Southern Baptist reps concentrate on Buzăn Countycomment (0)
May 15, 2014
By Bob Terry
Buzãn County is only a few miles from Bucharest, but it might as well be on the other side of the world. Bucharest is a cosmopolitan city and has been since it was a trading center along the old Silk Road connecting Europe with China. Buzãn County is primarily agricultural. Dark rich dirt grows grains, vegetables and other products that make it part of the breadbasket of Romania.
Bucharest is dotted with international companies, manufacturing centers, transportation hubs and universities. Buzãn County is dotted with greenhouses and farm sheds.
Bucharest is a city of 3 million people with architecture that earned it the title of “Paris of Eastern Europe” before World War II as well as now showcasing the latest steel and glass high-rise skyscrapers. Buzãn County is filled with small villages spread between flat fields broken only by lines of trees marking the roads that crisscross the county.
In Bucharest a little more than 0.5 percent of the population is evangelical Christians. In Buzãn County the percent is 0.19.
For Dwayne and Donna Brown, the situation is even more challenging. Currently this couple concentrates on a 1,000-square-mile area of Buzãn County with a population of about 30,000 and only one church — Hope Baptist Church in the village of Pitulicea that averages about 30 people in its worship service.
There these Southern Baptist representatives found a ministry partner in Marian Jipa, who shared their vision of reaching the nearby villages with the gospel (see story, page 1). The Browns cannot be in the area all the time but Jipa is a permanent presence.
The Browns — along with other United States donors — helped fund expansions at the Hope Baptist building. The additions include a kitchen, bathroom and small apartment where the Browns and volunteers often stay.
Last summer Brown worked with two volunteers from the Baptist seminary in Bucharest in evangelism and ministry projects in the various villages. Volunteer teams from the U.S. also have helped him in ministry.
Within 15 minutes by car in various directions are at least 20 villages. But most people in the area do not have cars or other forms of public transportation. Most walk, ride bicycles or ride in horse-drawn wagons. If residents have to go to town for some emergency, most hitchhike.
In villages like Casota, population about 2,000 in a series of connected villages, and Margineanu, population about 1,000, families from Hope Baptist have opened their homes as outreach centers. The “JESUS” film has been shown to outdoor audiences and ongoing Bible studies have been started. The Browns hope these Bible studies will someday grow into churches.
Walking the village lanes and talking to people along the way has been the primary outreach strategy. Most of the conversations are pleasant, the Browns said. Some turn to spiritual matters. A few have resulted in individual Bible studies.
But sometimes situations can turn tense, they noted. Baptist Christians have been verbally abused and physically threatened in some places.
In Florica a home has been purchased in hopes of starting a new church plant. A Romanian pastor would live in the house and the church would meet in a building being constructed on the lot. At present the structure is only partially built. Brown said it will take about $5,000 to finish the project.
“Working in the villages is not for everybody,” Brown reflected. “But this is where God has called me. These people need the gospel like those in Bucharest and every other place. Maybe God will lay it on someone else’s heart to help us reach these rural villages with the gospel.”