December 6, 2004


There is a principle in the Bible that the Lord chooses the second rather than the first. Examples… Not Ishmael but Isaac… Not Esau but Jacob… Not Saul but David… Not the law but grace… Not the first Adam but the second Adam, Jesus Christ. I said it is a principle… not a law, therefore it does not always have to work this way in everyday life. Consider the tale of two Andrews.

(Mat 21:28-32) But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

This portion of scripture came to mind as the events of this past weekend unfolded. But, let me start at the beginning. The very first street meeting we held here in Brasov the first Andrew approached us with much excitement. He spoke very good English and seemed genuinely interested in our spiritual activity. He asked many questions without any seeming guile, however in hindsight Robin and I both confess there was an unsettling in our spirit concerning him…(1 Jn. 4:1-3, 1 Cor. 12:10). His excitement, I choose my words carefully, incited him to accept the offer we extended to attend church the next day. Our immediate joy abounded and, sure enough, we picked the first Andrew up at the appointed time and place. We witnessed to him all the way to church, he was preached to, and witnessed to extensively after church by several of us. My emotions were mixed… desiring fruit… but with reservations not to pick green fruit. One question with another… push came to shove and the first Andrew got on his knees and, at least gave the Lord lip service. We all rejoiced, I put his picture and brief story in my SWAT REPORTS, but it just did not all ring well. The Spirit did not fully bear witness, but then he is just a new-born, and, oh well, give him some time. I followed up with preliminary discipleship and we drove home. On the way home the first Andrew gave us a sad story of bad upbringing and home life... living on the street… no job due to no national I.D… There was some substance to his tale but there were holes in the story which we credited to the language barrier. He spent the night at our house. (James 2:16 KJV) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? He slept on the couch downstairs but I took my money, passport and other valuables with me to our bedroom upstairs… I also slept in Mary Bethany’s bed and she slept with her mother. I locked both outside doors and took the keys with me. With many years of rescue mission work behind them I think that Jimmy Hood and Bear would agree with these precautions. His fruit became manifest (Mt. 7:20) when he abruptly left at first light and, unbeknownst to me, with my cell phone in his pocket. The phone was from USA and was worthless over here, but the first Andrew had no way of knowing that.  But… it had all my personal phone #’s in it. We have not seen nor heard from the first Andrew since.

That same first week I met the second Andrew. He lived in an apartment across from our building and I saw him on his balcony. I greeted him and offered him a tract which he promptly came down two stories and received with thankfulness and geniality. We waved and greeted him for several days…had him over for dinner…and generally befriended him. We took our time with our witness, knowing the probability of his availability. I gave him several tracts which I watched him read through. I gave him a Romanian New Testament which I observed him reading with great interest. A photo of this second Andrew appeared on our website as he read a tract from his balcony. Our friendship grew as he respected who and what we represented and he eventually came to church. Andrew engaged himself in the service and paid avid attention to the message. He enjoyed the fellowship of all, but especially the Romanian Christians. He became a regular at our dinner table and whenever his work would permit…church. We were all praying and ministering to Andrew in every way that gave us peace. He truly became a very good friend even though he had not trusted the Lord yet. He liked what he saw in us and desired the abundant life which is only offered in salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. His basic character was of good quality…he was clean, genial and worked very hard. He was sincere in his spirit and in his investigation of the truths of the gospel. His faith found a resting place this past Saturday night when, after spending a work day with only Christians, alone and on the way back to our house, Andrew prayed the sinner’s prayer and became St. Andrew. He is presently living with us and has become a sponge to Bible instruction. Although he has just entered basic training, he shows every promise of becoming a good soldier of Jesus Christ. His photo is to be posted soon… please pray for Andrew.

For the first time in preaching outside the USA in 24 nations we have been stopped by the police. Rent-a-cops objected to the Lord’s presence on the busy plaza this past Saturday and with the combined experience and arguments of both myself and Bro. Logan, we lost the battle, but not the war. Real police eventually backed the decision of the rent-a-cops in the enforcement of a supposed rule of having to obtain a permit from the mayor’s office. So we had no option but to fold up for that day. The Romanian constitution is much clearer than the US constitution in allowing the free expression of belief, demonstrated in voice, sound, pictures…etc. We are in the process of confronting the Mayor with this but we have to tread lightly through the tulips because we do not yet have our five-year visas. Thank God for a Romanian man who was with us named Sorene. He has some fight in him and is carrying on this fight as a free citizen of Romania. We are neither foiled nor discouraged. There are many other options still open to us and we have just begun in this battle.

But we do need your prayer. Please pray for this wrinkle with the authorities. Pray for Andrew. Pray for our visas. Pray for Bro. Logan’s container to arrive this week. Pray that Bro. Logan’s sawmill can be brought in from Poland. Pray for a container of Fellowship Tract League tracts to arrive. Pray for more Chick tracts. Pray for a building for our church. Thanks you for your prayers.

PS…I’ll tell the story of our language lessons that I promised in the next report.