December 22, 1989… It seems like a random date. Do you happen to remember what you were doing that day or what took place in your life?
I have no earthly idea what was going on in my life. I do know that I was a senior in high school; that it was the day before we got out for Christmas break; but that is about the extent of it. However, if you happen to be from Romania, I am sure this day is one that you will not forget because on this day, after 23 years of dictatorial rule, communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown in a revolution.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to live under that communist regime? Living in the United States, I wonder how much I truly take for granted. By the time of Ceausescu’s downfall, Romania was the most repressive and economically backward country in Europe. There are so many questions…
What was it like to be under so much control one day and by the end of the week, you are free?
What was the church like in Romania? And for that matter, was the church permitted?
What was it like to pastor during that time?
It was not long after this historic event that Rev. Teodor Bulzan felt led of the Lord to begin Centrul Crestin Betania in Oradea, Romania. A plant from another Pentecostal congregation in the region, Betania has grown to a thriving congregation numbering well over 900 attendees.
Two weeks ago, members of the IPHC Global Leadership Council (GLC) had the privilege of attending the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Centrul Crestin Betania. It was a wonderful experience; the song selection reflected both the traditional as well as the contemporary, the children’s choir sang an energetic song that was contagious, the teen drama team presented a story from Scripture, representatives from the GLC, including Hong Kong, Chile, Canada, South Africa and the United States, shared words of encouragement and congratulations and IPHC General Superintendent Doug Beacham preached an impactful message. All throughout the service, I was praying that at some point during the morning, I would receive the gift of interpretation so that I could actively participate in the service more. Even then, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
In addition to his role as pastor of Betania, Rev. Bulzan also serves as the founder and leader of Romanian Mission and Bible Society. The goal of the society is to train leaders across Romania and equip them to plant churches. It is our prayer that the Lord will continue to bless both Betania and the Society to spread the gospel message all across the nation of Romania.
A video of the full celebration service is now available online.