While I was in Romania with Jim Elliff toward the beginning of April, my wife was putting our youngest daughter, Lilly, to bed. She told her, “Tomorrow we get to go to the airport to pick Daddy up!” Lilly responded, “To keep him?” I’m happy to say my daughter cherishes me.
Jim and I are hopeful that the pastors and missionaries we served while in Romania now cherish their Bibles more than ever. We left the States on April 5, and returned April 17. Our ministry primarily consisted of three Bible intensive retreats, but we each spoke in church meetings on the two Sundays we were there.
As the name implies, these retreats were an intense time of studying the Bible together. We provided sheets with (very) wide margins so that lots of notes could be taken (with special pens that are perfect for this type of marking, even in Bibles with wide margins—Zig Millenium 01 colored pens). For both three day retreats, we spent approximately 18 hours studying Titus. For the two day retreat, we managed to study Titus for 14 hours.
What did we do for all of those hours? We read the book and specific sections of the book over and over. We considered the historical background of the book. We made detailed observations of the text. We noted the imperatives. We marked off sections. We circled and shaded important repeated words and phrases. We joyfully and oftentimes passionately discussed our understanding of verses and passages and even the whole book. When there were disagreements, we talked longer and worked harder to really know the truth. We sought to understand the overall point of the book. We discussed present-day applications of both specific sections and the entire book. We examined our own lives and churches in light of what we discovered. We considered approaches to teaching this book. We grew closer to one another. We worshipped the Lord. We did all of this, and so much more!
By the end of each retreat, our pages were covered with notes and marks, our bodies and minds were fatigued, but our hearts were full.
Ministry leaders in Brasov:
Ministry leaders in Pucioasa:
Ministry leaders in Bucharest:
A Personal Testimony
The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). Indeed, there are wonderful things to behold in the whole Bible. Jim and I were reminded of this the whole time we were in Romania, and both of us left wanting to taste and see more of these wonderful truths. In fact, as soon as I got on the plane to begin our journey home, I just had to get my Bible out of my bag and read more! It does my soul, my family, and my church so much good. We’re hopeful the Romanian church leaders were affected similarly.