SWAT REPORT # 19
PHILADELPHIA CHURCH AGE REVISITED
I have often daydreamed about ministering for the Lord back in the Philadelphia church age times. Back when times were slower, things were fewer, and life was simpler in our country of America. Maybe ride a horse, albeit I do not enjoy the horse part, into the middle of a rural community get out the accordion sing some gospel songs gather a crowd preach some and gather the fruit into Gods barn for later processing. Who, in the Lords service has not fantasized such an experience?
Yesterday, this privileged servant realized such an adventure. Following our NORMAL street meeting at the train station where we saw two souls saved in publick, 15 of our church folk, including the Chuck Zander family of seven, struck out on what ended up to be an adventure of a lifetime. We drove about an hour to a village from which several men have visited our church we were moved to hold an impromptu street meeting with accordion, banner, songs and preaching and a parade down the center of the village which caused heads to pop out windows and gates and a novel interest in this normally sleepy community. Three male new creatures were born out of this thrilling adventure and we went on our way rejoicing.
We pressed on to visit a village from which many of our gypsy children journey two hours on the train many Sunday mornings to come to our childrens hour. Ramona, featured in many of Bro. Logan and my reports is from this village. After a 5 mile drive off the main road over, through, and into potholes, any one of which would send you to the nearest alignment shop we began our march into this remote village, incredibly impoverished, yet rich with picturesque surroundings. My accordion drew much attention, as did 15 strange city folk boldly disturbing this serene world. About a hundred folk gathered in front, on the sides and followed us to a wide spot between the hovels. As we sang, tears were evident both on the hearers and singers. Bro. Logan stepped up and, assisted by the great gift of interpretation given to Andrew began to minister the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with great skill. The warmth of the Holy Spirit was pleasant to our spirits as was the sun to our backs. He pressed for a decision further pleading came from Dan, one of our Romanian preachers, and the crowd began to stir. Many women and children came forward and bowed the knee to Our Great King and Saviour. Bro. Logan gave detailed instructions and lovingly shepherded them to their new pasture in Christ. Scanning the crowd before us, I noticed that, although many men were listening, none had responded. And although a great harvest had been evidenced before our very eyes, I was burdened to challenge the men in this setting. Through Andrew, I preached bold words to these timid sons of men. The Bible says, the Lord looked for a man and He found none I too have looked for a man among these who have responded and I too have found none Is there no men in this community who see their need to be saved It took great courage for these women and children to come forward, bow on their knees, humble themselves before this village and the Lord they have been rewarded with salvation and eternal life MEN who care for your souls have come a great distance MEN have sung and preached to you today A MAN died for your sins on the cross Is there one man courageous enough who would join me on my knees here now is there one is this community empty of a man with courage equal to these women and children? Suddenly, I felt a body fall beside and against me looking to my right, a man had boldly dropped to his knees as a reflex I put my arm around him and drew him close in an embrace strengthened and embolden, I pressed the challenge Is there another another man who sees his need? Bro. Logan called my attention to my right side where I watched 7 grown men fall to their knees to answer the call. I squeezed a bit more and then introduced them to their new life in Christ. I rose and began to hug the men strange, my first greeting of these gypsy men on this distant planet would be a hug between two brothers in Christ the total count for the harvest in this village was 24 overwhelmed with tearful joy we all promised to return soon to teach them in the ways of the Lord and started toward the cars. A pleading woman ran to us with an urgent request to come and pray for her dying husband Bro. Zander, accompanied by Andrew, entered the abode of a man who was literally taking the final breaths of his life. Amidst much pain this miserable man in his mid forties called upon the Great Physician with whom he is soon destined to have an appointment.
I dont know what thrill Bill Gates had yesterday but I feel certain is was dull compared to the experience of this preacher who was allowed to go back in time to an age when the gospel still moved in simple peoples hearts. Robin, Mary, and I all count it the highest privilege and honor to be in the employ of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ and to be stationed here in Romania the center of his will and blessing for our lives.
It has always been part of the design of our ministry here to be able to travel to other countries in eastern Europe to evangelize, teach, and establish souls and to be an encouragement to other missionaries in the area. Such was my privilege and duty this past weekend. Chuck Zander and three of his fine sons joined me in a ministry journey to the country of Moldova. One of the outstanding missionaries of our time, Paul Hamilton, was our host and his wife our most fine hostess. Together we ministered in teaching in Bro. Hamiltons Bible institute, preaching in his churches and holding street meetings in the capital city of Chisinau. Paul Hamilton is to be credited with a great deal of courage for this bold act which might have cost him a great deal. It still might cost him in the future but at least on this occasion we observed no other response but novelty on the faces of the many folk in the market. Although I have ministered in some eight former communist countries in eastern Europe, this was my first time to preach in a country that is presently governed by the great rapist of human dignity and individuality Communism. It was yet one more great adventure and experience in the rich life of this humble servant of Our Great King.
If you suffer from dry, dull, routine, mundane but comfortable service in the material-ridden west why not put in for a transfer to the eastern front.
with you, but on the eastern front