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More austerity protests planned in Romania

By January 18, 2012

Romania
(MNN) — Opposition coalition members in Romania clashed violently with riot police earlier this week with the promise of more to come.

The
last few days have been Romania's worst unrest for more than a decade. Evangelist
Sammy Tippit explains, "The economic crisis has grown. It has taken strong
hold in Romania right now with the austerity measures that have been taken. It's very difficult for people financially, and people are hurting, discontent
and taking to the streets."

Thousands came together in the capital
Bucharest and other cities over the weekend to protest the government austerity
measures, demand the ouster of President Traian Basescu, and call for early
elections.

The
unpopular cutbacks were taken under an aid deal led by the International
Monetary Fund to shore up public finances and prop up the national currency. Tippit says, "It
really was ignited during the time when the deputy health minister resigned
over measures they were going to have to take over insurance and things like
this."  

Eventually,
the government withdrew the controversial healthcare reform bill, and government
leaders resigned. Riot police were
called out to quell the mob as banks, shops and bus stations in the capital
were vandalized.   

The
unpopular austerity measures came as a condition by the International Monetary
Fund to shore up public finances and prop up the local currency. Tippit says the scene bears an eerie resemblance
to an earlier time. "The Romanian church has made a great impact on my
life, on how I see ministry, and on how I see the world. I was there before
freedom came and then during the Revolution. Since the
Revolution, we've been there ministering."

That
time shaped not only Tippit's ministry outlook, but also how the body of Christ
responded then and now. "Ministry, from what I know, is still
going forward. Nothing has changed with that. Ministries are still praying for
God to intervene in this situation, because they remember when something very
similar to this took place during the Revolution."

While churches may be familiar with working during crises, the long-term view
takes more energy to sustain. "The Church leaders have been trying, for
several years now, to build their support base. From Western Europe and North
America, they've been trying to build it within the country, and trying to
teach the people in giving. This has got to be affecting them, because people
can't give if they don't have any money to give."

For
now, there's an agitation that lurks around the seemingly quiet streets. Transitions where there are no easy solutions
are likely to draw the ire of the people once more. To that end, Tippit urges prayer for wisdom. "This is going to be a difficult time. What kind of response should the government have? What should the people do?
We just need to pray for a peaceful transition and change to take place within
the nation."

Church
leaders have been trying to ready themselves to be a beacon of hope. However, that may soon become a trial by fire. Pray and keep praying, says Tippit. "I believe that God is shaking the
nations to their foundations. He wants us to turn to Him and seek Him for
leadership."

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