March 9, 2017 | Miami, Florida, United States | Wally Amundson/IAD
Eddie Tilihoi is a young associate pastor with a pleasant demeanor and an engaging smile. He lives with Camelia and their six-month-old daughter in Northeast Romania, within minutes from the Ukraine and Moldova borders.
Serving a district with 256 members in five churches and four companies, Eddie is constantly on the move through the fields and patches of forest that separate the villages and small towns. It is a farmland that resembles Southern Canada and the United States Midwest, which welcomed immigrants from his country and countries in the region many generations ago.
With the collapse of the Socialist Republic in the late 1980’s, many Romanian Seventh-day Adventists left for better paying jobs in Western Europe. Generous gifts from abroad along with the influx of missionaries helped to build much needed church structures back home. With surprising church growth, a new group of youthful pastors and church leaders like Eddie emerged. Today, most pastors in Romania serve multiple churches and companies in a union with 65,000 members.
Within this context of vibrant church life, Romania was chosen along with seven other countries in Eastern Europe to participate in Total Member Involvement, now in its second year. TMI Romania was a perfect fit. In all, 2,017 evangelistic campaigns will be held in Romania before June 3, the date selected for a countrywide baptism.
“We could see God’s hand in this campaign”, said Eddie.
Pastor Eddie, the elders, deacons, deaconesses, and active members all came together well in advance to plan for a future TMI for their churches. They held many vacation bible schools including field trips for the participants; formed a combined choir with other churches and faiths in the area, and had public concerts including a brass band comprised of youth and adults. They held health expo’s that offered free health screenings to this rural community. They even received donations from other countries and volunteered to rebuild a home for a destitute family.
Eddie reflected how as a child growing up in Romania with new religious freedom, the members met together often. They were very close, and visited each other in their homes speaking from the bible. Now these good relations were a perfect setting for the TMI.
He was amazed to see the enthusiasm among the members along with the influx of visitors to the evangelistic series. In a stratified religious society, this is unusual.
“I knew that prayer and total involvement would lead to this,” said Eddie. Each church and company held 10 days of prayer just prior to the start of the TMI Romania.
With winter weather at its peak, churches were nearly full night after night for 18 meetings. Members and visitors alike reviewed and accepted bible truth. Many have committed to further bible study with Pastor Eddie and the elders. “I always dreamed about taking part in the Loud Cry” Eddie exclaimed, “now it is happening in my country, and you were part of it. We collaborated together to advance His kingdom.”
The day Christine and I left Romania, Eddie started a new evangelistic series in a neighboring village along with a retired pastor. TMI continues to reap a harvest, even in the winter.
Though 5,974 miles and two generations separate us, we feel very close to Eddie, his family, and his church family. We too always wanted to be part of the ‘Loud Cry’. It gives us comfort to know that following the ‘Loud Cry’ and the Second Coming; there will be no more separation.
We are renewed in our determination to offer our support to pastors like Eddie and the spreading of the gospel to every nation, tongue and people.
View video of the meetings HERE
Pastor Wally and Christine Amundson represented the Inter-American Division during TMI Romania, and are retired in Miami, Florida.