Pastor / Church Planter - Bucharest, Romania
Moise serves as the HeartCry director for the Gypsy missionaries in Romania. He coordinates a large ministry in Romania and abroad among Gypsy communities. Moise pastors the O Del si Amentza Gyspy Church in Bucharest where he coordinates the Gyspy church planting teams for the southern part of Romania. His responsibilities also include leading a school for illiterate Gypsy children and directing a training program for Gypsy pastors and missionaries. He and his wife, Ana-Maria, have one child.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born in 1965 in a small village about fifty miles from Bucharest. My father was an alcoholic and we lived in the slums next to the town cemetery. My father was very abusive. There was hardly a day that passed in which he did not beat my mother or us children. We never had food because my father spent all the money we had on liquor. If I ever asked my father for money to eat or to go to school, he would beat me and send me to the fields to work.
By the time I was sixteen years old I was very bad. I decided that the best thing for me was to join the army and so I left my family and traveled to the capital city of Bucharest. I knew that to become an officer in the army I had to do well in school and be a good fighter, so I worked in the day, studied at night, and began to train as a boxer. I was very dedicated to my goals, but I had one terrible problem - I drank too much. One night after graduating from my studies, I got drunk and found myself in the middle of a terrible fight. The police came and chased us. I was hit by a car and developed amnesia. After I recovered my memory, I presented myself for military service, but the officials told me that all gypsies were liars and thieves and that I would never be an officer. Very discouraged, I decided to enter the military knowing that I would never have the opportunity to be an officer. However, the night before my enlistment, I got drunk and lost all my identification and my communist party card.
After months of struggle, I was finally able to reestablish my identity and enlist, but on the day of my enlistment, I heard two men where I worked talking about God. They were excited about a church service where God had done great things. I asked them if I could go with them. They told me to be there at 6pm, but I arrived at 5pm to be sure that I would meet them. When the man began to preach I felt as though he was talking to me. I began to cry. I left the meeting and all that I could think about was God and the message. I returned to hear the preaching every evening. On the last night there was a baptism. I wanted to be baptized, but they did not let me because they were not sure of my conversion.
Three months later, I went to a little village outside of Bucharest and attended the little church that was there. Since I was from Bucharest, they thought I was an important person and so they asked me to preach. I was so ashamed because I knew nothing about the Bible. I tried to preach the sermons I had heard in Bucharest, but it did not turn out very well. Afterwards, I made a promise to God that I would be baptized and that I would learn the Bible so that I might be a good preacher for God’s people.
Now I am a follower of Jesus Christ and a missionary of the Gospel to my people the Gypsies. The state of the Gypsies is very degraded. Sin, corruption and crime are everywhere. Whether it is in the ghettos or in the country, the sin of my people stands out like a flag. No one wants the Gypsy. No one wants to hire him or associate with him. The Gypsies have no income, no respect, and no medicine. Only 20% of the gypsies have a full time job, another 30% works part time when they can find work, and the rest cheat and steal. The aged have no retirement or income; they are sick and harassed, even beaten by their own children. The youth have no future and no skill except that of stealing. The young girls practice prostitution and many children are born out of wedlock. The children are abused and they learn only negative things because there are no positive things to learn in such an environment. There is much violence and terror. The women are severely beaten, especially if they become Christians. Most live in dilapidated apartment blocks without electricity, water or heating. My people the Gypsies are pushed to the edge of society and the Romanian people and government are not willing to do anything to help them. Even the Christian Church has turned its back on the Gypsies. This is why I am driven to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gypsy. There are five million Gypsies in Romania and more than 800,000 in the capital of Bucharest. I believe that God has called me to reach them with the Gospel.
My vision is to reach every place in the world where there are Gypsies. I want to buy old homes in each Gypsy community and use them as Churches. That way the gypsy missionary who goes to that village can live in part of the home and use the rest of it for a Church. I also want to start Christian schools for the Gypsies because my people have almost no knowledge of the Bible, Christian education, or Christian culture.
