The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Preaching in Barbulești

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A couple weeks ago, we were invited to preach at a church in the town of Barbulești.  Barbulești is a small, cramped and dirty Gypsy village of about 5,000 people.  Half the buildings stand unfinished with dirty cement exteriors like the church above.  The other half are either little ramshackle huts or giant Gypsy mansions decorated with gold, silver, and gaudy regalia, like the one here near Cluj.  Barbulești is a strange little town.  It used to be one of the worst areas of Romania, home to Gypsy crime lords, gang leaders, and murderers, but about 15 years ago, everything started changing – some of the most notorious criminals were locked up, others died, and others repented and became good, God-fearing citizens.  Now, the little town is known more for poverty than crime.  A few years ago, it made news when France kicked a bunch of Gypsies out and sent them back here.  You can read about that and some of the current predicaments of living in this town here.

Anyway, we were invited to preach at a Pentecostal church in town.  The first thing I noticed when we came through the doors was that all the women were on one side, with head-coverings of course, and the men were on the other, like a lot of the older, more traditional churches in the country.  Side note: when we were done with the service, we all thought it was funny that the women’s side was substantially dirtier than the men’s.  Candy wrappers, clods of dirt, tissues, and plastic cups littered the women’s side, but the men’s was left virtually spotless.

We had three of us preaching that day, and I closed the service up, preaching a message about Jesus coming to destroy the works of the devil, which means we can be set free from bondage to sin, sickness, addiction, demonic torment, or any other bondage of the enemy.  Jesus defeated all that stuff, so we could live in freedom!

After my message, we called people forward for prayer, if they needed anything from God, physical healing, release from demonic torment, victory over sin, whatever.

No one moved.

Dang, I started thinking, did I even make sense?  Maybe they didn’t understand what I was saying…

Then suddenly one man boldly walked forward, then another, and then this whole swarm of people came forward for prayer.  We were surrounded by maybe 75 or 100 people all wanting prayer.  So we split into two teams and got to work, praying for God to move in this church, praying with all our hearts for people to be set free from the power of the enemy, praying until our throats hurt and we had no more strength left.

Honestly, I don’t know if we saw any miraculous healings or deliverances that day, and it broke my heart.  We prayed for so many people, and I know God promises to answer and bring healing, but it sure seemed like nothing was happening.  One person after another came forward asking for freedom from addictions, demonic torment, nightmares, insanity, ongoing headaches, stomach diseases, diabetes, deafness, blindness… on and on the list goes.

I want to see God move here.  I want to see people delivered from sin and demons and sickness and torment, just like the Bible promises.  A lot of people I’ve met in Romania’s churches (Pentecostal or otherwise) say they believe God can do it, but they don’t think He’ll do it here in Romania.  Like people in America, they say things like, “That’s what God does in Africa or China or India, but He doesn’t do that here.”

That might be a nice excuse, but it’s just not Biblical thinking.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say God can only heal in Third World nations or really poor places.  God is the same everywhere, and I’m sure if Jesus were walking the streets of Barbulești, he wouldn’t tell all the sick and demon-oppressed, “Dang, guys, sorry.  If you were Africans I might heal you, but since you’re Europeans, I just don’t know if I’ve got it in me.”

When Jesus went to a town, he routinely healed all who were sick and oppressed.  Even in Nazareth, where people were full of unbelief, it says in Matthew 13:58 that Jesus, “did not do many mighty works there.”  He did mighty works, just not many.  Jesus heals the sick and releases those oppressed by sin and demonic torment, even in the face of unbelief.  That’s just what He does.

Lord, help us!  Move in Romania like you did in Judea!  Heal the sick, deliver the tormented, free the captives, comfort the oppressed!

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