Tilling God’s Garden in Romania

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Steve and Jan Michmerhuizen do not readily fit the customary definition of “missionary.”

Steve Michmerhuizen, Joel Hogan, and Joel Huyser with Bea Lőrincz, a youth leader.

Although both are experienced leadership trainers, they did not go to Romania with a predetermined program to implement.

Think of the Michmerhuizens as tillers or cultivators. The seeds of the gospel have been planted in Romania by others. Many of these seeds have grown into plants that are already bearing life-giving fruit.

But tillers or cultivators do not think only about individual plants. They are concerned with the whole ecosystem of the garden. So the Michmerhuizens have done a lot of listening and learning.

For almost two weeks last fall, I was part of a group that had the opportunity to listen to people and learn about God’s work in Romania. During the visit, we met with leaders of renewal movements in Reformed, Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, and Romanian Orthodox churches.

One morning the Michmerhuizens invited two pastors, one Hungarian Reformed and the other Romanian Baptist, to join us for breakfast. We watched the eyes of the Romanian Baptist pastor grow wide as the Hungarian Reformed pastor talked about nominal members coming to a personal commitment to the Lord. The Baptist pastor then exclaimed, “I didn’t know that you Reformed believed in that sort of thing.”

We also were thrilled to visit with a young Hungarian Reformed couple who are thinking of church planting that would go beyond their ethnic group.

We also saw the Impact Club, a program for youths aged 13 to 18 developed by New Horizons Foundation in Lupeni, Romania. In Impact, the youths themselves plan and implement community service projects.

Already two Iowa congregations have organized Impact Clubs based on the Romanian model.

I left Romania grateful to see that the Michmerhuizens and others are exploring possibilities for working together to expand God’s church.

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