HeartCry missionary Lore Tk serves the university students in Bucharest, Romania. Her ministry primarily consists of evangelism and the discipleship of young women. One of the major gospel events of the year is the annual ski camp when students are invited to sign up for a snow sking getaway where the gospel is presented. The young men and women who attend the event are instructed in the gospel and given opportunities to ask questions. Lore shares in this month's report:
The evangelistic ski camp was the highlight of this month. We had over 50 people who attended the camp. In spite of the great number of people, including over 30 people who were new to our community, it was a wonderful atmosphere of openness, love and unity. Some of the people came for the second, third or fourth time, however, most of them came for the first time from relationships or from advertisement through posters or Facebook. The new participants felt welcomed in our midst and were open to discuss the Bible texts we chose for discussion. The last evening we had a sharing time. Most people appreciated the others, especially the ski instructors. They also appreciated the atmosphere, the community, the skiing and the spiritual discussions. This is what one of the new students said:
“When I heard about this camp I just wanted to come to learn to ski. I thought it was strange that we were going to have discussions about the Bible that related to our lives. But I can honestly say that the three discussions exceeded my expectations and were more interesting than I could have imagined.”
The schedule was quite full with skiing lessons, small group discussions, Bible expositions, and evening activities. We were glad to see the progress people made in learning to ski or snowboard. God protected us amazingly and nothing major happened. There were also many spontaneous conversations while we were eating, skiing and playing together.
We had three talks along with discussions around the topics: Who is God?, Humanity: Good or Bad?, and the Exclusive claim of Christ to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. Students commented that they had never heard anyone explain why we need Jesus and they loved that we could sit and discuss these topics together. We were so encouraged by the student’s questions. This is what our discussions were like: What does it look like to love God? How do you think of God? As a force, a person, or a spirit? Why was it necessary for Jesus to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us? What kind of faith is necessary in order to be with God? Many students showed interest in continuing these types of conversations when we got back home. Here are a few of their impressions:
- “The camp helped me to redirect myself towards a way I had lost some time ago. I am not yet completely decided and confident in Christianity, but I want to start this journey by reading the Bible.”
- “I loved the camp! I learned why the sacrifice of Jesus was necessary on our behalf. I found out and understood the solution for our sins.”
- “Two things come to my mind: faith without obedience is dead and Jesus Christ suffered much more because of the sins attributed to Him then from the crucifixion itself.”
- “Sin is an offence to God with serious consequences because God is the supreme authority. We have grace in Jesus Christ.”
- “I learned that salvation is received by faith in Jesus Christ.”
- “I loved the positive energy of the community and the skiing which has become my favorite sport. I was surprised by the spiritual openness of the participants. All my life I knew that God existed. The relationship with God develops especially in the difficult moments of life, through prayer, or in the good moments of life, through thankfulness.”
- “I loved everything! The instructors, the community, the food, everything. I learned that faith and love are the way towards God. After this camp I want to take into account the laws of God.”
- “During these days I felt closer to God. It was a new experience to talk about religious subjects and find out different points of view.”
- “I better understood the statement from the Bible: I am the way, the truth and the life. I liked that people were open to discussions about religion, which is usually avoided.”
We had eight small groups and it was a different dynamic in each group. In my small group I had three students who were doing a Bible discussion for the first time. Things were new to them. They were surprised by the God of the Bible who is holy and just, punishing sin, even though He is also loving and merciful. They were also surprised to hear we don’t deserve the goodness of God because of our rebellion against him. We discussed John 14:1-11 and I asked them why is Jesus the only way to salvation. One of them said that the presentation was very clear: Jesus is the only way to salvation because we are sinners, sin must be punished, and Jesus Christ was punished in our place. We talked about Christ as our only solution, given to us totally free, undeserving, by faith alone. We also talked about the claims of other religions and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as God and Savior of sinners.
After the camp a few follow-up meetings were scheduled such as a pizza evening, boardgames, and a morining brunch when we remembered the ski camp. We are very happy to see that students joyfully come and feel welcome in our community. We pray for good relationships and that we will be able to start new discussion groups in the next few weeks with these students.