Impacting Lives in Romania

Hi! My name is Raresh. I live in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. This spring I graduated high school and I am now a freshman in engineering at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest. I would like to share with you a few things from my experience of being part of our church youth group.

Although I had contact with the Bible and the church since I was a child, I still understood things quite simplistically as an adolescent and in a legalistic manner as one who was raised in a traditional church. But something happened when I started interacting with the church youth and with the youth pastor, Teo Colda. I was exposed to the Gospel, challenged to dedicate my life to Jesus, and encouraged to cultivate a sincere relationship with the Lord. For the last 7 years I have participated in the church youth in meetings, trips, youth camps and other activities. I realized that, with them, I matured to better understand the Gospel and I started to have a different perspective on life and spiritual things.

In parallel, I was studying how to play the piano and guitar, but with no specific purpose other than to please my parents. They were investing in my education, believing that this would help me develop personally. Then Teo noticed the gifts I had and encouraged me, sometimes even pushed me from behind, to use them in our youth ministry and for the church.

I realize now how important this was for my spiritual growth and also for me serving the Lord in the context of the local church. This was not just a personal achievement for me, but also a spiritual one. I understood that there can be an even greater purpose: to serve the Lord.

The years have passed and I am glad for the time and energy invested in my musical training. I currently serve in the youth choir, brass band, and also minister to the church in worship by playing the organ on a regular basis.

In the past couple of years I accompanied Teo at some conferences for youth leaders and for promoting expository preaching, which were beneficial for me. More recently, Teo promoted me as a youth leader. Although I argued that I should probably prove that I can be a leader first, he encouraged me by saying that I already proved myself as a leader among the students in the youth group.

I have always noticed that Teo is close to his youth – he is not distant, he is genuinely concerned about us and is involved in our problems. Personally, Teo has mentored me throughout my high school years, and more recently in choosing my field of study as a university student.

This year I graduated high school as valedictorian I was asked to prepare a speech for the graduation ceremony. Again Teo was there for me. He encouraged me and gave me the advice to include my personal Christian experience in the speech. It was  important, good advice which encouraged me to think more about my testimony as a young Christian, not only in the church, but also in the public sphere among my generation. I quoted the Christian thinker C. S. Lewis on the importance of values and education and I stated that my achievements were due to God’s providence.

I thank the Lord for the experiences gained as part of the youth group of our church, but I also thank Youth Ministry International for investing in Teo and other wonderful youth leaders like him.