More than just an engineering feat or an historic moment in European trade, the newly opened kilometre-long bridge over the Danube River between Romania and Bulgaria, dubbed the ‘New Europe’ is nothing short of an act of God’s blessing, according to Daniel Stuparu. A Romanian-born Australian who devotes his life to supporting gospel work in Romania, Daniel ﬂed Communist Romania in 1988 with his brother, leaving his parents and sister behind. “The bridge will open up parts of both countries that have been isolated and abandoned since the end of Communism,”said Daniel. “I think the bridge will tell Romanians that God has not forgotten them.
“We swam across the Danube for about six hours at night to escape, always scared that we would be caught and punished. There was deﬁnitely no bridge for us,” he remembered.
“In Communist Romania it was illegal to be an evangelical Christian.
Today about 85 per cent of people call themselves Romanian Orthodox but most don’t have a strong trust in Jesus.
“Romania is the EU’s second-poorest country (the poorest is Bulgaria),” he said. “This EU-funded bridge will stimulate other infrastructure and trade, and Christians will be able to get in more easily, to help the poor, to give Bibles and to share the hope of salvation through Christ.” After arriving in
Australia a few months after his escape, Daniel and others who had escaped from Romania established ROMAID, to raise funds for the extreme poor. Their ﬁrst major projects focused on Romania’s north-east where six months of ﬂood in 2005 had left rural areas without roads, rail and supplies. Farming families lost their homes and source of food.
“After building six houses in the ﬂoodaﬀected area, we embarked on our most ambitious project, a multipurpose community centre in the regional town, Bacau, about 300km north of Bucharest,” Daniel said.
“We pray: Please God, we will receive more money to ﬁnish it to include medical facilities, a kindergarten, a school, a church and community hall.”
Daniel is hoping that the story of his and other daring escapes from Communist Romania, to be published later this year, will raise more funds for the country that he can never forget.