Romania (MNN) — "Even though we think of the Great Commission as going somewhere far away, it does not negate our need to go across the street or next door or down the block. When God gives us opportunities, we need to be ready to reach out."
Bev Charles has been working with Greater Europe Mission (GEM) in Romania since 1994 with the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program. She also helps with a program for orphan girls, sharing the love of Christ to all. This past spring, some new arrivals created excitement in the area.
"In late spring of last year, there were 95 Filipino ladies who came to Romania to work in a clothing factory," says Charles. When they moved in across the street from Charles' apartment, the GEM missionaries in the area began to pray. The Filipino women did not speak any Romanian at first, but they did speak English, providing missionaries the opportunity to reach out to them.
As they began to invite the women to their homes and to church, the local Romanian church began to follow. "The Romanians in the Baptist church there began to reach out to these ladies," says Charles. "They started to invite them home for dinner after church and take food and clothing to them. Then we began to do a Bible study with some of these ladies in my apartment."
After awhile, this outreach yielded fruit. "One of them had come to know the Lord, and a couple of them had re-dedicated their lives to Christ," says Charles. Most of the ladies have since returned to the Philippines, but those that remain in Romania are still attending the local church.
The unexpected quality of the experience has caused GEM to open their eyes for similar opportunities. Charles says they never expected to be working with Filipinos in Romania, but the Romanian church was able to reach out without leaving the country. Concerning the Great Commission, Charles says, "When God gives us opportunities, we need to be ready to reach out."
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)