Missionary Diary: kids come to Christ in Romania

Australian Jennifer Grocott met Adi in Timisoara, Romania, in 2003. After marrying in 2008 in Romania, they moved to Sydney to study at Sydney Missionary and Bible College in 2011. With their children Anna and Luca, they have now been serving in children’s ministry with European Christian Mission (ECM) in Timisoara, Romania, for 20 years. They desire to encourage and equip new workers ministering to children in areas that have yet to be reached with the gospel.

It was my 43rd birthday and as Adi and I drove the 120km back to Timisoara from Socodor, my heart was overflowing with joy and thanksgiving. I reflected that one of the most amazing privileges of having served in one place for 20 years is seeing God at work and how he has used so many different people to grow the gospel in that place.

Adi first took me to Socodor in 2003, along with two others, to help clean up a piece of land that his uncle had bought with the intention of planting a church there. It was a large piece of land with a derelict house and a dilapidated barn. In time, the house was demolished, the barn was transformed into a one-room church and a small local church was born.

A team from Harrow in the UK helps run a kids’ program in Socodor in 2003.

This was where Adi and I ran our first summer programs in 2006 with a team from Harrow, London. At the same time, we encouraged and equipped the local youth to engage with kids in the community. In the years following this, we trained and equipped local leaders to run a regular children’s program, which they then replicated at another nearby village, Varsand.

God has kept children’s ministry firmly in the heart of Beni, one of Adi’s cousins.

The children’s ministry has had various ups and downs over the years, but God has kept children’s ministry firmly in the heart of Beni, one of Adi’s cousins. Beni has now completed a degree in theology and is passionate about continuing to reach children and youth in the area.

Beni (left) at Florin’s baptism (middle) in Socodor this year.

A huge encouragement for him was being able to be part of the recent baptism of Florin. Florin attended our summer program in Vârșand back in 2007. He was one of those mischievous kids, constantly causing disruptions and it was tempting to send him home some days. But God had plans for Florin and he is now a young man, a husband, a father and a follower of Jesus.

The new church alongside the original in Socodor.

Beni shared with us his joy of having witnessed Florin’s growth and how this encouraged him to keep investing in children’s ministry. With a new and larger church built, there is now room to hold a Sunday school, and Beni is passionate for more children in Socodor and surrounding villages to hear about our Lord and Saviour.

We are looking forward to further collaborations with our brothers and sisters in Socodor.

So it was with great joy that Adi and I were invited to hold the kid’s program during the inauguration of the new church building on 13 August. We created the program from the Romanian translation of The Big Wide Welcome by Trillia Newbell, based on James 2, which teaches children that Christians and churches are called to be like Jesus: to give a big, wide welcome to all kinds of people so that they can hear the good news for themselves.

We had a great time singing, listening, playing, memorising and learning that Jesus doesn’t play favourites and the church is open to all because of what Jesus has done on the cross. We are looking forward to further collaborations with our brothers and sisters in Socodor and wait to see what God will do in the next 20 years!