Our Mission: Romania

ITEM’s lengthy history of working in Romania began in 1998 with Pastor Ion Vasile, whose vision was to plant churches in and around Campina, a city an hour’s drive north of Bucharest, Romania’s capital.  Pastor Ion wanted to utilize trained leaders from his home church to plant more churches. Thus was born Maranatha Bible College (MBC), meeting in the facilities of Pastor Ion’s home church.

 

Soon instructors began traveling to Romania to teach at MBC.  Pastor Ion, thinking ahead, had built a spacious home to accommodate his family of six children and instructors for the new school and for visiting students.  From 1998 to 2007 dozens of students from the growing network of churches being planted attended MBC and received solid Reformed teaching over those years to became leaders in the church network, now numbering around 5 churches.

 

Then in 2007 Romania joined the European Economic Union.  Within a short time, many young Romanians began moving to Western Europe to find better paying jobs in such places as Italy, Spain, and France.  By 2008 MBC experienced such a loss of students that ITEM and Pastor Ion reluctantly decided to suspend classes after that May’s graduation.

 

Then in 2014, sensing that perhaps it was time to re-examine Romania, Director of Development, Will Hesterberg, himself a former instructor at MBC, contacted Pastor Ion. After discussions with Pastor Ion and a board of supporters, ITEM decided at its 2014 fall board meeting to begin sending some instructors early in 2015 to determine the feasibility of a longer term of training.  After 6 well-attended training sessions in 2015, ITEM is pleased to continue sending instructors to Romania in 2016 and 2017.