For eight years, the children and youth in the village of Tinca in Romania have enjoyed summer holiday Bible programmes run by UK charity, Life to Romania Fund. All of the children connected to the church heard the Gospel and many of them prayed for Jesus to take his place in their lives. But all attempts to establish regular children’s and youth programmes had been short-lived. In the winter of 2018, something new was tried with the teenagers – A Discovery Bible Study programme that did not require the students to be able to read. The results were astounding.

After only a few weeks, the young people said that they were excited about what God did in the Old Testament and they wanted to continue with the studies. By the autumn, the group were expressing their desire to get involved in the mission of the church, and some started to accompany the Pastor and his team to the nearby church plants in Tarcea and Vășad.

In all of the summer activities of previous years, the most engaging element for the children had always been the dramatization of Bible stories, with the children dressing up as biblical characters. And so through November and December 2018, they thoroughly enjoyed putting themselves into the Biblical texts that tell the Christmas story; as they learned to perform the scenes in the biblical story. This gave many opportunities for the young people to interact with the story, ask questions and dig deeper into the text.

When Christmas came, their performance was a key part of the Church programme and God moved powerfully in both the youth and the congregation as they saw the story God’s gift given to the world depicted in a staged presentation for the first time. The performance was then taken to the mission churches and they were also moved to tears by the depiction of God’s gift. The young people were now fully involved in the mission of the church.

As 2019 began, the youth and many of the adults in the church accepted the need to be baptized and they met every week for a series of baptismal preparation lessons. On 21st April, twenty-eight adults and youth were baptised and this was witnessed by over 500 people from Roma communities in the region (Watch the baptisms on video). Another twenty believers are preparing for baptism on a future occasion.

Psalm 66:5 “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (NIV)

The Discovery Bible Study method had been adapted from a model, originally created by David Watson, by the late Reverend John Day. John’s adaptations were sensitive to the culture and environment of the peoples he was working with.

Report by Andrew Saxton, Life2Romania