Dear Ministry Partner,
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Greetings from windy and wintery Bucharest. Although the city is cold, our hearts are warm and joyful thinking of the wonderful things the Lord did in our life and ministry in 2017. Here are some highlights:
Timotheus Bible Institute (TBI)
In 2017 Elisei and Adriana continued to teach at TBI. Adriana teaches English as a ministry tool and Elisei teaches practical theology and ecclesiology. The five graduates he supervised this year finished cum laude and were recognized by the Romanian universities for their achievements.
During 2017, TBI underwent preparations to receive the institutional Romanian and European accreditation. One of the requirements was to remodel the dormitories that were built in the early 1990s with low quality, unsafe materials. The Lord again provided the financial resources and a good construction company. They were affordable and finished the project on time. When the governmental committee of eight people came to evaluate TBI in early December, they were impressed by the whole Institute: professors, students, Administration, and facilities. What a blessing for God’s work in Romania and Europe! After the official recognition that will come in six months to a year, TBI will be eligible to start a Master’s program.Another great moment for TBI was in the fall when the Institute celebrated 25 years of existence. Graduates, friends from Romania, Europe and the U.S., students with their families, and teachers participated in the Jubilee. All of us celebrated 25 years of God’s faithfulness and generosity in developing a university that started from a dream under communism: theological training for God’s servants in Romanian and European churches. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness and grace in providing resources to touch the lives of over 600 people who studied at TBI and through them, many thousands!
Preaching in Churches
In 2017 Elisei preached almost every Sunday (sometimes in multiple churches), mainly encouraging God’s people to grow spiritually, but also several evangelistic messages and people came to know Christ. This ministry takes a lot of energy and preparation time, but the outcome encourages us to continue with joy and dedication.
The highlight was the 110-year celebration of the Agape Church in Ploiesti when Elisei preached on God’s faithfulness and steadfastness in sustaining His Church in bad times, during communism, and good times. After the three services, several people gave their lives to the Lord.
In the fall was the evangelistic outreach in the church in Ploiesti. In the spring the church celebrated 110 years of God’s faithfulness, and in the fall Christians invited over 110 people who used to come to the church to hear again God’s call for repentance and a renewed fellowship with Him. Because the Word of God has power, some of them decided to come back to the fellowship and become involved in the local church. Please pray for the people who decided to return to the church. Pray also for the others who heard the Gospel message but are still far away from God. Please pray for these people to grow in knowing the Lord and trusting Him in their spiritual walk. Elisei also preached at weddings, child dedications, and funerals throughout Romania and Europe.
In 2017 Elisei and Adriana participated in various national and international conferences where Elisei presented topics on Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience, The Life and Ministry of Martin Luther, The Influence of Religion and Culture on Personal Faith, and The Influence of Personal Faith on Religion and Culture. These speeches were published (or will be published) in national and international publications.
Elisei and Adriana were invited to speak at conferences for families and women. In March, the Lord used Adriana to encourage women in Vienna during a one-day conference for women. Her topic was of great interest to the thirty women attending the conference: The Beauty of a Woman in the Bible. It was based on 1 Peter 3:4: Your beauty “should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Most of the women were under the age of 30.
In October 2017, Adriana encouraged women through another conference. The topic was: How to grow spiritually through instruction and involvement. The women were very responsive, and they plan to continue meeting at least twice a year. Returning to Romania, Adriana spoke at another conference for women in Bucharest on How to Acquire Christ’s Mind, based on Philippians 2:1-7.
In May 2017, Elisei and Adriana had a family conference with over 25 couples in the Austrian Alps. For four days Elisei taught about challenges emigrant Romanian families face in the Diaspora. The focus was on how they should adapt to their new culture and become relevant in Austrian culture. During one of the evening sessions, Adriana met with the women and spoke about the role of a wife and mother in the family. They learned from Moses’ mom, who taught him to love God and His people, even as a young boy. During the same session, Elise met with the men and spoke about the role of a husband and a father in the family.
Due to the positive response from the families, in the fall Elisei taught in Vienna a one-day conference on how to raise your children through personal example and biblical teaching. Parents from four different churches came to learn from God’s Word how to raise their children. In Bucharest Elisei also taught on challenges and methods of parenting in the 21st century. This was during the kick-off conference for the small groups family ministry in the local church in Bucharest.
