Wed 19 Sep 2012
Romanian Convention in Seattle
Mission Trip to Alaska
August 30th – September 7th, 2012
For over four decades, Romanian immigrants from the USA and Canada have met together for a few days during the Labor Day holiday weekend to participate in a time of fellowship and spiritual refreshment. This is done at various locations each year as is set by the pastoral boards of convention. Pastor Vasile Antemie and his church, First Romanian Pentecostal Church from Seattle, organized and coordinated the 44th Pentecostal Convention this year. My wife Brandusa and I had the privilege to participate and to have a great time of revitalization. The theme of this convention was from the book of Joshua 24:15 titled ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15Because in this age of disintegration of morals and family values, the pastor coordinator with his team were inspired with the right theme at the right time. For three days and nights, the whole congregation (of over 3,000 people) was inspired by the word of God that was preached by different pastors from all over the country and Canada. Vibrant songs were sung by the choir and special groups that focused on the same theme.
We all recognize and agree with the Bible that the human being has failed short of the Glory of God and we are empty and feel a void in our life without God. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23God lives in the glory and communicates with mankind through His glory. When man fell from the glory of God, the paradise was lost and that brought emptiness, non-fulfillment, dissatisfaction, non-thankfulness, anxiety, fear, sickness, death and many other losses. Human beings tried to work everything independent of God (which cannot be done) and that is why so many problems today affect families. When man fell, he took his eye off from God and focused it on the material things. Man tried to find happiness through material things which creates a false worship and reality and affects every area of their life. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:25God always keeps in mind the well-being of mankind and restoration of family; which was why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to restore our relationship with Him. “For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” Romans 5:17Restoration of relation with God brings harmony and fulfillment in every area of life including family. The last book of the Old Testament, (Maleahi) speaks about turning the hearts of parents toward their children and vice versa.“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6Sin and disobedience against God causes rebellious hearts which creates tension in the family. At this convention, the word of God was preached and delivered with such authority that brought restoration of God’s relation (which was ignored in many families) and revitalization to them as well. God always (from the Old Testament) exhorts His people to serve Him (YHWY) and only Him. He promised that when people will serve Him, He will bless their food, water and depart the sickness from among them.“And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Exodus 23:25People that make the commitment and determination to serve only God, encounter His presence which makes the difference in their life and family.I want to thank God for His real manifested presence during this convention that healed the relation in many families. Our missionary family also held a conference on Saturday morning, where active missionaries were present and gave testimony on how God works in their mission field. I thank God for the guidance and inspiration that He gave to me during this time of being an active instrument in His hand to reach the unreached people in many nations. With this occasion, I had the privilege to thank the whole Romanian community for the involvement in the project of building the church in Haiti and fulfilling that project in July 22, 2012.
At the mission conference, we were empowered and inspired by each other to move forward as the Lord guides us in the future. I met many brothers and sisters in Christ (that I know from the area where I grew up in Romania) and they shared their testimony about their family and ministry. I was able to present the Mission Reports book to some of them. I passed letters of thanks to the pastors and leaders of the churches that were involved in the church building project in Jacmel, Haiti. This convention was a way to nourish and strengthen the spiritual condition. After days of spiritual blessings, we continued with a picnic on Monday (the Labor Day), in Lake Sammamish State Park where we nourished our body with traditional Romanian food.
Hope for Alaska
Two years ago, on my trip to the Philippines, I met Pastor Jack Benson from Fairbanks, Alaska and we exchanged information and invited each other to come to speak to our churches. Time passed and I got busy with my own mission (forgetting about him). This year, our mission building was visited by Alina Voda (a missionary from Manila). She reminded me about the missionary from Alaska when she said that her mission is supported by their church. This prompted me to contact him and he made me an invitation to visit the forgotten land of Alaska which is in the northwestern part of Canada – not that far from Seattle. My desire is always to fulfill more for the Lord and I scheduled to visit Alaska after the convention.
