A chronicle of some of the site author's life and ministry activities over the years.
Ministering in Romania
I had received a number of prophecies that God would send me around the world to preach the gospel, with power, signs and wonders. These prophecies have begun to be fulfilled in the last 8 years.
In 1992 at the age of 26 I gave my computer business over to others and flew to Seoul, Korea where I stayed for around 4 weeks with a friend I had gotten to know while he was in Australia. I was blessed to visit Yoido Full Gospel church and see what God can do. This church had around 750,000 members at the time. From what I know it still has around that many members but many new ministries and churches have come out of that church since then. I got to preach in a high school and some churches where God used me I believe to lead quite a few to Himself. I also visited prayer mountain and spent a few days fasting and a few more praying without fasting. It was a time when I had almost no responsibilities at all except to pray.
After that I flew into Austria, where I met some leaders of a mission there. I went with a Baptist pastor by train from Vienna to Romania. My plan was actually to find a way to visit Russia and minister there, since so much was happening there after the fall of communism. However, this was not God's plan, and I ended up staying in Romania for about 6 months during which time I got my first taste of open-air mass evangelism with signs and wonders following.
Romania at that time was still quite spiritually hungry and people were willing to listen to street preachers. I preached in churches at first but soon could see that the leadership was very traditional and not geared up for growth at all. After a couple of weeks pastors sent me out to their village churches. We saw many healings in those places as I laid hands on the sick and commanded their bones to move into place, and their internal organs to be made new. This was an encouragement and led us into even bolder forms of ministry.
Romania is a traditionally "Orthodox" country and certain aspects of "Orthodox" thinking had penetrated into evangelical and pentecostal circles also. One of these is the kind of "fortress mentality" where leaders are more conerned about preserving what they have than in reaching out into new areas and winning others to Christ. Sometimes the evangelistic efforts of foreigners were not so appreciated by evangelical church leaders. I was quite appreciated by a few pastors but not by all.
At the same the "Orthodox" church leaders who saw multitudes coming to hear the Word of God for the first time were not at all encouraged by this. In "Orthodox" thinking, only their priests have anything truly worthwhile to give, since they have been authorised by their church to administer the seven sacraments without which, in "Orthodox" thinking, salvation is impossible. Only the priest can trasmit the "grace" necessary for salvation. Those who preach salvation through faith in Christ alone are viewed as heretics, "sectanti" and sheep-stealers who are a threat to the unity of the Romanian nation. Pentecostals and charismatics were portrayed by the leaders of the "Orthodox" church as being in the same category as Mormons, Jehovah's witnesses and other weird cults. The Orthodox church had and continues to have powerful connections in the media and in the Romanian culture generally, and used their influence to poison the minds of the people against evangelical Christians of any sort. A lot could be said on this subject. Looking upon these priests as they go about with long black robes and long beards, one cannot help but think of the Pharisees of Jesus' day. They were the orthodox priests of their time, and Jesus condemned them, since they not only refused to enter the kingdom of God themselves, but also hindered others from doing so.
No one who believes Orthodox doctrine has any assurance of salvation. "Only God knows" if he is saved. The main concern of Orthodox leaders were that people remained faithful to their churches, even if "in name only". No more than 4% of the population of Romania can be found in an Orthodox church on Sunday, yet the church boasts that 88% of the population is Orthodox, and constantly seeks to promote laws designed to make other churches illegal. This they have already basically achieved in Russia and they would like to do it in Romania also.
After the revolution in Romania, there were enormous opportunities for the Kingdom of God, many of which were lost. Neo-protestant churches lost a huge opportunity to impact the nation of Romania in a lasting way. Foreigners who sought to co-operate with existing church leaders got their fingers burned again and again, and a lot of the aid that was sent to Romania was commercialised on the black market. Nevertheless, many people did find Christ and hundreds of new churches were planted both within traditional denominations and also by new groups which had not been present in the country until after the revolution in December 1989. So we can praise God for that. I thank God that I had the opportunity to be in Romania at least from 1992 onwards.
I entered Romania quite oblivious to the business opportunities that were present at that time. My passion was to preach Christ. I began to preach Christ on the streets of Bucharest, Sibiu and in other places. I declared that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday today and forever. Laying hands on the many who came to hear me preach and sing on the streets, we witnessed the power of God heal people of all kinds of conditions. These ranged from headaches and back-aches to deaf ears opening and major improvements in eyesight. Paralysed people and those with broken legs were instantly healed on occasions. It was a time of joy for me and the fulfilment of a vision to do the works of Jesus just as Christ did – out in open places where the people are.
God gave me various translators to work with, and we preached in all kinds of unconventional places. I particularly enjoyed preaching in the main railway station in Bucharest "Gara de Nord". In this place I led many in prayers to receive Christ and laid hands on many sick with apparently good results. We preached in the city centre, in open-air markets, in subway stations, and in parks. More people testified to receiving Christ and relief from pain than I can accurately number. It showed me the importance of being ready to declare Christ and expect his power to work where God opens an effective door in a place full of spiritually hungry people.
