Tackling the Issue
Life in the rural Romanian villages is hard, so most trained pastors choose to stay in the cities. This leaves the village churches largely unfed and theologically vulnerable to error. However, in each village church, there is at least one person trying to step in and lead the church. These leaders are mostly older people with no theological education of any kind. Some are close to illiterate, but they are all living in the village and are already serving the church.
Our goal, working with Elpis, is to identify the churches that are without any kind of care, identify those persons who are currently leading, and then equip and train them so that the ministry they are doing for the church will be more sound and more effective. These leaders are usually born-and-raised in the villages, so they have a heart for their church and an understanding of the needs of their communities.
We have partnered with The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), a ministry out of Wichita, KS, to provide seminary-level theological training to these leaders and pastors. TUMI already has a full program of training modules, and we are partnering with Elpis in order to have them translated into Romanian. By translating all 16 modules (of which each has 4 lessons), we can equip these leaders to stay in their villages, lead their flocks, and “rightly handle the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)
One current student said in class “I was trying to serve the church the best I could. But now, attending TUMI, I realize how little I know.” Another man, in prayer, said “Lord thank you. You know my desire since I was young I wanted to study theology, but it didn’t happen. Thank you for making this dream of mine a reality. Thank you for making the Kingdom of God not just a concept but a reality that I am a part of.”
Our lack of resources has made translation slow, and at our current rate, we won’t have all the modules translated until 2020+. Also, we’ve had to turn down some requests for classes because of travel costs. We have a plan to change that: we hope to have all modules translated by the end of 2017 and have an enrollment of over 200 students.
Please pray with us that God will grant the resources so that our brothers and sisters in these villages will be able to enjoy God’s word like we do. Also, pray that the training will be effective and that the leaders will be able to turn around and “entrust to faithful men” the teaching they’ve received.
It takes almost $2000 to translate one module, and it can cost up to $2500 per year to deliver one of the classes. Please consider if God would have you help with these costs.