New opportunities in Romania
I first met Raul Costea on a flight from Bucharest to the UK. I had been on an assignment in Romania project-managing for a manufacturing business; Raul was a Baptist pastor from Transylvania in central Romania.
While conversing we discovered a common bond of Christian faith. He told me about his work in the southern part of Olt County, centred on Dragonesti Olt. This particularly poor part of Romania has much social need, but also presents an open door for evangelical Christian witness to a largely rural population of 200,000.
Raul has a vision for starting multiple house churches in strategic villages throughout the area, combined with a ministry to people’s social needs. Some churches have already started; and some are supported by strong social programmes. In one case, a Christian doctor combines her medical services with Christian witness and is already making plans to establish a local hospital.
Raul sees a parallel opportunity to start businesses which will provide local employment. This will enable families to stay together, be a witness to Christian standards, and contribute financially to the ministry of the church.
The Olt area has many attractions for such initiatives. Land and labour are cheap; the Olt river is a huge natural resource, as is the grain-growing Danube delta; there are good rail and road communications with nearby cities; and Bucharest is only two hours by train or road.
EU grants are available in some sectors (e.g. recycling) and there is a pool of good quality graduates, some of whom could be attracted to work in the area.
During a recent Wychwood Baptist (Cotswolds) team visit to the area, one objective was to begin evaluating opportunities for partnerships with the Dragonesti Olt mission. There are many exciting
possibilities. If you wish to know more, please contact Brian Pavey on[email protected]