The Need for Churches
I returned to Australia in September 1992. What became obvious after my first experience in Romania was the need for new churches to contain the new wine that God was pouring out. Without teaching, people would lose their way very quickly and return to the world after a brief consultation with their local "Orthodox" priest on the amazing experiences they had. While back in Australia, the Lord put on my heart to plant a church in Bucharest. If I had known what this was to entail I am not sure that I would have begun. However, many times the Lord does not reveal to us what lies ahead, but instead puts a burning desire in us, and a conviction concerning things not yet seen, which He would desire to do through us in the future. This was the case with the church in Bucharest.
In 1993 I returned to Romania. All the translators I knew had gotten involved with other things – aid ministries, music and heretical groups such as the "Children of God" which was very active in Bucharest in the first 5 years after the revolution. I ended up contacting an English friend with whom I had preached in 1992. He had believed for and gotten a large Volvo F12 truck which he used for ministry and distribution of aid ("helps"). He got me in touch with some Christians in Brasov. I worked with these believers for several months doing street evangelism and teaching and encouraging them. In June 1993 I launched out with a translator and came to Bucharest. Within a day we had found an apartment in a poorer area of town and we began preaching in Bucharest in the market there (Piata Rahova). We typically began our meetings by me singing with the guitar and then boldly preaching the word of God through a translator. Scores of people gathered to listen, and every day many prayed to receive Christ. Also, the people would push to get close and get minstry for healing, since God was doing so much. We would then invite people to a nearby apartment where we sought to form cell groups. Within a few weeks we also hired a hall in the centre of the city and began to have Sunday meetings, which quickly grew. Outstanding miracles such as the disappearance of tumours took place in those meetings. People claimed visions of Christ and many prayed to receive Christ and receive healing.
It was through those meetings that my wife met me. She wanted to serve the Lord and we really needed female co-workers because of the large number of women and girls who were praying to receive Christ. Marilena is a precious gift from God to me and did much to help me in those days. She is gifted in many ways and adds a lot to our work together. I really thank God that he provided her to me as a wife. We married on September 24, 1994. This in itself was a fulfilment of a prophetic word Marilena received though the Bible. "On the 24th day of the 9th month of the second year I will give you my blessing" – see the last chapter of the book of Haggai.
We organised a number of house groups and this became the central strategy for growth and leadership development in the church. However, we also had lots of opposition and many people left after we were forced to move from hall to hall against our will. I also made the mistake of promoting people to leadership roles too quickly. Many a church planter in Romania made that mistake. Romanian people were generally eager to receive salvation but needed much edification and development before being ready for serious spiritual responsibility.
From late 1994 to 1996 we struggled on. Many administrative problems – both for us personally and for the church occupied much time. We attempted too many projects which we were not always able to fully complete. There were many frustrations and the authorities made it progressively more and more difficult to continue preaching on the streets. However, out of it all a number of really precious people did remain faithful to the Lord and developed a genuine relationship with God Himself. For this we are very thankful.
In 1996 I was joined by Peter Barnes and his family who had been sent out from Christian Life Centre Sydney, with whom I had affiliated the church in the meantime. Peter has a strong teaching gift and has been used by the Lord to strengthen a number of believers. In 1997 I handed the church over to Peter and left with Marilena for the United States of America. Peter continues to pastor that church at the time of writing (February 2000).
I had come to the conclusion that I could do more for God by working in the west rather than struggling with limited finance in Romania. God had provided amazingly for us personally, but we did not have the money for a decent church building. This was necessary because of the way Satan constantly worked to make it difficult for us to minister continuously in one place. We did not have the connections overseas or perhaps simply didn't have the faith for the large amounts of money necessary to get even a modest building of our own. Other Romanian pastors had received hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes even millions but neither our home church in Australia nor our own people were financially able to provide the resources for a modest church building, especially in Bucharest where real estate has become quite expensive. God did bless us with small places for ministry and also a rented hall which was far too large for our present needs. We obtained these places using our personal support money to a large measure. At the same time, I began to see the opportunities outside of Romania in the world of missions and was keen to work where I could be more effective.
A Time in North America
American Christians had visited our church, and I had the opportunity to visit America. At the end of 1996 I visited Pensacola Florida where I was quite impressed with the preaching and the move of God there. For several months in 1997 I lived in Ohio with Marilena. Around that time I started on this website also, having received instructions from God to do so. God did use us a bit in America, with quite a number of people coming to Christ and so on, but really, looking back, it seems like we missed it. We did minister in a prison or two and in the inner city, as well as a couple of well-to-do churches, but because I did not have the necessary visa to stay longer nothing lasting was achieved. I wanted to start a fellowship but God was not in it. In the end I was denied entry to America from Canada, while seeking to find out how I could continue to stay there. I have not been back since, and it will take some serious favor from God for me to ever return. I would like to return to America but only if I can get the visa necessary and only if I get a clear invitation to do so – be it for business, work or ministry. God did provide for our needs somewhat miraculously whilst in America. During this time almost all of the missionary support we had been receiving whilst I was Romania had ceased.
