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Romanian man visits American pastor who led him to faith 30 years earlier

Paul Brown (left) received a visit last month from Eugen*, a man he led to Christ 30 years ago in Romania.

ROANOKE, Va. (BP) – While staying at her parents’ house in Virginia, Cyndi Logsdon said she did not expect to receive encouragement from a surprise guest.

That unexpected guest came in the form of Eugen*, a Romanian man whom Cyndi’s father led to faith in Christ 30 years ago on a mission trip.

Logsdon is the central director of church groups at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Va. She, along with her siblings, has been staying with her parents in Roanoke, Va., as the children help their parents deal with some health challenges.

Cyndi’s father, Paul Brown, went on a mission trip to Romania almost 30 years ago. Before going on the trip, Brown prayed earnestly that 10 people would come to know Christ as Savior while he was there ministering.

His prayer was answered when even more than 10 people came to know Christ as Savior while he was there, and Eugen was part of the answer to that prayer.

Logsdon said the two men kept in touch over the years by writing letters and eventually connected again on Facebook after briefly losing touch.

Last month, during his first ever visit to America, Eugen took a 10-hour train ride from New York City through the night to visit Brown and his family.

Logsdon said the visit, during which Eugen and the family simply talked for about an hour over refreshments, was emotional and “sweet.”

“We all cried. It was just a beautiful testimony of the grace of God,” she said. “It was an extremely tender and sweet time, and so often in life we don’t get to see these things. Eugen said, ‘I’ve waited 30 years just to say thank you for your investment in my life, and I wanted to thank you for your prayers.’”

While the emotional visit from Eugen was a surprise, Logsdon said a lasting ministry impact left by her father was not.

“In some ways it was not surprising, because my Dad shares the Gospel with people everywhere he goes, and he’s been like that his entire life,” Logsdon said.

“It’s nothing new to see my Dad share the Gospel, but it was amazing to see someone 30 years later take two days just to say thanks. It meant the world to my Dad. I think the phrase he used was ‘this is the best day of my year.’”

Logsdon and her husband served as missionaries with the International Mission Board for 17 years, 12 of which were in Central Asia.

She said many of her family members influenced her love for Christ and missions, including her father who served as the pastor of several Southern Baptist churches for many years before retiring recently.

“My Dad became a believer when he was 13 years old, and he was never the same,” Logsdon said. “He started sharing Christ boldly at young ages and became a pastor at a very young age and spend his entire life telling people about Jesus.

“My Dad taught me how to share the Gospel when I was in high school, and he would take me with him and he taught me how to tell people about Jesus. There’s nothing as beautiful as a life changed and to think God used you in some small way to make His name great among the nations. It still puts me in awe about the fact that God chooses to use us to proclaim the Gospel.”

Logsdon said several of her family members work in full-time ministry, and the family legacy of missions work goes far beyond her father.

Brown’s great aunt was Bertha Smith, a noteworthy Southern Baptist missionary who served in China in the early 1900s.

Smith wrote a book about missions called “Go Home and Tell” and used the proceeds to help send Brown to Bible College, even helping him plan out what classes he should take.

Logsdon explained this legacy of ministry and missions her father wanted to pass along isn’t really complicated because it’s ultimately just about glorifying Jesus.

“The legacy is very simple,” Logsdon said. “Dad and Mom walked with Jesus. They shared the Gospel with us. All four kids came to know Jesus, walk with Jesus today and are using our lives for the purpose of proclaiming Christ. The legacy is just they showed us what it’s really like to be faithful.”

During this season of helping her parents with health issues, Logsdon said the “gift” of Eugen’s encouraging visit was sent from God at just the right time.

“It was a very sweet hour that I will remember maybe the rest of my life,” Logsdon said. “It was a sweet gift at the right time. It’s kind of hard to describe. Seeing Eugen just sit by my Dad, hold his arm and say ‘I just wanted to say thanks.’”

*Identity obscured for security purposes.