Sunday, February 20, 2011

If you care to know...

After having the incredible blessing of spending a few sweet days with some of the best friends I'll ever have, I wanted to take the opportunity to share why I love who they are, what they do and where they come from.

Viorel and Delia Cruceru live in Southern Romania where they work daily to share the Gospel of Jesus to a country scarred by decades of darkness and deceit.  Facing opposition at every turn, they spend their time, money and life offering the Hope of Jesus to people who, without people like them, will spend their lives believing that they lack a Redeemer that allows them to have a relationship with their God.  Because of people like Viorel and Delia, there is a small group of "Repenters" in Southern Romania that no longer have to pay and hope for forgiveness, trust a man to be their bridge to God, or live in hopeless darkness.  Yes, the Cruceru family has made it their purpose to share Christ with the nations, but they didn't stop there.

Viorel pastors a church in Slatina, Romania.  What we once called Grace Baptist Church, we now jokingly refer to as Sardines Baptist Church because while the sanctuary of the building is small, around 125 people squeeze themselves in there on Sundays to pray, sing and study God's Word.  When Viorel first started pastoring, he knew that he wanted to 'be about' the Word of God so now, after years of leading congregations, he's still centered on his first love:  The Scriptures.  Members of Grace (Sardines) Baptist Church know that their hope rests in God and that truth rests in the Bible.  As a matter of fact, Viorel and Delia have practically spent their adult lives teaching people what the Bible says, but they didn't stop there.
The Cruceru family knows that if you're going to give someone the best chance at a life of Grace, you need to reach them when they're young.  They also know that if you're going to minister to a person, you have to minister to the whole person.  For these reasons, they support and oversee an orphanage near their home that houses teenagers in need.  Whether these teenagers were put out on the streets for professing a faith in Christ or they came to the orphanage because high school wasn't offered in their village, they get the great opportunity to live in Grace.  Teens who make their home here are taught the Word, offered a high school education, given a faith family and trained in life skills, all while basking in the love and truth of God.  I, personally, have met some of my favorite people on the planet within these walls and am so glad that this House of Grace is available for them.  Yes, the Crucerus have made many sacrifices to make sure that the orphanage continues to help teenagers, but they didn't stop there. 

  Much unlike Northern Romania, poverty is the norm in the Southern parts of the country.  While Slatina is a city comparable to parts of Birmingham, it is surrounded by villages that would seem a century or so behind the times to most of us.  Working small pieces of land to provide for their families, villagers live with very few of the amenities and blessings that we take for granted.  Without public transportation, internet, libraries, or high schools, it would seem that those born into the villages are destined for hardship, but thanks to mission-minded churches like Grace Baptist, Hope and resources have been made available to these beautiful villages.  Just a few of the examples I've witnessed throughout the last decade include the only Christian kindergarten in the county, an amazing young woman blessed with a high school education and medical clinics that offer healing hands and precious prayers to hundreds of people who couldn't afford to pay for services.  Viorel and Delia have walked these streets, loving and helping these people, but they didn't stop there.
Apparently, spending their lives and hearts on the Romanian people isn't enough for Viorel and Delia because just last week, they sat in my living room and poured life and truth into my children and friends.  Our time together, as always, was filled with laughter, tears (on my part, of course), Scripture, wisdom, hugs and encouragement.  They shared their hearts with my friends and shared their dreams with my children.  They took time and explained Scripture to Chandler and sang songs (in Romanian and English) with Bre Elise and Connor.  They prayed with and for us and made themselves at home in our home, blessing us beyond measure.  To be sure, they are some of the best friends Tim and I will ever have and they mean the world to us.  They have been faithful to pray for our marriage, our children and our ministry, but they won't stop there.

They will keep the faith and let God finish what He started when He called them. A legacy is already growing in their midst as Luiza, Rebecca and Beni (one of our heroes) stand up to continue what Viorel and Delia started. Souls are being saved in Romania.  The saved are being taught deeply the Word of God.  Strongholds are being demolished.  Families are being redeemed.  Examples are being made.  They are hard pressed on every side, my friends.  There isn't a single area of their ministry that hasn't, at least to some degree, been postponed due to financial hardship.  The government and opposing religion look down on them daily. They are a pitiful minority in a corrupt country. They are 365-day-a-year-missionaries and because their 'mission' is worthy, by definition, it can't be easy.  No, a life sold out to the Gospel isn't necessarily an easy life, but I can tell by the sparkle in Viorel's eyes and the love in Delia's voice that it's a good life, indeed. 

So, what's the moral of this beautiful story?  Pray for my friends.  Pray for the work they do.  Pray for their children and grandchildren and the ministries represented by them all.  Pray for darkness to flee.  Pray that people fall in love with missions and that they would share their treasure for the cause of Christ.  Pray for wisdom and favor for my friends as they live the life I wonder wasn't made for each one of us. 


  1. What awesome friends to have! Its excellent that they are out there every day sharing God's love for others!

    Im glad you were able to spend such a wonderful time with them!!

  2. Incredible work! Incredible legacy! God's blessings and favor on this family and God's work through them!

  3. Sue, frankly, I think some things were overstated but I don t accuse you, you think to much of our. True heroes for me are people at least half what my grandpa is.
    I agree with the sardines, there were around 150 at the last baptist but still, it was such a blessed time. Church service ended after 3 and a half hours of great fellowship. You haven t got to meet one of the new fellows that got saved last year. He is a policeman and he is such an ispiration of dedidacation to me. He shares the gospel with whoever he meets, even the criminals he has to arrest. He was threatened by his boss because of this. We love him so so much. Probably my parents told you about him.
    Be blessed our friend. We love you dearly

  4. *ourselves
    Thanks for the old photos. They started being spread on facebook by some :)

  5. Beni,
    You only say I overstated because you have humility. Keep in mind that Pop is one of my heroes as well, but his legacy is being passed on to your Dad and you.
    I thought that maybe the number was higher, but I didn't want to lie, so I said 125. Praise God for a church that can't seat all its members!
    I am aware of your new friend. I have been praying for him for some time now! One of the things I tell my friends here is that committing your life to Christ in Romania COSTS you something. It's different here. Here, people take salvation for granted. But there, when someone decides to trust Christ with their life, everything changes. They lose friends, family and sometimes even their jobs.
    Your family means so much to me, Beni and I will continue to pray and share you with my world.
    We love you so much!

  6. Very much enjoyed reading your post. Will place this sweet family in our prayers. God bless.

  7. Sue,
    I'm so glad Pastor Viorel and Delia were able to spend time with your family. It's always such an inspiration to be in their presence. Thanks for writing this beautiful post.

    God Bless,

  8. An inspiration, indeed! I love the look on Chandler's face when he's made Viorel proud. <3 I can't wait until Chan gets to spend time with him on Viorel's side of the world.

    Thanks, everyone, for your sweet words! Keep the Crucerus in your prayers because...


  9. I wish I had met them. This is what I need. A life worth living is theirs. Praise God. My prayers are with them.


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