Romanian man donates family inheritance to church in need of landcomment (1)
May 15, 2014
By Bob Terry
It was supposed to be his inheritance. The land was to be the place where Marian Jipa built his home and raised his family. The land was next to a plot in the Romanian village of Pitulicea where his grandfather lived. And the home where Jipa was raised was nearby.
But his house church needed a building. For nearly 50 years a small band of faithful believers had met in a home. Once the group dwindled to only three elderly ladies, but they insisted on keeping the doors open because they knew God would send them a pastor.
Now times were better. The church was growing and a program called the Romania Chapel Program was willing to construct a building if the church could provide the land, foundation and building materials.
That was the problem. The small number of believers did not have enough money to buy property.
Jipa found himself in a dilemma. God had called him back to his home village to serve as pastor of the small congregation. He remembered his own experience. A neighbor had invited him to activities at the house church when he was 8 years old. Jipa recalled how much he liked what he found there. But after the local Eastern Orthodox priest objected to his participation, Jipa’s father forbad him to go back until he was at least 18 years old and on his own.
Becoming a Christian
During the years that followed God used the witness of evangelical missionaries from Denmark, a Bible given him by his sister and a visit to a Baptist church in the city where he worked at the time to bring Jipa to salvation. It was not long after becoming a Christian that he married Coca, a pretty brunette from the Baptist church where he was saved. Shortly after that God called him to ministry and eventually led him back to Pitulicea.
More than 20 years after first visiting the house church, Jipa was back living with his mother and father — and this time with his wife and their two children, Philip and Maria.
After praying about what to do God gave the couple a vision. God wanted a church in Pitulicea but it had to be more than a local church. Pitulicea would be like the hub of a wheel with work going out to the many nearby villages that had no evangelical work at all.
Even though the church had no money to build the foundation for the hoped-for building, let alone buy the necessary building materials, Jipa still donated the land where he was supposed to build his family house as the site for the church building. Money for the foundation came in another special gift, which also was an answer to prayer.
Jipa shared how he went to the building supply outlet and told them he needed materials to build a church but that he had no money. He gave his personal pledge to pay for all the materials if the owner would let him have the materials to start the building. God answered the church’s prayer as members and other sponsors provided the financial resources needed to pay for the materials. When the building was finished eight years ago, the church was debt free.
The vision God gave Jipa also is becoming a reality. The work is hard. Resistance to Baptists in the historically Eastern Orthodox area is strong. Still Hope Baptist Church has started Bible studies or outreach activities in 12 other villages since it was built.
Some in Pitulicea still question why Jipa gave away his inheritance. They don’t understand why he left a good paying job to become pastor of a church that cannot support him full-time or why he spent four years in Bible college. Many don’t understand why he lives with his parents instead of having his own home.
But the Jipas said they are doing what God called them to do. Around a Sunday dinner of polenta and pig organs, Jipa points out the water damage on the ceiling caused by a leaky roof in his father’s old home. He shares about trying to add an indoor bathroom to the house for the past two years.
“If God wants me to have a new roof or to finish the bathroom, He will provide,” Jipa said confidently. “God called me to be a pastor and to share the gospel in these villages that don’t have an evangelical work. That’s what I am going to do. That is my inheritance.”