Since 2015, Children’s Hunger Fund has had a Mercy Network operating in the country of Romania, helping churches there face poverty and the challenges unique to that region. Our ministry development team members were able to visit the pastors this Fall to conduct a mercy ministry workshop. Along with our team, one of the network’s primary supporting churches, Cornerstone Moorpark, sent a group to support and encourage the central church, Grace Baptist Church of Slatina.
Poverty in Romania
For decades, Romania was under Communist regime, which collapsed abruptly in 1989, leaving the country in an economic depression. While there has been an attempt to transition to a free market economy, many families are still suffering 27 years later.
Today, many areas of Romania are systematically poor, with no available opportunities for work. Poverty in rural areas often looks like an individual who may be able to grow their own vegetables in the harvest season, but struggles to survive during the winter. Many find themselves without medical care, due to a corrupt healthcare system in which physicians accept under-the-table bribes.
Religion in Romania
Approximately 81% of the country identifies as Eastern Orthodox. The evangelical churches Children’s Hunger Fund partners with are called “repenter” churches by much of the population. They often find themselves labeled as heretical. Though they are seeking to care for those forgotten by the state and the orthodox church, they have been met with animosity.
In Southern Romania, pastors from the 12 churches that make up the CHF Mercy Network seek to feed and aid those in their community for the sake of the gospel, spreading the message of Christ’s salvation not only in word, but in deed.
Thanks to the work of volunteers in our Midwest region, to date we have been able to send out two containers of Food Paks. We are praying for funding to complete a storage unit, which is needed before we can ship again. While our focus is currently on supplying Food Paks, there are plans to resource the region with Bibles and sports balls in the future. Children’s Hunger Fund is also prayerfully considering agricultural projects and educational supplies, possibly as soon as 2017. It is our hope that through continuing to equip local churches in Romania, the cycle of spiritual and physical poverty could be broken in the lives of families served.
While on their visit, our staff was able to see the practicality of Food Paks when used by local churches to serve their community for Relational Mercy Ministry. They met a church member named Nicoleta, whose family not only receives Food Paks, but Nicoleta also helps to distribute them. Nicoleta is deeply involved with her church, and is faithful to bring others to church with her, where they can hear the life-giving power of the gospel.
We are grateful for the opportunity to equip churches in Romania with the tools to feed and aid those who are in deep need. We praise the Lord for laborers like Nicoleta, who are passionate about displaying mercy. Be encouraged with us, as we celebrate the work God is doing through His church, not only in Romania, but around the world!