According to the CIA website (www.cia.gov), it’s the same size as the state of Oregon.
According to the CIA website (www.cia.gov), it’s the same size as the state of Oregon. But clearly Romania is a world apart, and a beautiful world, at that. Karen and I just returned from a seven-city preaching itinerary in that ancient but modern land, and we’re certainly the richer for it!
We were there at the invitation of Pastor Adrian Bocaneanu, president of Speranţa (Hope) Television, the Romanian Adventist television station seen throughout the country. As it turns out, Romania was one of our strongest partners in NET98, the global satellite event that Pioneer began hosting exactly ten years ago last week. And Pastor Adrian was our Romanian translator (along with 38 other language translators each evening downstairs in the Commons) for that five-week, 100-nation satellite event, the NeXt Millennium Seminar. Ten years later the memories still shine! And it was a very special joy to meet new members who trace their conversion to NET98 in Romania. In fact Speranţa TV, which just went on air this past spring, has been re-telecasting the NET98 series nationally. And so a further joy was meeting new visitors last week, who attended one of the evening meetings because of watching the station. Each evening in each city we ended the sermon with an appeal to these visitors, and we’re rejoicing in the decisions for Christ that were made.
Clearly there was one who did not wish for our 2700 kilometer preaching circuit to even begin! On the very first day in Romania, we were driving from Oradea southward to our first preaching appointment. We were stopped to turn left onto another highway, when the pastor driving us “happened” to look into his rearview mirror, just in time to see a utility van racing up behind us, the driver of the van looking down at something in his hand. In a split second response the pastor released the brake, attempting to accelerate forward. Pastor Bocaneanu was in the front passenger seat. Karen and I were both sleeping off our jetlag in the back seat, when we all heard (you know how you can hear a loud sound while you’re asleep?) the screeching of tires, followed in the next second by that awful crunch of metal on metal, as we were hurled across the opposite lane to the side of the road. In that waking moment I thought we’d had a head-on collision. It happened so fast! Shaken, the four of us crawled out our car, glass and metal strewn across the road. In slamming into the rear end of our small Ford, the van driver struck the windshield with his head and was bleeding. Cell phones brought the police and ambulances—Pastor Adrian and our host pastor ended up in the hospital. Karen and I, relatively unscathed, remained behind at the scene of the accident, while police measured off the 100-feet (I stepped it off) skid marks. A few minutes later an auto tire business owner (who can’t speak a word of English) drove up with one of his mechanics (broken English)—he’d been sent by the pastor to come and rescue the American couple at the side of the road! Bless their hearts, that man and his wife and children opened their home to us, fed us, and then drove us to our evening preaching appointment.Pastor Adrian’s whip lash was fortunately not severe. And the other pastor, except for a sore neck, was also released. But both missed the first meeting. You can be sure though that when we crawled back into another car the next morning to drive on to the next city, our prayers of gratitude were fervent to the Lord of the angels: “The angel of the LORD camps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). No doubt it was the same angel of the Lord who was with those Romanian prisoners held in that communist jail we visited last week—a story I’ll save for today’s teaching, “Primetime: ‘Just Walk Across the Room’” (click on to that title at this website for that story).