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"Reaching people for Christ: Helping people out of poverty into a sustainable future."

A church that changed my life in an atheist city

Voicu's life was changed by a pastor in what was known as the ‘atheist city





Voicu is 85 and lives on her own in a forgotten and abandoned town in central Romania. During communist times, this place was known as the 'atheist city' and not a single church, not even orthodox, existed here.

"My husband was a member of the communist party," she says. "He didn't want to know anything about God, and his rejection of it all always hurt me. No one was allowed to talk about God, but for me, despite what everybody else said, I always felt the presence of God in my life."

When the Iron Curtain fell in Romania and across Eastern Europe in 1989, a young pastor, Timotei Stanea, came to Victoria with the aim of building a church and telling the people of the town about the Good News of Jesus Christ, which had been denied to them for so long.

"Everyone was suffering at this time," Voicu says. "For 33 years my husband and I worked at the chemical plant producing sulphuric acid. This was all we had ever known. But when communism fell, they began cutting all the jobs and no one had anything. But one day my husband came home and he told me that something special was happening at a new church. I couldn't believe what he was saying. We went along together and heard Pastor Timotei speak and for the first time in my husband's life, he believed in God. After that point we both got baptized and decided to follow Jesus."

Today, Voicu still lives in the town, but she is on her own as her husband passed away. Visits from anyone are rare and she gets emotional when she sees young people.

"The only support and help I receive is from the local church," she says. "When I was in need the church was there for me and my husband at the Soup Kitchen. They are my family now. The church has always helped elderly people. We received clothes and shoes, and when we didn't have anything to eat we were helped."

For many years, Voicu went and received food and fellowship from the Soup Kitchen run from the local church in partnership with Mission Without Borders. Now she cannot cook and struggles to walk anywhere.

"There are a lot of elderly now in Romania who don't have anyone to help them. But as long as there is faith in God here there will be hope, and I have always felt hope through this church."
25 years on, Pastor Timotei is still supporting the most vulnerable in his town whether they are young or old. We are working with him, step by step, and you might like to keep Pastor Timotei in your prayers.

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