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Death of family member inspires seminarian’s witness in Romania

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–After weathering a 10-hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean with his mission team and nearly eight hours on a bumpy van ride to northern Romania, Ken Taylor received a phone call he dreaded.

A family member of one of his team members had just died.

Handing over the phone to the sleep-deprived undergraduate student from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, the associate professor of urban missions shot a heart-filled prayer up to God: “Oh Lord, what do we do now?”

Will Robbins, awakening to the fact that his wife, Rachel, had just lost her father, also prayed. Should he travel back to the United States, already too late to help with the funeral arrangements, or stay in Romania to finish out the ministry he felt God had called him to do?

“God is going to take care of everything here,” his wife’s calm voice reassured Robbins from the other end of the phone.

“Don’t come home.”

Bolstered by the quiet strength of his wife and by the prayers of his team, Robbins was more determined than ever to introduce people to the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Realizing that my wife was at home taking care of something of this magnitude affected the magnitude of what I was doing too,” said Robbins, who currently serves as interim pastor at Wadesboro Baptist Church in Ponchatoula, La.

His urgency was met with great success — by the end of two weeks of door-to-door evangelism in the former communist country, he had seen 44 people come to the Lord.

Robbins and 15 other students from the New Orleans Seminary and 12 other non-seminary volunteers traveled this past July to the Romanian cities of Bacau, Comanesti, Iasi and Pascani (and their neighboring villages) to do Bible school for youth and children, preaching in Romanian churches and in open-air evangelistic meetings, home visitation and street witnessing. Sponsored by the nonprofit Romanian American Mission, the volunteers also ministered to waiting patients at medical clinics where medical teams offered free medical advice and supplies.

Confronted with the untimely death of his father-in-law, Robbins asked teachers, teenagers, college students, parents, the elderly and even an engineer working for the mayor of a village: “Where would you spend eternity if you were to die right now?” Without exception, his respondents replied, “Hell.”

Robbins noted that these Romanians, who were accustomed to a Romanian Orthodoxy, lacked assurance of their salvation.

Using the message of assurance of salvation as a resounding gong, the young evangelist introduced himself wherever he went, “Hello, my name is Will, and I have come to talk to you about God and assurance of salvation.”

Believing that God wanted him in each person’s house, he always maintained eye contact and, with the help of his interpreter, asked expectantly if the occupant had a place they could sit down to talk. Once invited, he would ask a few questions and encourage his listeners to read aloud from the Bible.

Noting that any objections he usually faced were those concerning assurance, Robbins often reminded the person he was witnessing to of Romans 10:9, which they read out loud. “In that Scripture, God says that if we confess Jesus as Lord that we will be saved. This is a promise,” he noted.

Robbins also found it important that his listeners understand that it is Christ who keeps Christians saved and not a person’s own good works, quoting Scriptures such as 1 John 2:1, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 5:1-2.

“I never left a residence where someone had accepted Christ without making sure they that they had assurance of their salvation, as found in Romans 8:1 — ‘there is therefore now no condemnation for those who love Christ Jesus….,'” he said.

“Regardless what method I chose to use to present the gospel, I found I had less objections and a more confident convert when they had read the Scripture out loud,” he continued. “It is incredible to see the clarity in which a person understands God’s Word when they have proclaimed it.”

For more information about serving or otherwise supporting the Romanian American Mission, contact Wayne Ball at 1401 Cassandra Place, Brandon, MS 39042 or (601) 825-8977.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ROMANIAN TEAM.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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