I was stuck in Canada in October 1997 not knowing anyone there. The Lord led me to contact a Vineyard pastor in Windsor, Ed Kolar who helped me so much. Also a Romanian church in Windsor received my ministry and actually helped me get the money to return to Romania. The short time in Canada was probably more fruitful than the whole time in America. People got saved and healed for the glory of God. However my wife was stuck in America and unable to come to Canada. I could not come to the U.S.A. either and so we were separated for 5 weeks. It was a very difficult time for us and I have to admit that our faith was greatly weakened during this time.
Brief Return to Romania
We returned to Romania and received further blows. At that time many of the Romanian leaders from the church we had planted were unhappy with Peter and had left the church. We considered restarting with some of these people but they were so hurt that that too proved to be impossible. We ministered in another church we had helped by loaning the use of a house to, and eventually got the necessary papers for Marilena to come with me to Australia. During this short time I did preach on the streets again in the old way and God was faithful to touch, save and heal those who listened. Yet our own faith had suffered severely.
Return to Australia
In January 1998 we came to Australia. We had resisted this previously because we feared we would have to cease from full-time ministry if we ever returned to Australia. We tried a number of things and there were a few invitations which didn't work out to give us long term opportunities. It was during this time we made friends with Marlies Zechner, whose book appears on this site. In the end, very reluctantly, I applied for a job in the computer field, hoping I would be refused. I was virtually immediately accepted, even though I had not programmed for about 6 years.
After a one week training course in the ABAP/4 language, I moved to Melbourne with Marilena and began to work there for a modest salary. The time in Melbourne was quite difficult because God didn't seem to want me to do anything in ministry and even at work I always finished the programming work so quickly that I was often left with nothing to do except to browse the internet and amuse myself. I did tithe during that time and it wasn't many months before God blessed me with an opportunity to enter the contracting world. This brought with it good opportunities to earn money which we have used to support ourselves, native missionaries and others as the Lord has led. This continued until December 1998 when I got the invitation to visit India and do a minister's conference plus an evangelistic crusade.
The opportunity to minister in India came for me at a time when I wasn't sure if God would ever use me again as a preacher, at least in the near future. It did as much for me as it did for the people in India, who seemed to be very blessed through that time.
Around that time the persecution by Hindu fanatics against evangelical believers was on the rise. For this reason I was not to preach openly on the streets. However, I did get opportunities in various churches. A blessing was when a muslim lady who was listening a little outside the small home where the believers were meeting came to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior. We did meetings for ministers which seemed to be blessed by God.
For me the highlight of that time was an evangelistic crusade they set up for me in a remote village area in Kerala State. Through that meeting many were healed, including a 12 year old girl who was deaf and mute from birth, as I understand it. Many received Christ and others were baptised in the Holy Spirit. A new church was planted as a result which I understand is still going well. This was and continues to be an encouragement for me.
Whilst leading a meeting in India a prophet had a message for me in Malayalam which was translated for me at my request. The message stated that I would go back to my own country and after three months I would go to another country.
When I returned to Australia I tried to get another contract or even a "permanent" salaried job but no company seemed interested. I did get one short three week contract in Melbourne. However, through my younger brother Bruce I got an opportunity to be considered for work in Belgium. This seemed to me like a slim chance but strangely enough I was accepted for the work without them even reading my resume! As it turned out they were more than pleased with my work and so I got to work in Belgium for a few months. During this time I ministered in a Romanian church, learned some French and made a disciple for Jesus who is going on well for God today. Through all these things Marilena has faithfully followed me around the world, praying, interceding and speaking with people as the Lord leads. She will no doubt tell her own story in other contexts.
We have now returned to Romania, having been back briefly to Australia. Here we are waiting on the Lord, looking to develop the internet ministry, business opportunities, a new fellowship – whatever the Lord will give us the ability to do. We covet the prayers of Christians that the Lord might establish us further and make us more useful in His Kingdom.
Our vision is simply to do whatever we can for the Lord to get the gospel out to as many as possible, and build up the people whom the Lord draws into our circle of influence. The balance of how we will use our time remains to be worked out. We are very used to change by now, and very open to new opportunities but it seems like for now the Lord wants us in Romania for some time.
UPDATE: August 2007
Since 2000, the time I last wrote this, many things have happened. We settled down into Australia, waiting for Marilena to get her Australian citizenship. I worked in I.T. as an ABAP/4 programmer, had a tame life as a cell group leader in an Assemblies of God church, then went to Brisbane, made money in real estate, then did some overseas ministry for 2 years which I do not wish to discuss on the internet. God also gave us a beautiful daughter, Lisa Anne. At present we are in Queensland again, but I am looking for work again.
May God richly bless you.