"I heard about this atheist city and knew in my heart that I had to go there"

Church partnership in Romania 

"One day when I was baptising a teenage girl, her mother burst into the church, shouting and swearing and I saw a knife in her hand."

The pastor continued, “As I watched her approach and she tried to stab me, I was filled with an indescribable feeling of calm and grace. I put my arm around her, even as she continued to swing the knife at me, and we walked out of the church together to talk. Today, I still see this woman and I help her from time to time with things she needs.” 

Timotei Stanea is a pastor who started up a church in the city of Victoria in Romania. Victoria was known as “the atheist city”, a place where all religion, even the Orthodox Church, was banned throughout the communist regime.

“I heard about this atheist city and knew in my heart that that was the place I had to go,” Pastor Timotei said. “I was determined for the people here to know God and that drive has never left me.”



Timotei moved to Victoria and began to build an evangelical church out of nothing. It was a huge challenge sharing the gospel in a city where atheism was so deeply engrained. “There was no fear of God here, no knowledge of him at all. I was persecuted many times and on many different levels. In the beginning, I started distributing Bibles and people burnt them in front of me,” he said. Timotei’s strong faith and his heart for the lost, particularly children, spurred him on. Timotei’s father died when he was small, and then his mother passed away when he was 11. 

He said, “I was angry at God for letting this happen to me, but now as I look back, I realise that He was preparing me for everything I would come to do in Victoria and how I would relate to and understand the needs of the children here.”

I know what it is like to suffer as a child, to have nothing, to experience grief, confusion, poverty and heartache.Ten years ago, Pastor Timotei launched a Soup Kitchen at the church in partnership with Mission Without Borders (MWB) in response to the poverty in the city. The Soup Kitchen has now developed into an After School project that supports 35 vulnerable children.

“We would not be here if it wasn’t for the Mission’s support,” Timotei said. “I know what it is like to suffer as a child, to have nothing, to experience grief, confusion, poverty and heartache,” he added. “I know what it is like to need to be encouraged. Therefore, I will never stop supporting children in this city and telling them about the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

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