My name is Tomeci Ion and I have currently served as a pastor for 10 years in the Providence Baptist Christian Church, Brasov, Romania. I want to share with you concerning the great grace of God in my life and that of my family.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born in 1968 as the second child of an economically and socially ordinary family like most Romanians under the communist system. I grew up in my village where I graduated from high school and then I went to high school in Curtea de Arges. In terms of Christian teaching, I grew up in the Orthodox Christian Church as a whole community in my village. My family didn’t go to church too often because of communist pressure, so I didn’t go to church either. The graduated high school was near a famous Orthodox cathedral and during the Orthodox Easter we listened to the service of the priest there, although we were forbidden to participate or any other religious activity. I was exposed to the Orthodox service but I didn’t understand much and I continued life as I understood it.
I went to the army for a year and then I managed to pass the exam to go to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. There I met my wife, Ani. We were college classmates. She was from Piatra Neamt, where the Orthodox influence is even stronger than in my area. In 1990, after two years of friendship, we got married. My life up to that point had been a life lived without the Gospel message and without ever reading God’s Word. We were not allowed to have a religious book in the house. All I knew was a few prayers. I tried to be as moral as I could but I didn’t understand who the person of Jesus was.
The year 1990 was also the year of the change of the communist power in Romania and the life of the Romanians started to be in a continuous change. Society as we knew it was disintegrating and another face was beginning to take shape. In 1992, when I was in my fourth year of college, I saw the movie: “The Life of Jesus”, loosely following the Gospel of Luke. I was impressed by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and for the first time, I understood that the Lord Jesus died for me. I remember a thought from then, it was in my heart: “God, if you died for me, I want to live for you!”
We discovered that another family, colleagues with us, were going to an evangelical Christian church nearby. My wife and I went with them to the Golgotha Baptist Christian Church in Bucharest. Our lives really began to change. I understood the Gospel message more and more clearly and experienced its power to change. My wife Ani and I received the Gospel at the same time, and our growth in the Word was together. I graduated in 1993 and started working as a veterinarian in Bucharest. After our conversion, we started to be involved in the mission among the students from the Bucharest Agronomic Student Complex. We joined the teams of missionaries from America who came to preach the Gospel among the students. We faced opposition from our families, colleagues, and friends, but the Lord helped us overcome through faith and patience.
Call to Ministry
All this time we were growing in the knowledge of the Word and our beliefs were deepening. We worked for a year as veterinarians in Bucharest. Ani and I decided to give up our careers and become missionaries among students. I had no children at that time. Since 1994, we have set out on the path of financial dependence on the Lord, with a fire in our hearts to let us go and spread the gospel and make disciples. I preached the Gospel for 3 years at the University of Bucharest. In 1996 I met Brother Paul Washer who came to invest in Romanian workers. I remember well how I was in our apartment in Bucharest, talking to my brother and still asking me the question: “Why?” The brother Paul was trying to understand my heart. Theologically I was not mature, but I was born again and I had the call of the Lord to go on the path of missions. The brothers invested in me and I was accepted into the group of missionaries assisted by HeartCry. They start at $ 50 a month. I have seen the faithfulness of the Lord in my life. We moved to other cities in Romania, to take the Gospel there as well.
So I was 2 years in Brasov, and then 11 years in Timisoara, cities with large universities and a large number of students. I benefited a lot from financial and theological help. All this time I attended conferences organized by the Brothers at HeartCry for missionaries and then repeated them on the University Campuses in the cities where I worked. So Brother Paul spoke at universities to students in Brasov, as well as in Timisoara. The Lord has blessed us greatly and I thank Him for all the Grace we have received through our association with the HeartCry Mission.
In 2010, through a series of events surrounding my work on campuses, I understood that the Lord has a new calling for me and my family. The call was to plant a church with a healthy Bible teaching that would honor our Lord Jesus. We moved to Brasov that summer, although we had two children in the public school in Timisoara. We all made a great effort at that time to leave our apartment and to live in rent again, and the children to go to another public school in Brasov. Flavius was 16 years old and in the ninth grade and Rebecca was in the sixth grade. There were moments of doubt if this was the Lord leading us, or if I was following my own inclination! There were times when we fought in our faith if it was necessary to pay that price. I thank the Lord that He has always intervened in our lives and arranged things and blessed us.
Thank you for your cooperation through the HeartCry Missionary Association! Thank you for being faithful and together we build the work of the Lord in Romania and around the world!
With love in Christ,
Ion and Ana Tomeci, Providence Baptist Christian Church