Loredana shares the account of her ministry:
We are at the end of the school year and the students have exams and are heading towards the summer vacation. Therefore we finished the weekly discussions from the Alpha course. Last themes were on the subjects of evil and suffering and how God guides us in life through the Bible, prayer and the church. Some non-Christian students come from time to time to these discussions. We did a lot of informal meetings this stressful exam month like volley ball meetings, excursion to the mountain, etc. We also plan a longer evangelistic retreat in the mountains in July.
We started the evaluation and planning and we are looking ahead at the next school year. We have many reasons to thank God for this past year. Before the year started we were praying for stronger community and relationships between us, for freshmen students and their integration among us, for the Mission Week and follow-up. Looking back we can see God answered all of our prayers and at the end of the school year there are stronger relationships and community, God brought freshmen students who got involved and invited their friends in the student community and activities, and the Mission Week and follow-up were very good in many ways. We are also very grateful to God for the people who brought with us who have a heart for evangelism, for the opportunities to share the Gospel, for every student who attended our events, camps and activities.
Something new this year was that we transformed our weekly meetings in order to be open to unbelievers all the time. In the past we had meetings designed only for Christians consisting in worship, prayer and topics interesting only to Christians. We decided to have a more open approach all the time, discussing questions that both Christians and their friends have. As a result, all year long we had in our midst students who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, but are interested to investigate the Christian faith, which was very encouraging.
We are also thankful for the international student conferences that our students attended which were such a motivation to all of them! They learned so much about evangelism and came with lots of ideas how to engaged better with their colleagues. Many of the freshmen students started to be more involved in their colleagues lives and discuss naturally about their faith with them. It was encouraging to hear all these discussions and opportunities and to see they develop friendships with their classmates.
We have started the planning of the next year based on the evaluation we did and the needs that we saw at present. We decided to invest a little more in trainings in evangelism and how to share the Gospel. We also want to have regular prayer meetings and to develop a prayer network in order to sustain everything we do through prayer. We continue to pray for freshmen students, evangelistic relationships and the evangelistic plans for next year. We plan to do another mission week in November and we need prayers and wisdom in choosing the themes, the places and the speakers. We had around eight planning meetings so far and we are thinking of choosing apologetic themes such as: Suffering – the absence of God? Are religions different ways to get to the same God?, etc. We did an online survey with around 50 apologetic themes and questions and we wait for people to fill in the questionnaire in order to see what would be best to choose from. Please pray for wisdom and guidance in this process. Next year we also plan to do a Mission Week in Latvia for international students together with the Latvian and Dutch students. They have a fruitful ministry there. One of our graduates served for one year with international students and her experiences and discussions she had there were incredible!
One day we went out for street evangelism and had a few discussions with people, giving them tracks. We talked with a young men who said he believes in the existence of God but he was not interested in what God had to say about his life and salvation. He was eager to share about his beliefs and we listened him a bit, asked him a few questions and shared about our beliefs. In the end he promised he will read the booklet we gave him. Then another men stopped and I was surprised how well he knew the Bible. He could quote large portions by heart! He talked for a long time about Orthodoxy that he considered the first and the only legitimate religion. Religion filtered all his perspective about Christianity and salvation. It was quite a sad experience.
I have recently thought a bit more about the importance of giving out tracks to people. We never know how the Lord will use them in the salvation of people. Last week when I visited a friend who has cancer, I gave her a booklet to read. In the same room with her there was another lady who had cancer and who recently started to read the Bible. I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to her much because she left the room to answer a phone call. When I left, I saw her on the hallways and I told her that I gave my friend a booklet she might be interested to read. My friend gave her the booklet as a gift and I was very happy to hear that, because I can give my friend another one anytime, but I could not give it to the other lady. I pray for their souls that the Lord will make them understand that salvation is only by grace, by faith through Jesus Christ!
Next month I’ll be involved in a lot of mission projects in other countries and Romania. At the end of July we have our evangelistic summer camp. In the Republic of Moldova I was invited to help in their evangelistic English camp. During the days they have Bible studies and I will serve as translator for the Americans that will lead them. Early in the mornings the evangelical students with have their own meetings and the team asked me to have five short training sessions about sharing the Gospel and relational evangelism. I’ll also be involved in a student summer camp in a Muslim country. We need prayers for all these opportunities that the Lord will use them in students hearts to draw them to Himself.