Romania: New beginnings in Cluj
Delia knows from experience how hard being a Christian at university can be. ‘In my first year’, she says, ‘it was hard to find a Christian community, and I used to travel home each weekend’. Things changed when she found OSCER, Romania’s student movement. ‘Meeting other Christian students and learning together how to be salt and light was a great help for me and had a big impact on my faith.’ When she moved to Cluj for her master’s degree in 2018, she found no OSCER group. But she had a burden for students – ‘I really wanted the students in Cluj to receive the help I also received back in my university years.’
How do you start something from nothing, single-handedly?
Delia met two others who shared her vision, including one who had moved to Cluj for the very purpose of starting a student group there. They began praying together, but as time wore on, nothing much was achieved. Then the pandemic hit. The three would-be pioneers had to return to their home cities.
At the end of 2020, Delia found herself the only one of the three whose plans aligned with a return to Cluj. She began to doubt her abilities. ‘It was hard, discouraging, and from my perspective, impossible’. She began living in Cluj with Raluca, a student from church. ‘As our friendship grew,’ explains Delia, ‘I shared with her my experiences with OSCER and my dream for the group in Cluj. One day, she told me that if I was afraid to do it alone, we could try and do it together.’
This was the moment things began to change.
Delia and Raluca shared their vision with their pastor, and two other students at church, Alexandra and Ana, were interested. Their first meeting was in March 2021. Studying the Five Thresholds course (produced by InterVarsity, the USA student movement), other students came and went over the weeks, leaving just the four. But they didn’t give up. In October, with the help of other missionaries, they were able to organise a big event with a well-known guest speaker. This time, about 100 young people attended, heard the gospel, and were invited to OSCER groups.
Weekly meetings have grown to 15-20 students. The Christmas outreach event showed a real spiritual appetite amongst students in Cluj, who asked great questions and wanted more discussion. After the exam period is over next month, the team plan to run the Alpha course.
‘This is the first time we are part of a coordinating team, and there are a lot of things to learn’, shares Delia. ‘Especially how to organise all our other responsibilities with OSCER.’ She’s nonetheless excited about the future – ‘Cluj is a big city and there are a lot of opportunities. We are very thankful for the way God has worked this year – and grateful for this opportunity to share our joy with you in Prayerline.’
Pray for Delia, Raluca, Ale, Ana, and OSCER Romania:
- Pray that many students would come back after exams bringing their friends to Alpha. Pray that the planned outreach event in a few months would reach new students. Pray that students would give their lives to Jesus.
- Pray that Christian students attending the group would embrace the vision of OSCER.
- Pray that Delia, Raluca, Ale, Ana, and other Christians in Cluj would not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). Pray for wisdom and joy as they lead.
- Pray for the long-term establishment of a student group in Cluj, with the development of the next generation of student leaders. Pray that this would have a long-lasting strategic impact for the kingdom.
- Pray that OSCER would continue to have this impact on students’ lives in Romania.