A Romanian In Central America

August 25 2009 / ShareHim in Nicaragua B, Jul. 17 - Aug. 1 '09 #384
by Iulia Draghici

Personal Testimony of Iulia Draghici.

Running all the risks of repeating what everybody is bound to say once an international evangelistic campaign is over, I still want to let the world know how much I enjoyed my share of ShareHim in Nicaragua! It was extraordinary and it was amazing, after being overwhelming!

It was a first for me in so many ways: first time preaching in a foreign language, first time seeing people baptized as a result of the Holy Spirit using me and my work every night in two weeks, first time on a plane, first time on another continent, first time at the Pacific Ocean, first time visiting an SDA church on a small volcanic island, first time seeing an active volcano, first time on horseback. And first time seeing more mangoes than I could possibly eat…

Nicaragua is a lovely country, with the untamed beauty of breathtaking landscapes and seascapes that would easily match and maybe even surpass the beauty of other countries’ natural beauties, if it were not for its equally wild geopolitical environment.

But more than all that, this beautiful country is a small, special gate all wide open for the Word of our Lord because Nicaragua also means people, lovely people, whose hearts are more God-friendly than I have imagined.

Growing up in an SDA home, I have always seen so many of my prayers wonderfully answered by such a loving heavenly Father, and my Nicaragua experience was the beginning of another series of direct answers from God to my prayers. Looking back to everything it meant, I feel very grateful and blessed and…, yes, happy to be in the service of such an amazing Master. I cannot put into words all my feelings, thoughts and impressions, but being a part of the Romanian evangelistic team in Nicaragua strengthened my faith in a God who always answers prayers, small and big.

I was not on the Nicaragua team from the beginning, but I wanted to go on such a trip as it had been my wish from my first year as a RATI student, in the fall of 2007, when I had asked our chaplain whether they accepted students from other programs besides Theology, and he had said that it was usually men from Pastoral Theology who worked on these campaigns. So, I thought that being a female Social Work student would mean that my field of work would not include an evangelistic campaign in another country. I have to say that every time the Tanzania team (last summer they went to Tanzania, Africa) met to pray and prepare for the campaign, I was secretly very sorry I was not going with them.

Last fall, I no longer asked about the team and I did not even pray to go as I thought it was not a possibility, but the same secret regret seized me whenever they gathered to prepare. Unexpectedly, two men from the team decided to withdraw and one evening in April our church elder came to my room with a list, telling me there were two vacancies for two young ladies to be part of the international campaign team as the ShareHim coordinators specifically asked for female students to be on the team! Imagine my joy when out of the girls on that list it was me and my sister who were selected to go to Nicaragua! God had fulfilled my impossible wish!

Later, while working during the campaign, I realized why it was usually men from Pastoral Theology who went on such trips: it was awesome and everything I had imagined, but sometimes it was quite difficult to be up there preaching in front of many people every night for two weeks! There were times when I felt like sitting down and just asking the pastor who was translating to take it from there as I felt so overwhelmed by the responsibility of advising and teaching people the mighty truths about God. My doubts about the ordination of women as pastors had just been confirmed one more time.

As expected, the first night was the toughest; it was as if I was no longer finding the right words, I was taken by surprise (and deafened) by the people’s way of singing and I was still suffering from jetlag! However, little by little, I was conquered by their openness, humbled by their simplicity, and I started to understand them more. And I began to love them back.

Life there is hard and I, coming from a country still struggling with economic issues, was struck to see so much poverty. Being a teacher myself, I visited the Adventist school in Granada and was amazed to learn the numbers regarding the monthly tuition for one student (9 US dollars) and the fact that the teachers there are almost doing voluntary work as the school can very rarely pay their salaries on time. I shared these facts with my team colleagues and we decided to work on a project to help as many students as possible not to drop out of school.

During the presentations, I was so happy to have many people, adults and children, attend most of the nights and even happier to see some of them come regularly and even take notes. What I liked most about the presentations was the abundance of Bible texts as I kept telling them every night to read their Bibles every day and see for themselves whether what we said was true or not. At the end, there were sixteen precious persons baptized, both adults and children. I hope and pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to teach and guide them through the church there so that they are saved for eternity.

I am so grateful for having seen God at work both in people’s lives as well as in ours. Although we were a little worried about getting there safely and staying healthy, nothing bad happened to us, the equipment functioned well, and we were all in good health and spirits all throughout the campaign period. And we even drank water from the tap!

Days flew by and there came the final night of the presentations. The topic that night was about the reality of heaven, so it made parting easier as we all realized it was not the end of our acquaintance. There will be a certain time and a certain place near one of the heaven’s gates when we will see each other again and go on with our friendship. Until then, Nicaragua’s earthly gate toward heaven is receiving people who want to SHARE HIM, the most extraordinary and amazing and overwhelming Lord God ever!
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