Tackling the Issue
One of the visions that ICE and Elpis share is a concern for the village churches in Romania. Most of the pastors that graduate from Romanian seminaries stay in the cities, and the evangelical churches in the villages tend to be led by relatively untrained pastors and laymen. These pastors sometimes have to be “tent-makers” as the villages are so poor that they cannot fully support a pastor. Add to this the animosity that the Romanian Orthodox churches and priests usually have towards “repenters” and the village pastors and their ministries are under a lot of pressure.
Adi Gaspar graduated from a Bible college in 2008 and chose to take his family to the small village of Rastu Nou in southwestern Romania. The original Rast village was wiped out when the Danube river flooded, and government started rebuilding the village as Rastu Nou, 4 miles inland. So literally, he was starting from scratch. Sponsoring churches helped him build a church building, and he has faithfully pastored in this poor village. The church has grown, and now he is working with some new believers to start a fellowship in the neighboring village of Negoi.
However, the distance between the two villages is 15 km and he sometimes doesn’t have enough gas money to make the trip. The believers in Negoi can take their horse-drawn cart to Rastu Nou, but can’t make it when it rains or in the winter. Adi also desires to start a children’s center in Negoi (similar to the one he has already started in Rastu Nou) where children could attend an after-school program daily. It’s a big need because most of the parents have neither the education nor the time to help their children pass their classes. Adi runs a sports ministry for the local teenagers, and has brought several to Christ through those efforts.
This area of Romania is relatively barren of evangelical churches, and pastors are even more scarce. However, the churches sponsoring Adi have finished their agreed-on support for this church plant, and although the church has grown and is thriving, the members are not wealthy enough to support a pastor. Most members work all day just to put food on that night’s table. Adi and his family will have to leave Rastu Nou and return to the city soon if they cannot find support, leaving these believers without a shepherd. ICE provides some support, but not enough right now to keep Adi in the village.
We give thanks to God for Adi’s faithful service. Please pray for Adi and his wife Monica that God would open a way for them to be able to stay in Rastu Nou and that he may proclaim the gospel to the villagers (Col. 4:3). If you would like to support Adi, please donate here.