Gerald Ziemer, Romania
Peter Nastase came to our church at Easter 2001, and met Christ as his Savior. After his conversion, he had a desire to reach his family with the gospel. One of the family members he invited to church was his sister Nina and her husband Ion. When they first visited our church, Ion told his wife: "We are only going to check it out, let's not make any decisions—if we do make a decision, we will make it together as a family."
After an evangelistic message one Sunday, during the invitation, Ion raised his hand stating that he had prayed to accept Christ as his savior. During visits with him that week, I rejoiced in what God was doing in his life. The following week, being a beautiful summer day, we decided as a church to go down to the river that passes through Fundulea for fellowship. Ady & David brought their guitars, and we sat on the terraced river bank and sang and shared testimony of the grace and goodness of God.
During this time, Ion came to me and stated that he had a problem. His decision to follow Christ had upset his wife. Being familiar with the Romanian culture and how many families react to a person accepting Christ as "betraying their religion", I proceeded cautiously. He told me about their agreement to making a decision together, and that Nina was upset that he had accepted Christ without her! I was relieved, and assured him that we could handle that problem. Estera, one of our young leaders, sat down with her and explained to her how she could receive Christ. She prayed right there on the side of the river to accept Him as her personal savior!
In 1991, while coming home to Fundulea on the train, a man had witnessed to Ion about the Lord and had given him a New Testament. He challenged him to find an evangelical church that preached the gospel. Ten years had passed since that train ride, and now Ion and his wife finally found the Savior.
They desired to be baptized, but were not legally married. They had been together for 11 years and had two daughters at that point. They had a civil wedding service at the mayor's office and we had a special family dedication service at the church for them. This is common among our families who have been together for many years, but never legally married before their salvation.
Ion was elected our second deacon at Hope Baptist Church, and as our church began to grow he challenged us to think about planting a church in the town of Sinesti. Ion and Nina were sharing the gospel with those they met in the market, and had encountered many from Sinesti. Some of them had asked them to come and teach them the Bible. Grace Baptist Church was started in Sinesti, and Ion was ordained in 2006 as the pastor of this church. They have two daughters, Alina, and Georgeta, and two sons, Andrei, and Simon.