Included here are excerpts of email reports sent by Julie from Romania.
Our intrepid YMG team landed at Bucharest airport on Thursday afternoon 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Your prayers made our transit from the UK to Romania a smooth one. Our team includes 4 Americans, 7 Brits, and 1 Australian. From the cool wet of England we stepped out into a very hot and humid July, typical weather here on the Romanian border.
Our 2-1/2 hour drive to Calarasi was punctuated by a stop in the city to pick up a village pastor and his mother-in-law. Her name was Nicolina and she had just been released from the hospital. The doctors thought they found a cancerous tumor on her breast. They had investigated, closed her up, and released her. She was sitting in the heat, at a bus stop, when we arrived.
John sat with Nicolina in the van as we entered the Romanian countryside. You can see plenty of horse drawn wagons doing farm chores, men in hats for shade and women with scarves on. It always amazes me that wherever I go in the world, there are people wearing t-shirts made in America.
We could tell that Nicolina was feeling poorly. She looked pale and was listless. It must have been a hard ride for her, with strangers who didn't speak her language, riding over some very bumpy roads. Finally we turned into the village. We had to get out of the van and walk because of the condition of the road. The family came out to greet us. We were moved by the scene that took place. Nicolina's daughter came with a one-month-old baby in her arms. The women kissed each other on both cheeks and cried. Five other children pressed around. Chickens fluttered in the yard chased by a dog. Slowly Nicolina made her way into the house.
We were invited into their home with the words, "My house is your house." When a Romanian tells you that, he means it, no conditions. They are amongst the most hospitable people in the world.
We wanted to pray for Nicolina. She lay upon the bed, spent. I asked the team to sing, softly. A familiar chorus took on new meaning in the village house as we sang, "He's my Deliverer, in Him will I trust..." One of our women knelt beside the bed and held Nicolina's hand. The family was there on their knees, crying and praying. We prayed for healing with an intensity born out of a growing love and appreciation for the Romanian people. In a little while, Chris Cunnington asked Nicolina if the pain was gone. She smiled and said yes.
In a few minutes, she got up and walked out of the house, looking very well. The change was measurable. For me that moment wasn't so much that God had touched her physically, that the pain was gone, or even that God answered prayer. What struck me at that moment was the intersection of the passion of Jesus and the suffering of a village woman. I suppose it struck me this way because we have come to Romania to see people set free from suffering. Whether it is mental torment, bodily sickness, or spiritual degradation, it's all suffering in the end. Being with Nicolina and her family was a postcard of what is to come as we prepare in Calarasi. Freedom. Love. Healing. Watching Jesus destroy suffering. 10 days of the gospel in action, Jesus firmly on His throne.
We're here watching Jesus do some pretty incredible things. Thanks for sending us. Wish you were here.
I met Robert on the second night of the Festival. He heard the announcement that we were praying for sick people. Robert didn't speak English, so through an interpreter he explained to me about his stomach problem. He had been in pain for 2 years. The churning acid and pain kept him up at night.
I shared about Jesus' healing power, and we prayed. Then I asked Robert how he felt. "Yes, it is much better," he responded. I then had the privilege of leading Robert in the prayer of salvation. He knew about Jesus, and acknowledged Jesus, but Robert needed to know Jesus as his personal Savior. He needed more than a healing. He needed to have his sins forgiven. Robert was one of more than thirty to make a commitment to Jesus that night.
Later in the week, I met Robert at the city market. He greeted me with a huge grin. Gesturing, he indicated his stomach, and waved his hands -- no pain!! So it wasn't a surprise that I spotted Robert in the Festival crowd that night. He introduced to me his mother and his wife. He wanted me to pray for his mother. I asked them to wait for the message and the prayer that would follow.
It was a great night! Despite the rain, the bands were excellent, the crowd hung with us, and there was a noticeably more serious tone to the evening. It wasn't the rain that was deepening the tone, either. The Lord had given me a message to preach about death, and the hope offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus. As I stepped up to preach, the rain stopped. I was excited to see so many young men responding to the gospel appeal, especially since they had been our hecklers from the first evening!
Robert's threesome found me at the prayer station behind the stage. We began with Robert's mother. As we prayed, the power of Jesus flowed over her, and she was trembling slightly. What she felt she expressed in the tears coming down her cheeks. She could tell us that the pain was leaving her body. Robert was all smiles and volunteered his wife, Marianna, for prayer. Marianna didn't look too happy about this development. I asked, "What can I pray for you?" Before she could respond, Robert piped up with: "She has a lot of back pain." I asked permission to pray, and we went to it. As I held my hand on Marianna's back, I could feel what was like electricity leaving my fingers. God is so cool! Before I could ask, Robert leaned toward his wife and said, "Did you feel that?" At which she nodded, looking a little dazed. She knew that God had answered that prayer.
Robert and his family not only heard the gospel in words, but they understood it personally. They took it in with their minds, and they experienced the presence, the nearness, of the living, risen Jesus. They were convinced. Receiving their healing opened the door of faith for them. We prayed with all three to commit their lives to Jesus. Yes, Jesus is alive today. He still feels our pains, loves us as we are, calls us to Himself, and saves and heals us. That's a story worth telling, and Robert is already passing it on.
I'm so privileged to serve with Jesus in the field,
Laura came the second night of the Festival. While everyone else was jumping, dancing, and praising God, listening to great Romanian bands, Laura was curled up in the back seat of a small coupe. Her family drove her to the Festival when they heard there would be prayer for healing.
From what we learned, Laura has been crippled from birth. She had never walked. Her feet were curved severely inward, her spine malformed. She had suffered in this way from infancy.
First Jesus wanted to touch Laura's mom. When prayed for, she received a jolt of God's power-this wasn't for showing off, it was to tell Laura's mother that God was powerful enough indeed to heal her daughter. She got the message. Check out the photo below to see the change in Laura's mom.
Chris Cunnington crawled into the back of the car as Florin, our interpreter, leaned through the driver's side door. In a few moments, Chris had Laura lifted from the car seat, held securely between her and my husband, John. Laura's body, hanging limp between the arms that cradled her, was shaking with the exertion. The YMG team and other Romanian counselors gathered around, praying. Chris soon had Laura moving, but not too fast. It was clear this young lady wanted to be whole, and she wanted to walk. Though we didn't see a miracle before our eyes that night, we witnessed the faith of one who was desperate for Jesus. Later that week, Laura and her mom were back. There was a marked improvement -- Laura wasn't shaking now as she moved. Her head balanced more normally, and it was Laura who propelled herself forward. It was a marvelous thing to watch.
We have seen this more gradual type of healing on a number of missions. The Lord has moved on me to raise a young woman out of her wheelchair and see her begin walking. In the Philippines, a totally crippled man was carried in each night of our campaign. He got stronger each night until at the last meeting he began to walk by himself. I would, of course, like to see a miracle take place every time. But the grace and wisdom of God is breathtaking in the meantime. Just look at Laura's face. I'm glad we met Laura and her family, and I'm looking forward to hearing how much better she is doing, day by day. Her faith in Jesus was a real inspiration.
Just thinking back over the people who were healed gives me pause to thank God again for all He has done. Sometimes changing lives happens a step at a time, a day at a time; in the meantime I'm enjoying the view.
Living each day for its miracle,