be praying for her. I have told her how I usually fast, I have sent her a power point presentation and some stories about the power of prayer and fasting. I have sent her Martin Kim's sermon on fasting and I have also told her about my experiences with fasting and praying.

I wrote her name on my prayer list and prayed for her every day. I was wondering how are things going with her and I wished she wrote back to let me know what is going on. But I did not want to write to her and ask. I did not put my hopes up that she will ever get back to me since I knew that a lot of times people ask for prayer but forget to give a feed-back.

I was really surprised when a couple ago I saw another email from Laura. I opened it not knowing what to expect. Was she asking for more prayer? Did she have more issues she wanted me to pray for? I knew that Satan attacks even harder when people want to come closer to God. I read her email and I could not believe what I was reading. My heart was filled with joy. Her email showed me that we serve an all-powerful God and for Him there is nothing too difficult. He can change hearts and He can make someone a new person. If only we asked Him!

Here is her email. I asked her permission to share the story and her email so that others can be encouraged to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting.

Dear Raluca,

Hope this email finds you well. Thank you so much for your email. The power points were great! Thank you for encouraging me and praying for me.

No words can explain how much you mean to me. We haven't met but it's like I have known you for a long time because of reading your blogs! You saved my life. God used you to bring me back again into the right place. God used your messages to guide me and answer my prayers. I thank God for using people like you. Thank you for the wonderful messages you and husband are writing for the 100 Days of Prayers. They are so inspirational.

For 6 years my husband and I have been struggling with many issues in our marriage. We tried getting counseling from our Pastor. It didn't work. We went for marital counseling. It didn't work. Marriage seminars didn't work. Nothing was working.

From outside our marriage looked perfect. People could tell us how wonderful we are. But inside us we both knew that we were not connected. Our love had faded away, and this problem affected me seriously. Knowing that I was not loved by my husband made me feel empty, sad, very confused and very lost, to the point were I could not pray.

The more I was not praying, the more horrible I felt! I was becoming depressed! I was going down deep towards hell everyday!

In my 21 days of prayer my greatest request was "Lord change my life, I want to fall in love with Jesus again." I knew very well if I don't have the love of Jesus in my heart, the love of my husband that I was looking for could never fill my heart.

My husband is more spiritual than me. He has been my spiritual mentor since we met! Many things I know about God are from him. When I told him about praying and fasting for 21 days he was very skeptical about it. He gave me all the reason why I should not do it and he was 100 percent sure about it. But I was not convinced. I knew for sure I needed to do it right away even if it meant to do it alone.

It was a Sunday early in the morning that I told my husband to pray for me because I am starting 21 days of prayer and fasting. Guess what??? Without any hesitation he told me "I am doing it with you!" That was my first miracle!!! Before we got married we used to pray together but after our wedding everything faded away. One would hardly see us praying together! Now my husband and I we were going to do prayer and fasting for 21 days!!!! It was like a dream to me!!!

The bible says in Psalm 38: 4 "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."

Dear Raluca, God is so good and so merciful, his love endures forever. I can testify it. God healed my marriage and brought peace and happiness in our marriage. My husband is crazy in love with me more than you can imagine.

But the greatest miracle He did is the work He did in me spiritual life. God revealed to me many sins I needed to confess, many bad habits I needed to change. On my 14th day God gave me a second chance and strength to confess and repent a secret sin that I had been keeping to myself for 10 years. I was afraid to confess it. I thought I will loose everything I had, I will loose my husband. But that Friday God spoke to me that I needed to confess because I lied to my husband.

I prayed to God, I said "God I have decided to follow you anyway, no matter the cost, and if it means to loose everything, I will do it." Guess what? I confessed to my husband and he didn't even hesitate for a minute. He just told me "You are forgiven!" I thought maybe he wants to take time to think about it, but no, he meant what he said. It was like telling me there is nothing you can do to make me love you less. From that day peace like a river flooded my soul. I was free in Jesus. He forgave me all my sins and cleansed me white as snow.

He has been speaking to me through his word and many sermons from his people. Pr. Martin Kim, Pr. Ron Clouzet, Pr. Ivor Myers... Wow... I fell in love with the Word of God, and I love being in his presence.

If I wrote everything that happen I will not finish soon. Just know am not the same woman who wrote to you the first message!!! Jesus came to my heart and this time He came to stay. I have decided to follow Him and do His will even when no one goes with me. It is true if we seek Him and His righteousness He will take care of the other things in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Pray for me, and I will be praying for you too.

During our prayer time my husband felt God calling us to start prayer meetings in the campus where we work. Pray for us that God will open ways for us to do it.

Much love,

Friends, I hope that this testimony will encourage you to draw closer to Him in prayer and fasting. We have an awesome God for whom nothing is impossible. Let's go to Him with our problems and let's trust in His power. Let's trust that His strength can be made perfect in our weakness. He can do miracles for us, if only we surrendered to Him. If only if we trusted Him! If only we asked Him to come and live in our hearts!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Slight Turn in the Road

My husband and I started a new journey a little more than two weeks ago. And we are very excited about it. We prayed about it. We fasted for it. We ask the Lord to guide and supply for our needs and He has done it faithfully. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to Him.

It has been for a while that we felt called to become medical missionaries. So we prayed and fasted and asked God to lead and show us what to do, where to go to get medical missionary training. This is how we ended up coming to Centurion Ministries in Tennessee. We are 2.5 weeks into our training. We have 1.5 weeks left and we are so happy with everything we have learned here so far.

We started realising more and more the importance of the medical missionary work for around a year. And we also realise that the Medical Missionary work will be one of the last two works that will be done until Jesus comes. And it is the thing that will open the door to many hearts that will not open to the Gospel otherwise. Read this inspiring quotes:

"We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work." CME 10

When one thinks that this quote was written in 1902, how much more relevant it is for us today! And this is only one of the many quotes that speak about this.

"Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel, the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes. God’s people are to be genuine medical missionaries, for they are to learn to minister to the needs of both soul and body... As they go from house to house they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise never would have heard the gospel message." CCh 308

"I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work... You will never be ministers after the gospel order till you show a decided interest in medical missionary work, the gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening...." Ev 523

"Some utterly fail to realise the importance of missionaries being also medical missionaries. A gospel minister will be twice as successful in his work if he understands how to treat disease.... A minister of the gospel, who is also a medical missionary, who can cure physical ailments, is a much more efficient worker than one who cannot do this. His work as a minister of the gospel is much more complete." Ev 519

We have ministered to souls to far. We have done prayer ministry. We have been giving bible studies and teaching people about God. But we realised that we are missing the medical missionary training in order to be fully equipped. So we are happy that God opened this door for us.

We love the training that we are getting and we would recommend anybody to join the four weeks training that lays a very good foundation for further study. It may seem short, but it is very intense and one would learn things that are not usually taught in other medical missionary schools. We love that it not only teaches you to be a medical missionary in an institution, to be a leader and to do the work on your own, to assess and treat naturally even the most difficult diseases like cancer in advanced stages. 

Pray for us as we are starting this journey and waiting for the Lord's leading when we are done. Even though there are still many things to figure out about our future, we know that it is going to be exciting working for God as medical missionaries.