Sunday, March 9 God answered the prayers of many people by opening the door for my entrance to minister in the prison in Oradea this morning. Nicu (“Nick” in English) gave me a ride to the prison where we met three other local men from the church with whom we’d share the time in ministry. Nick was my interpreter and it was truly a blessing to have him by my side sharing the gospel. Working with interpreters has certainly served to provide a humbling perspective as to how insignificant we each are on our own. How clearly the gospel message may be presented is of no value if the person with whom it is being shared cannot understand what you are saying. This is an example of how God has placed each of us in the body of Christ as it has pleased Him. Without Christ we are nothing and apart from each other, we are incomplete as the body. However, cooperating with each other in the Body of Christ, and with Him at work in and through us, we can accomplish all that He desires for us to do for His glory.
The setting for the service in the Oradea jail was much like that of the prisons in Virginia in that the men were brought into one larger room where the service was to take place. The one word I had learned so far in the Romanian language (peace) was useful to welcome the men as they entered. We were allowed to conduct two services. The first service was well attended with about 24 most of whom have already been born again. In that service, we were allowed more time which allowed me to teach the chorus to the song Hallelujah (written by friend Joel Christopher) and the inmates really liked it. Then I shared the gospel message interwoven with personal testimony. One man indicated that he prayed to surrender his life to the Lord Jesus in that service. The second service was made up of men from maximum security and those who had not yet been sentenced, about 12 in total. Nick confirmed later what I had also felt which was the Spirit of God seemed much stronger in this service. As before, personal testimony was interwoven with the gospel and sharing how it is not a matter of inviting Jesus to be part of our existing lives, but instead, giving our lives to Jesus and allowing Him to live in and through us. I noticed two men in particular – one whose eyes were welling up with tears and another wiping the tears from his face. From amongst those 12 men, five responded.
In comparison to prisons in Virginia, there were some differences that are not significant, meaningful, nor necessary to mention. What is common between the Oradea jail and prisons and jails I have been to in Virginia – they are all filled with people who need hope and/or encouragement and they are dark places where the light of God’s word is needed.
What a privilege to have been part of this special opportunity! A lot had to take place behind the scenes to prepare the way for me to be able to go into the Romanian prison. I told the Romanian inmates that many American brothers in Christ, who are also incarcerated, had been praying that God would open the door for me to be able to come to them and send their greetings and brotherly love in Christ to which they applauded with appreciation. Again – this is an example of the Body of Christ – all working together to accomplish His will. Because of the prayers and efforts of many – six brothers were adopted into God’s family from amongst the inmates in the prison in Oradea, Romania. Thank you and God bless each of you for your role in this harvest of souls.