This week, hear from World Race participants Micah Torgerson and Courtney Rodgers, with photos from Kailee Knudsen, about serving with Hope Church Romania. They went to the streets to share the love of Jesus with locals, and at the end of the month, invited everyone together to get connected to the local church. Check it out!


 

“Un cadou gratuit” I say as I approach a stranger on the streets of Craiova, Romania, gift in hand. More times than not, I’m met with a look of utter confusion, followed by a simple “Why?” Or “De ce?” And this response is not because they didn’t understand my courageously pathetic attempt at speaking Romanian. Rather, this confusion stems from the fact that I was standing before them offering them a gift, for FREE. 

Throughout our time in Romania, we learned that the majority of the population here religiously identifies as Romanian Orthodox Christian. Our ministry host, Pastor Raul, was kind enough to educate us on the background and beliefs of the local people in order to effectively evangelize during our time serving alongside him and Hope Church Romania. He explained to us that while most Orthodox Christians know who Jesus is, they remain trapped in the laws and the traditions of this religion, that salvation is earned, not freely received. Hence the confusion noted in my story above. 

But what does the Bible say about that? Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, “… for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:21).

Plain and simple, it is not humanly possible for us to obtain righteousness by upholding the law. We will always fail. Romans 3:23 says, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Was it a coincidence that Pastor Raul and his missionary partners were empowering us to share the gospel through the simple act of giving a free gift to strangers? Absolutely not. A free gift is the essence of the gospel. 

Through the faces of confusion, we were able to use our free gifts of food, books, and clothing as a beautiful way to share the free gift of Jesus Christ with the Romanian people. We explained that there was nothing we could say or do to earn our salvation. But that simply because God loves us, he sent his son as the free gift of atonement and because of the work Jesus completed on the cross and his victory over the grave, we are all worthy to receive this gift. 

“… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23


 

Then, at the end of the month, the squad had the opportunity to host two events in Craiova, Romania for the purpose of giving everyone our squad had met this past month an avenue for getting connected to the local church. This was the culmination of a months worth of relationship building and hopefully the beginning of a journey for our attendees to follow the Lord.

I smiled as I looked around our event because I realized that it was Scripture coming to life. The group I saw before me was an eclectic group all right. What I saw in front of me was the most seemingly random group of people that had no business being in the same room together except for an invitation extended from the heart of the Father.

Man did it make my heart happy to see the whole thing unfold in front of me. I saw people of different age, class, religion, and personality type sharing conversation together, dancing together,  and eating together. This is what the Kingdom of heaven looks like, a seat for everyone at the table.

It got me thinking, who are we being intentional about inviting into the Kingdom of heaven? Who are we inviting into our space and loving well? If the only people around you are people that are like you, I encourage you to change that. Invite someone into your space that doesn't expect the invitation, and love them so well that they realize the invitation was always there for them.

What if, by inviting people to taste the Kingdom of Heaven that seem unlikely, we realize that each of us ourselves are the unlikely person that was invited in?


The World Race is committed to activating local church bodies around the world. Do you want to serve God and love others to build the Kingdom of God? 

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