On Thursday, July 1st nine musicians and artists from the Summit Church Boise boarded a plane, packing instruments and art supplies, and headed off to Romania. They were John Futrell, Sharla Futrell, Naomi Futrell, Joanne Kimey, Diana Patrick, Phil Bennett, Katy Knight, my wife Jen and me. Their mission: to work alongside churches in three communities aiding them in reaching outside their walls through service projects and concerts. We went there to love the people, give ourselves away and gain access into lives where there might be opportunity to share Jesus; and Thank you Lord, that is exactly what happened!!
Râşnov Soccer Tournament:
On Saturday, July 3rd (while people in Boise were beginning to turn in on their Friday evening), the Summit Church Romania Music and Missions Team was already up and headed to a sports hall in the city ofRâşnov, (central Romania). There we hosted “The 2010 Romanian American Summit Football Tournament”.One hundred and twenty youth and college age Romanians gathered to form twelve soccer teams competing in a double elimination tournament throughout the day. At lunch we served hot dogs and soda, did a short concert for the teams and shared some testimonies. At the close of the day we passed out trophies and medals to the top three teams and gave all one hundred and twenty competitors a tournament certificate. More than half of the kids there were not Christians and God gave us tremendous opportunity to witness, encourage them and connect them with the body of Christ. Phil Bennett, one of our team members, met a young man who was a worship leader at one time. Over a decade ago he walked away from the church and away from God feeling betrayed, hurt and beat up. Because Phil was there to encourage him, this young man has decided to return to the church and to God and is now pursuing his calling as a worship leader. Others were prayed over who would have never invited anyone to pray over them before and several kids are now attending the church we were working with. Wow!! What a day we had!! Thank you God!!
Dorohoi Flood Relief:
Dorohoi is the northern most city in Romania, located in the east, just a few miles from Ukraine. One week and a half before we left on our mission, Dorohoi was struck with terrible floods. In the middle of the night, in the span of two and a half hours, water from the foothills and rivers caused by torrential rains, rose to 5 and half feet above the ground. Places of business were gutted, whole homes were just washed away and eleven people died. It was no less than a hurricane Katrina type disaster and ten days after it happened, no one had moved an inch. The people there were devastated, terrified and paralyzed. We saw men and women in their falling down houses just sitting, some crying, and some just staring into space not knowing what to do next. One woman told me, “We make great sacrifices here in Romania. Because we have very little, we work for years to buy one appliance and decades to make a home”. She held her arms out to the molded walls and rotted floors covered in mud. Clothing, papers and personal belongings scattered throughout the width and breadth of the house “Now look; twenty years gone in two hours”. She had no tears. She was empty. How we came to decide on going to Dorohoi as one of our destinations was…well, it wasn’t our decision. God called us there. Ask me sometime. But now that we were there, the question was, what could nine people from the States really do in the midst of such a crisis? We would stick with our mission; to love the people and give ourselves away. So, we put our boots and work gloves on, picked up shovels and scrub brushes and began digging in. Really, we didn’t even make a dent in this disaster. But God didn’t send us there to make a dent. God sent us there to make an impact.
On the second day in Dorohoi, Dana Murza, our host, and Joanne Kimey, one of the nine from our team, were asked to accompany some police officers downtown to see “The General”. “The General” was an officer who had been called in to lay plans for groups coming in from all over Romania and surrounding countries bringing aid to Dorohoi. Those groups hadn’t arrived yet. So, “The General” just wanted to meet someone from our team, to say thank you for helping and then, more importantly, try to wrap his brain around how nine volunteers from the States made it to the northern most city in Romania before anyone in Romania or its surrounding countries had gotten there. Dana Murza and Joanne Kimey didn’t waste a second. They told him that we had already planned on coming and that God brought us here which, of course, was an open door to talk about the gospel and to give an invitation to our concert that night. Word has since been sent back to me that “The General” along with some other officers began attending the church we worked with in Dorohoi and some have given their lives to Christ. Yes!!!
Bistriţa Playground Restoration and Tent Meetings:
On Thursday, July 8th we arrived in Bistriţa and went to the church we would be working with. Katy Knight, the artist on our team, began working on a mural for the inside of the church. Some others were assigned to work at a children’s program and the rest were assigned to cleaning up playgrounds. We did this for three days. During the late afternoons we set up church smack dab in the middle of the projects and invited the neighborhood in to hear the worship band and the gospel. At night, we showed the movie “Facing The Giants” (in English with Romanian Subtitles). There were many who attended these events who were not Christians but they wanted to hear. Many heard the gospel and are now attending the church we worked with. What God allowed us to accomplish there was not small in nature because no one had ever set up shop in the middle of the projects and the Mayor had to sign off on our coming to do that. So by the time we got the go ahead, the entire city was alerted to our presence. Ever heard the saying “No publicity is bad publicity”? You can be sure that for weeks leading up to our arrival, “The Repenters” and God were talked about…a lot. Our team made the Bistriţa paper twice and the love of Jesus was shared during a television interview that made the evening news. Filip, the Pastor we worked with, tells me he needs a bigger building now. We’re working on that.
All in all, it was a fantastic journey and we can see that God is using our trip in big, big ways. If you’d like more details about our trip, visit www.facebook.com/romania2010 There you’ll find blogs and pictures from our team members and some videos too which were posted throughout our mission. Thank you, Summit Church, for sending us and for supporting us. The Romania Music and Mission Team would also like to thank you, in advance, for your prayers over our hosts Otniel and Dana Murza. They’re both on fire for Jesus and they’re making such a difference in the lives of so many. Pray that their daily needs are met as it’s difficult to raise support in Romania. Also, please pray for protection over them as they travel throughout the country with Campus Crusade.
With His Music,