Introducing Cristian and Otilia Stroia

Cristian & Otilia Stroia March 01 2018, 9:32 am | 0 Comments

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. We anxiously watched the minutes tick by on the clock as we waited for children to arrive at our little church and enjoy the Vacation Bible School we had prepared for them. Everything was in place—tables, chairs, decorations, teaching materials, gifts, music and snacks. It was not our first VBS, and we were confident about our program. However, this was the first one we had attempted at our mission in Ukraine, and we didn’t know what to expect. That morning as we had made our usual drive across the border from Romania, we had prayed that the flyers we had distributed to friends and strangers would be enough to bring the children.

So there we sat, a few sisters from the church, Cristian and I. After a whole hour had passed, the reality sank in that nobody was coming. We were deeply disappointed. Children were walking by on the street outside, but no one seemed to be interested in stopping. I was praying silently, not yet ready to give up and go home, when I noticed an odd smile on Cristian’s face. He was up to something. “I’m going out,” he announced. Picking up a kite—one of our VBS props—he went into the street. I looked out the window and could hardly believe what I was seeing. My grown-up husband was flying a kite on the street in the center of the town. I chuckled to myself when I heard one of our sisters exclaim, “Look! The pastor is playing!”

A few minutes later, I saw three boys approach Cristian and ask him what he was doing. “Oh, I’m just flying my kite,” he replied. “I love kites, and I could teach you how to make one for yourselves. We have a Vacation Bible School here where we do all kinds of interesting things. If you’d like, you can come in.”

The boys hesitated. Suddenly, it became clear to Cristian why we weren’t getting any visitors that day. The children were not comfortable going inside an Adventist church. “Let’s bring everything outside!” he called to me. We brought a table and a few chairs out onto the sidewalk, and the boys were happy to sit down and get involved. For the next hour, they painted on glass, and Cristian told them a Bible story. They left with smiles on their faces, promising to return and bring more friends the following evening to learn how to make kites. We had three children that first night. The next night we had six. By the end of the week, we had 50 children. That was just the beginning of a long, wonderful children’s ministry in Ukraine. I can’t imagine how that would have worked out if God hadn’t inspired Cristian to just go outside and fly a kite.

Please pray for us as we build our support team in the States for our new mission project in the Eastern European country of Georgia. Whenever we are tempted to doubt our missionary calling, we remember that kite, and we know that God is leading us. Leaving our comfort zone—our country, our home, our own language—is a small price to pay, and it is the only way to reach people in Georgia who have no one else to introduce them to our Savior. Tick-tock, tick-tock. The clock shows it’s already late. We are going out! Through your support and prayers, you are more than welcome to join us on this wonderful journey.

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