Youth Messenger Online Edition

Should I Get Baptized?

Missionary Work in Romania
Missionary Work in Romania
Part 1 of 4
Gabriel Serban

A young missionary agreed to share with our readers his journal of experiences. This is the 1st in a series of 4 journal entries. Enjoy!

Preparing for service

I was born in a Christian family—and while still a child, I decided to be a missionary for Christ. Day by day when I was watching some ministers I loved, this desire grew fast. My mom used to tell me: “You have to be very sure what you want to be. If you choose to be a missionary, you will not have time for yourself; you’ll be away from your home, you won’t have much money. Do you still want to be a missionary?”

She was trying to see what I was thinking, and then she would come afterwards with words of encouragement: “If you’ll be a missionary you’ll have a lot of time for others, and others will be happy for your presence there. You’ll be away from your home, but everywhere you’re going is your home; you’ll be rich even if you do not have a lot of money. God will bless you.”

When she died, I became discouraged. I couldn’t accept it. Why—and why so soon? . . . (in December 2010, when I was only 15 years old).

Then, in February 2011 my dad had a car accident, and he had to stay in bed for few months. For one whole year he couldn’t work. Then I became more discouraged—and when the time came to start the missionary school, I decided that I would not be going. At that time they asked a fee for every session. I was studying my high school and my little brother was studying, too, plus my dad wasn’t working. So, I thought, there is no money for another school. Already there wasn’t really enough to go around.

"Everywhere will seem like home; you'll be rich even if you do not have a lot of money."

When my brother sensed that I was feeling sad, he asked me what had happened. So I explained to him, “I am not going to the missionary school.”

“Why not?” he asked. “For a long time, it has been your desire to go—and now when the time has come, you are not going?” Then he went to our grandmother and told her what I had said.

Our grandmother came to me, and said, “If you don’t go to the missionary school now, you won’t end up going later. You’ll start to do other things and you’ll think you don’t have time for the school. You have to go now. We’ll pray, and God will take care of everything, because He knows everything.”

So, I decided to go just because of her . . . but without money. I got to the missionary school, they accepted me, and now, when the school was almost finished and we had to pay, a sister from that area came to me and told me: “You know, I wanted to help somebody with some money, but that person told me that everything is all right. So, I was thinking to pay your school here. Will you agree?”

I had never spoken to that sister before. I just was thankful to God that He provided everything for me. I had never told anybody that I did not have money, but she came and paid that session for me.

Another time, we had the missionary school during a youth camp meeting. At that youth camp meeting, a stranger from the community came to attend. He took me aside and told me he was working, and that he would like to give a gift for somebody who would really appreciate it. He gave me a piece of paper, and when I opened it, there was exactly the money I needed in order to pay for school. I had never met that person before, neither after. I know only his first name; I tried to search for him afterwards, but I couldn’t find him to thank him.

And, by God’s grace, I finished the missionary school without debt!

Appreciating true friendship

Even though my brother and I are different, we are very close one to one other. He is stronger than I am, but I try to encourage him as much as possible. Now he is a student of the missionary school, too! I am very pleased and happy to have a brother and a best friend at the same time. Even our dad is like our friend. If he wants to do something, he talks with us to see if we can give him advice, and when we are doing something we talk to him, even if we are away from him most of the time. We are happy to have this opportunity to keep in touch day by day.

After I finished the missionary school studies in Romania, the brethren of the Romanian Union sent me to the northeast area to work there as a missionary, together with another friend of mine, Adrian.

Adrian and I had first become friends when we were both 13, when his dad was assigned to be our local minister. Because we were the same age, we became well acquainted in a short time. We spent a lot of time together—and every time his dad would be visiting us, Adrian tried to come along with him in order to visit me. We decided to get baptized on the same day, so we got baptized when we were 15, and from that time on we have called ourselves twin brothers.

I remember that summer. It was very hot, but my mom was so happy that I had decided to make peace with God, so she worked very hard, preparing for the event. On the baptism day I remember her crying with happiness because, like her first son had done, her second son had also decided to follow Christ. From that moment onward, my friend Adrian and I started our journey as missionaries. We continued our school studies, but whenever we knew there would be a missionary project, we would take a little vacation to attend that project.

A short time afterwards we had decided: Now is the time to go to the missionary school. We registered, and only through the mercy of God were we able to attend the school for those 3 years.

Time to start working!

When we graduated, I remember leaders from the various Fields coming to ask us to go to work for them. But because I had already been away from home during high school, I decided to go back to my Field, the Moldova Conference (in the region known as Moldova in the eastern part of Romania, bordering the nation of Moldova). My friend, of course, would not go to another place without me. So we started working as missionaries for the Moldova Conference.

We made some plans, but first we decided to go to his local area and start our mission from there. (We have only one church in that particular area.) When our brothers there heard that we were planning to go and work in their locality for a few weeks, they were very happy and bought books for us. One brother came to us and gave his own car for us to use for our work there, plus some money to buy gas and food. We already had plenty of food because the family where we were sleeping also gave us a lot of good food, just to inspire us to keep working there in their area. So, we got food, we got a car, we got missionary tools, and we began working!

It was sometime in September–October. All the people were busy; they were preparing for winter. So we started to knock, door by door. But when we saw the people were not answering, we knew where to find them, in their own garden. They started to ask us, “How did you get here?” but without an answer to their question we started to witness of the good news of salvation. All of them were amazed to see how 2 young boys were coming to them without fear and talking about God. They used to say, “These days, religion is just for old people. Why are you doing this?”

And then we told them, “We do it because we love you, and Jesus put you in our hearts.”

We began canvassing and with God’s help covered about 13 villages in 4 months.