Most authorities believe that the original discoverers of Alaska were migratory hunters from Asia. Today, Alaska and Siberia’s Chukchi Peninsula are divided by the shallow Bering Strait, 56 miles wide at its narrowest point. Descendants of those early Asian people became the three broad Native groups of present-day Alaska: Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians. Alaska is a virtual subcontinent twice the size of Texas, it contains 60% of the United States land but the population is very small. The USA purchased the land of Alaska in 1867 for less than 2 cents per acre and this became the 49th state in 1959. Years ago, the native people believed that everything has a spirit (the land, the leaves, the water, the animals, etc.) Their tradition requires that everything should be honored in a ritual – otherwise one would have consequences. By the time of its sale to the USA, Alaska was largely a mysterious treasure and frozen land with long nights in the winter and short in the summer. Despite the conditions, other materialistic and resource interests of the Alaskan land, missionaries from England and Russia went there and taught the natives must receive Christ. The souls of the native people were cold and diverted from the presence of the Living God. With the prayers and work of the missionaries, the Holy Spirit changed the hearts of the native people and melted them and they received the fire of the Holy Spirit. I scheduled this mission trip to Alaska with the same desire to keep the fire in the hearts of people. After I purchased the ticket, I received an email from my contact (Pastor Jack Benson) that he won’t be available to accommodate me during this trip because of the emergency that came up in his life which required an urgent operation. Because the ticket was already purchased, I prayed and proceeded to Fairbanks (from Seattle) unsure of what I would do there. When I arrived, I was welcomed by brothers Jack Benson & Terry Martin (my host since Jack had to leave early next morning to the Anchorage, Alaska). Because the weather was warm in Seattle, I came unprepared for the Alaskan weather and the cold influence affected me the moment I arrived. I lodged at Super 8 motel in Fairbanks. The next day, I called some contacts that Brother Jack gave me regarding prison ministry and to my surprise, I found out that the two prisons from Fairbanks were located behind the motel. Here, I have another testimony to testify the unseen Hand of God that orchestrates and directs all things for the ministry. In that jail, a lady of over 60 years (Sister Helen Phillip) is an active Chaplain who ministers to over four hundred inmates. I was accepted that day when I arrived to minister with her to a group of inmates who were very touched by the testimony that I brought to them on how the Lord saved my life and called me to the ministry. For approximately two hours, I shared with them how to become a friend of God from being an enemy of God. Even more than a friend, Jesus called His disciples children of God. Children of God are guided by the hand of God.“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:8-10
What an encouragement it was for those inmates to begin to walk with God in all the affairs of their life. Close to this prison facility of adults was a juvenile facility but unfortunately (even though I went to the door), I was not granted access to minister because the Chaplain was not too friendly and kind to stranger he did not know.
Early in the morning of the next day, Terry Martin came and picked me up and brought me to the breakfast meeting where we were accommodated by the Friends Church. Over thirty men with different professions came to have breakfast and hear the word of God. I gave my testimony of how I escaped from communist Romania in June 1987 and how my life changed in February 1992. I also gave a short message to encourage them to live a life of endurance – with passion, purpose and perspective. The Spirit of God moved among them and they were motivated and inspired to not look at themselves to become depressed or to look at others to be distressed – but instead, to look only at Jesus Christ and be impressed everyday by His presence as he is the source of abundant life. With just a few words you can influence and change a person’s life because the Bible tells us plainly that in Christ, there is power to transform any area of your life if you partner with God. Through years of prayer, study, teaching and then applying what I learned – God has given me insight of the power of words that have changed my life. “A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.” Proverbs 12:14In order to be satisfied with goodness, we must radically proclaim life, hope, blessings, faith and encouragement to yourself and to all the people that we meet and live around us. This is what we do wherever we go and to whosoever the opportunity comes through to bless people and encourage them to become in agreement (like friends and even partners) with God who releases His power when the words of God are spoken. The miracles of God are in our mouth because we have a tremendous power when we proclaim the word of God. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21I encourage everybody to choose, to exercise that life-giving power that we are determined through our mission to speak words that will build up, encourage, declare God’s promises and attract God’s blessings. That is why we are so excited about the resources that God gave to us to change that world around us with scriptural truth that can revolutionize families, faith and ultimately shape the future. This is what I did in this short mission trip in Alaska while visiting Fairbanks and toured the largest petroleum pipe installation in the world which vertically crosses Alaska. On the way back, I stopped in Anchorage and also toured Juneau.
God has called us, sent us and we need to go. Thank you Lord for sending us, for using us and making us a blessing for others.
Rev. Constantin Lupancu together with the Blessed Hope International Mission Team