Daniel and Neli Popa

 PopaFamily

Here is a brief update of what’s been going on in our lives for the past couple of years. We last met at the Board Meeting in Florida in January 2011, and we followed you advice to stay in Hunedoara. We turned down the offer to come for a few years to America in order to serve a Romanian church in Houston, and continued to attend Maranatha Baptist church here in town, where we are still members to this day.

Until September of 2012, this church only had an interim pastor, so there was a little bit of hope that I would be asked to resume ministry here, but that never happened. In September the congregation elected a new pastor, one who lives 15 miles from Hunedoara and who was forced to step down from pastoring their congregation following a democratic vote, much in the same manner like I was set aside. Here there were no questions asked, no requirements, no matching of personal abilities with the congregation’s needs, just a vote to have a full-time pastor. Though I offered to help him get to know the congregation and its problems, he never asked for help, nor scheduled me for any pulpit time during the last six months, so it’s pretty clear to me that soon I will have to leave Maranatha. I am preaching regularly in other churches, my schedule is full, but there is no place for my public teaching here. I still meet regularly with 12 young men (interesting, huh?) who are becoming more useful for the ministry every week: they speak in Sunday School, have short messages during the youth program on Sunday evenings, lead public worship most of the time, and are becoming solidly grounded in God’s Word. My wife continues to sing in the choir, Sami who is 14 now accompanies the choir and orchestra on the piano, Cristi who is 12 plays violin for the orchestra, and both of them are in the youth band I started, Sami playing guitar and Cristi on percussion. Often times we travel as a family to where I have speaking engagements, and we all play instruments and sing. Little Stefi is 4, and he shows greater music abilities than any of his older brothers, so we might soon get him involved, also.

Since January 2012 I work for Radio Voice of the Gospel in Hunedoara, being the chief producer for the local station. My personal contribution consists of a weekly message, daily devotions, daily news, announcements, selection of music and generating the daily schedule of events. I have some other ideas for live broadcasts, in the studio via telephone or on the streets, but we are in the process of obtaining the license for this. We are also working on a site that would bring our radio station on the Internet, so that friends from all over the world can listen to our broadcasts. Our target audience without the Internet is close to 200.000 people in two cities and several villages. Sometimes, I hear Radio Voice of the Gospel in stores and offices where nobody is Christian, but our selection of music, news and information stir their interest. A great number of people from Maranatha call me just to encourage me and express their joy to hear me on the radio now that I am not invited to preach at Maranatha any more. The involvement in radio ministry has really been a blessing from God for me, because it was very difficult to sit down and do nothing for the congregation I loved and served. Now not only Baptists, but Penticostals, Brethren and even non-believers listen  for my shows on the radio. And in an ironic twist, the apartment where the studio is located belongs to the fellow who fought most bitterly against me when I was pastoring Maranatha, to see me put out of ministry. Now I go everyday in his apartment and help thousands of listeners through devotionals, news and preaching. Only God can orchestrate things in such a way!

As for the property in Pestis, we are farming most of the land, not because I suddenly fell in love with farming, but because that is what keeps us alive, literally. I couldn’t do it on my own, I just didn’t have the financial resources, but together with another member of this church we plant corn, wheat, barley, alfalfa, in order to feed the sheep, cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens we raise. We’re not making any money out of it, because it would take more tools and machinery and electricity in order to be really efficient, but we get our milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables off the land. Food is very expensive in the stores, and if you don’t want all the hormones and chemicals you need to buy the even more expensive stuff, but we have our freezers and storage rooms full with the rewards of our work on the field. We still have no electricity at the property, which has made it very difficult to live there, and also for me it meant adding a lot of extra daily pressure on my van, in order to haul water and other supplies from town on the bad road to the property. Tires, suspension parts, and even the clutch had to be replaced, as the same car I use for the family and church ministry is also used for carrying barrels of water, grain, feed, manure, rocks and anything else necessary. A young couple with four kids are living in the house and earning a living by working the land. They have been abandoned at young age by their parents, they lived together for a while, had a son, they got married, had a couple more kids and then we brought them out here. They became believers and were baptized at Maranatha, the Lord blessed them with a fourth child, and we try to take good care of them as a testimony to their unsaved family. Recently, I was able to find a skilled electrician who fixed the Honda generator we brought from America in 1999, and I bought a three-phase generator from Germany for the water-pump and other needs. Fuel is expensive, but it’s much better to have some electricity for the family than have them live in a nice house but like in the Middle Ages. I’m still looking for a possibility of being reconnected to power supply, or becoming self-supported through wind turbines and solar panels.

2013 had a rough start for us as a family. On January 14, my mother was scheduled for a colon cancer surgery at a university hospital in Cluj. After taking her to the hospital on Sunday, January 13, on his way back home my dad fell asleep while driving and had an accident which brought him within an inch of losing his life. God was merciful, and the car hit the side of the concrete blocks, climbing over them and landing in the ditch. As a result his right leg was shattered, and the surgeon introduced 5 bronze rods to rebuild the frame of the bone. After being treated 19 days in the hospital, we brought him home, but for 2 months he will not be allowed to set any weight on his right leg. Mom is also at home, undergoing chemotherapy for a liver cancer which is phase 4, so we pray and hope that the Lord will prolong her days. Our families are on round the clock duty, our schedules have been all messed up, we had to pay the doctors money we didn’t have, so things are quite rocky at this time. But so many people are praying for us and for my parents, and we hope you will also keep us in your prayers.


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