Radio & TV Ministry
In 2017 Elisei continued his ministry on Christian radio and TV. On the radio, Elisei spoke about the Reformation and its importance in developing Christianity. On TV Elisei is part of a monthly panel of academics from different religious backgrounds debating the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23, and spiritual gifts and their worldly counterfeit. The program is watched in over 20 countries in Europe, and on the internet, all over the world.
This month, Elisei will deliver messages for Christmas and New Years on the radio encouraging listeners to focus on Christ and the Word of God, instead of on material things and unhealthy celebrations.
Babies, Babies, Babies
Our family is growing! The Lord blessed us with ten grandchildren, three of them this year! The first one was Penelope, born on January 16, 2017 in Kristopher and Monica Salsbery’s family. She is a beautiful baby girl! Alister, was the second, born on July 7, 2017 in Luke and Beatrice Schoenrock’s family. He is another beautiful baby, smiling all the time. The last, but not the least is Nathan, a beautiful baby of 9 lbs 4 oz. He was born on September 5, 2017 in Matt and Ela Hilty’s family. We are so proud of our daughters, their husbands and our ten grandchildren!
Although we are growing older, the Lord is protecting us and blessing us with good health. Adriana found a good doctor in Bucharest and her knees are in better shape than before. She still needs to be careful and avoid carrying heavy grocery bags, but she is functioning, and she can teach without hindrance. Elisei is in good shape and both of them are being careful with their diet and physical exercise.
Thank you for being such an important part of God’s work in Romania and Europe. None of this could be done without your support, both in prayer and financially.
Serving the Lord together, Elisei & Adriana
Dear Friends, the first three months of 2018 were packed with ministry. Please allow us to share the highlights:
January was a month full of modular classes at Timotheus Bible Institute (TBI). Adriana teaches English as a ministry tool for the freshmen and sophomores. Some students speak English, but some have very limited knowledge of it. For this reason, Adriana must work with both groups of students which is challenging. Elisei teaches four classes for juniors and seniors, and he enjoys motivating the students to grow in developing their ministry tools like leadership and pastoral and biblical counseling skills. He is also supervising a couple of seniors on finishing their final dissertation. In January Pat Pieters and Rob Thompson, came to Romania to minster alongside Elisei and Adriana, and Pat spoke on family values to a group of young families from the church in Bucharest. The participants were very enthusiastic about the practical nature of the teaching for their everyday lives.
February & March
February and March were months of preaching, teaching and conferences. In February Elisei spoke at a pastor’s conference from the Prahova area on unity in the family. The pastors asked Elisei and Adriana to return in the summer for a Family Conference where they want to invite many Christians from their churches. Elisei also preached in different churches in Romania and Austria.
In March Elisei taught a four-day seminar on the Person, Work, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Austria. People from three or four Romanian churches from the Vienne area attended. They were encouraged by the material on the Holy Spirit and gained new insights to find and use their spiritual gifts in ministry. The response was positive, and in May Elisei and Adriana will conduct a conference on spiritual growth during a special retreat.
During the three past months Elisei has participated in a bimonthly academic and religious TV program called Special Edition. He has been participated in a panel that has discussed and debated the relevance of Scriptures, the importance of knowing and loving God, and the value of personal testimony in an antagonistic world. Adriana met with different groups of women helping them to grow in their faith. We praise the Lord that He helped us to overcome a bad case of the flu this winter.
April and May will be an intense time of teaching, preaching, and evangelistic outreach. In Romania the Easter season is an excellent opportunity to share Christ with people and bring the good news of salvation to a world without hope. Elisei will meet biweekly with pastors and elders from the southern region of Romania to train them on pastoral ministry and ecclesiology. Both Adriana and Elisei will present different topics at the conference on spiritual growth in Austria. They have started to prepare the materials for the five-day retreat. Elisei will also resume his “Open Line” one-hour ministry on the radio. During this weekly program, he answers people’s questions on the Christian radio station, “The Voice of the Gospel”.
June will be a month of preaching, teaching, and conferences both in Romania and in Austria. In Romania, Elisei and Adriana will speak at a family conference in Ploiesti. In Austria, both Elisei and Adriana will finish the conference started on May 30. During the month Adriana will continue her ministry for the women, and Elisei his radio and TV ministry.
Please pray with us for:
•• God’s salvation for the people who hear the gospel message
•• Protection during travel in Romania and other countries in Europe
•• For Adriana as she prepares for shots in both of her knees next week.
•• Political stability in Romania after a third change in governmental in less than three months.
In Christ, Elisei & Adriana Rusu
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