From calling to reality in Romania

Ever since the early 1990s, Paul and Julie Wakefield of Nottingham have shared a passion for Romania and its people. They also realised that Romanians were looking for something to fill the void left after the downfall of communism and that there was only one way to fill that void - with the love of Jesus.

As they saw people struggling to survive, they decided to do something about that too. First they started to tell friends about Romania and organised them into groups, collecting items for delivery to the very needy people. With this was a sense that came ever stronger that the Lord was calling them into this work full time.

Today their pioneering work has resulted in OAC Ministries Romania (formerly Open Air Campaigners) becoming a reality. Paul and Julie work alongside Romanian Christians who have joined the ministry and, together with local churches, use different creative means to share the Gospel.

One development has been puppet shows leading to a vibrant children’s work in clubs, schools and parks, while adults are being reached with illustrated messages geared to all ages.

Local Christians invite their non-believing friends to events like food and film evenings, and barbecues.

"Children who came to the Lord through our early open air meetings now train as Christian leaders," explains Paul. "My vision for the next ten years is to see more Romanian Christian workers in large cities and different areas. It will be good to see what doors God will open as the ministry grows."

Partnership between British and Romanian Christians remains vital to this developing work. This summer a team of young people from Bristol will join in outreach as many Romanians now speak English.

Summer camps for both children and adults have become fundamental to the ministry and camp facilities are being expanded.

"People are welcome to stay at our OAC accommodation during their time here," said Paul. "Or they may choose to live with an English speaking Christian family in order to get to know Romanian people better. Opportunities include both outreach training and actual ministry.

"Whether individuals or teams want to join us here for a few weeks or a month, there will be a various options for them. Children’s clubs and teenage programmes, special events geared to adults and town centre outreach all offer different experiences. Summer months especially present more choice but there are all year round activities as well."