In the summer of 2023 I had the privilege of escorting a group of people from the Philadelphia District Church of the Nazarene on a mission trip back to my home country. I grew up in Sighisoara, Romania. When I was a teen, I began attending services at Sighisoara Church of the Nazarene and very quickly I felt welcomed and a sense of belonging. It was fascinating to see groups of people traveling from the United States of America to my country to simply help fix the church building as well as playing, accepting, and showing Christ‘s love to the disadvantaged children of Romania. 

As I was preparing to lead this mission trip, I couldn’t help but think of hundreds of people like pastors, laity, college students and missionaries that have sacrificed their time and money to partner with God in making a difference in the lives of people in Romania. I give God the glory for the opportunity to serve Him.

On July 26- August 3, 2023, sixteen people from four churches on the Philadelphia District joined as one team. Four of the team members were teenagers. Due to the pandemic, we were the first team that was able to go to Romania since 2019.

The team’s main location to serve was Tigmandru, Romania working alongside Rev. Magda Cini (lead-pastor), Rev. Roxana Cini (Children’s Pastor) and Rev. Nelutu Cini (Youth Pastor). The church began when Magda Cini felt God’s calling to pray for the people in the village. What started as a small prayer meeting at Magda’s mother’s home is now an organized church, full of ministries for all age groups. 

The building for Tigmandru Church of the Nazarene began in 2004 with funds from Alabaster. The team’s main project was to help repair several essential projects in the building as well as hosting a four-day Vacation Bible School for the children in the community. The team had the opportunity to make new friends, to worship, pray, fellowship with church members and people in the community. Each night as we meet for our devotional team time, I could see how each team member was touched and moved by God though what they (had) experienced throughout the day. 

God’s mission in Tigmandru existed long before the Philadelphia Team arrived. We learned that we needed to have a mindset of flexibility, servanthood, unity as team, and humility. The most important aspect of any mission trip is to show dignity to one another and most of all be incarnational. We are not the ones who are at work in missions, but God is, we come along side of our Lord and join Him in His mission.

– story and photos shared by Rev. Paula Elena Creely (Magda’s daughter, Nelutu’s sister, Roxana’s sister-in-law). Pastor at Brookside Community Church of the Nazarene in Macungie, Pennsylvania on Philadelphia District