HeartCry missionary Marian Toma reports of some of the unique opportunities that have been provided in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in Eastern Europe.
A seventy four year old widow was hospitalized in Bucharest on March 10th for almost two weeks. I visited her twice in the hospital and prayed for her. Then the hospital was placed in quarantine and I couldn’t visit her anymore. I bought medicines and ave them to a nurse at the hospital gate for the woman. The sister went to be with the Lord on March 20th. So we had to organize the funeral while our country was under a state of emergency. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want to get a fine. I was told to go to the police station in order to find out what I should do in this situation. Then I called another brother who is a member of the committee of the Bucharest Baptist Community. He also told me to go to the town hall and to the police station in order to find out what I could do. I am thankful to God for these special brothers who guided me in this situation. I talked to the police officer and he said that we were not allowed to gather for the wake, but could for the funeral. So I prepared eight chairs and put them outside, two meters from each other.
The brothers from the church in Tunari came and we talked from the Bible about these times we are living in. During the funeral I brought a group of young people with a guitar and they stayed one meter from each other. This is how the funeral took place. I invited a pastor from Bucharest to preach, but we didn’t have a large audience. We sang all the way to the cemetery, but the people didn’t come out at the gates, as they used to do. They were afraid of the virus.
This month was special. I heard many things about health, sickness and the medical system, I read gloomy of the prognoses from specialists, but I didn’t panic or worry. I heard that I had to stay inside, but I didn’t completely isolate myself. I remained inside, but I communicated with my family, believers and friends. When I went out, I shares with my neighbors, and with other knows or unknown persons. I also gave them Gospel tracts. I went to buy flowers for the funeral of the deceased sister and talked to the flower girl. Hearing that I was a pastor, she told me about her problems. Her husband is a truck driver and has been cheating on her for many years. She says she loves him.
One day she wanted to kill herself. She was driving her car and took her hands from the steering wheel, but fortunately her friend who was in the car managed to take over. I talked to her from the Bible and, as she was listening to me, she received peace from the Lord. She promised she would come to church, but now she is unable. I will visit her again.
I prayed and I studied God’s Word more carefully and was available for my family, for the believers and for the people in the mission area. The families from our church gather almost every night for the reading of God’s Word and in prayer.
In the first two weeks, we kept visiting the people that attend our meetings. A brother asked me what he could do for the ministry, because God was so good to him. I saw he had an amplifying system and I asked him if we could borrow it for the ministry. He said he wanted to donate it for ministry. So when we meet, we use the amplifying system and people could hear us from far away. Many people are attending our meetings in Stefanesti and we already don’t have enough room in the house where we meet. Nelu and Florin attended our meeting for the first time. They said they found themselves enjoying the preached Word. They said they wanted to keep attending the worship service.
When I announced that we could no longer meet, the people in our mission area started crying, especially those from Stefanesti. We are keeping in touch during all this time.