Voicu and Ana Marian | Serving in Romania
Nearly 22 years ago at the EFC-ER Yearly Meeting, we said, “Here we are, send us!” Those weren’t “better times” to answer God’s calling; we simply felt overwhelmed by his gracious invitation. We came to Sibiu to be a family to orphaned girls. We weren’t emotionally prepared to minister to their needs, other than speaking the language, but we relied on God’s strength and wisdom one day at a time. And over time we learned what it meant “to love with the love of Christ.” This love has changed us more than anything or anyone, as it flowed through us.
A couple of years later, as we got to know the area, we heard of a nearby village which boasted that it had no Evangelical (“Repenters”) presence. After praying for a year, God opened the doors for us to teach at their public school. The tight scrutiny from staff and parents that first year was oppressive, but we remember vividly the children’s warm welcome. We loved them and their families and teaching these fifth to eighth grade kids seemed to be God’s instrument for reaching their hearts.
Many students came to English class, and some came to a shop class Voicu started. Since both of these classes were extra-curricular, knowing how to draw the kids was often the biggest challenge. One winning recipe we found was DIY banana splits! From that first generation, we developed a strong friendship with Mihaela, who was at the top of her class, (pictured 3rd from the left in the top left photo).
In the fall when many of them started commuting to Sibiu for high school, we invited them to our apartment for a Friday evening youth program. These meetings were not only fun for teenagers, but a time to worship and to study the Bible together, and for us it really felt like a house church.
During that season we had countless ways to get involved in their lives. Mihaela, being a high performing student, wanted to become an architect, and Voicu gave her drawing lessons. As we spent more time together, we talked in depth about the Bible, and she soon received Jesus as Lord and Savior. Mihaela openly shared about being born again with her family and peers, including those attending our Friday group. Her life blossomed, and her family became our friends in the village.
We remained close to Mihaela during college, where she started dating Adrian, also studying architecture. We attended their wedding andwere their prayer support when they moved to France on academic scholarships. Currently they live in Marseille, where they’ve started their own architecture firm.
Over the last year we’ve been especially close during Mihaela’s special pregnancy. After years of prayer for a child, we rejoiced with them when their tiny triplets were born! These are merely a glimpse into God’s miraculous work – and I’m speaking in a much broader sense here. Orlat and Gura Raului feel like home for us because of the people we’ve come to live alongside and love along the way. Mihaela’s story is just one among many, but we feel that it truly reflects the power of God’s Word to go out and accomplish what he desires (Isa 55:10, 11).
We see clear evidence of changed lives, whether through the orphaned girls’ ministry, local youth, or an ongoing Bible study, but we know that much of what God started will be revealed in eternity… and that is the most exciting part of it.