Gypsy missionaries you support are now teaching and preaching in an orphanage just for Gypsy children. The first time we went there the director (who is not Gypsy) said that the orphanage was a curse on the Romanian country because it was growing more Gypsies. That tells you how despised the Gypsy people are. We are also preaching in a place here in Bucharest called Ferentini. This place is called the “District of Terror”, because it is the most dangerous place in all of Romania. If you are not a Gypsy and you go there at night you will not return alive. There are many Gypsies there. I want to see them come to Christ. We must reach my people now so that the future generation will be changed.
It is hard for us to work among the Gypsies because the villages are so far apart and there are so few workers. Often there is no transportation like a bus or train and we must walk. It is even more difficult to reach the villages in the winter when there are deep snows and sub-zero temperatures.
The Gypsies live in small closed communities and they are all friends. If you go to preach to them by yourself they will not trust you and they will not listen to you. But if you go in a group they become interested and listen. Your HeartCry missionaries and I go as a group and preach, sing, and invite the people to learn how God is. We have to return many times to the same village and preach the Gospel over and over before the people begin to believe. The Gypsies are very tough people, but if you go and touch their heart, and you show them that you love them, they will open their hearts. The missionaries that you support are Gypsies. Therefore when we tell the people how we were before Christ saved us and how He has changed us, they listen. They know how Gypsies are - we cheat, steal, and are very bad until we meet Christ. Since the Gypsies are so bad, everyone can see the change when a Gypsy is converted by the power of Christ and His Gospel.
Because the Gypsies act and understand differently, we needed Gypsy missionaries and Gypsy Churches that understand the Gypsy culture. I want to thank you for the support you are giving to our Gypsies missionaries. Without them we could not do what we are doing now. We can already see a movement among our people. Our ministry, work, and fruit have grown tremendously since you began helping us. I thank you in the name of my people the Gypsies. I thank the people from HeartCry for their concern. It is a very great blessing for us. Thank you for everything that you have done for our people. You are in our prayers. You are our brothers and you are very precious to us. Before you came to help us there was no real mission among the gypsies, but now there is because of you.
Ana Marie’s Testimony
The first visit of Holy Spirit in my life was when I was fifteen years old. I asked God to show me if He existed. A short time later I felt a peace deep in my heart and a joy that I could not explain. Because I was attending the Orthodox Church, I thought that I needed to go to the monastery in order to follow God. But my mother would not let me to go. She told me that I could go after I finish the 10th grade.
As I grew older, I did not want to go to the monastery, but I continued going every Sunday morning to the Orthodox Church. Most Romanian people only go to church on holidays such as Easter or Christmas.
Four years later, when I was nineteen years old, my mother was invited to a Baptist Church and she like it very much. After that, she invited me and I liked it also. However, I did not know which church was teaching the truth about God – the Orthodox or the Baptist. I thought about it very much. I say “thought” because I did not really know how to pray. In Orthodox Church we were not taught to pray to God; we were not taught to read the Bible or share our feeling and needs with God.
One Sunday morning when I was in an Orthodox Church I became very sick, but when I went outside I felt better. From this, I understood that God wanted me to go to the Baptist church. It was at the Baptist Church that I learned how to pray to Jesus. I learned that I did not need a priest or some saint from the Orthodox tradition to be my intermediary. I learned that I could tell God all about my needs and feelings. It was also at the Baptist Church where I read the Bible for the first time in my entire life, and I understood the plan of God for my salvation. One year later I know that I was born again.
After I finished my high school, I began to look for a job but could not find one. Then, I felt that I should go to the Baptist College in Bucharest and specialize in social work. I passed the exam and studied there for four years.
It was at this time that I met Moise. He was in his last year at the Baptist Seminary and was already a pastor of a Gypsy church. Because he was a student, he was living in the same student dorm. To get to know him better I made a special project for the gypsy children. Moise liked the project, and after that he decide to marry me. In a short time the project became a real Gypsy Church.
The Gypsy Baptist Church in Bucharest now has the ABC School for Literacy in their building. Every year we have about fifty children enrolled between the ages of nine and seventeen. They learn reading, writing, history, geography, and mathematics. However, our greatest goal is to present them with the Gospel so that they can be saved.