Knighton Free Church is privileged to have a strong partnership with a Romanian pastor and his wife, Beni and Ioana Handaric, who lead a number of Baptist churches in the vicinity of Bicaz in North East Romania, which is amongst the poorest areas in Europe.
Beni and Ioana Handaric
We are united in our partnership in the gospel, and seek to help the churches there reach out with the good news of Jesus and help those in need. The churches we support in Romania are much smaller than Knighton Free Church and we are able to use the resources God has given us to bless them. Every year we send small teams to encourage the church, help with teaching and pastoral support, and each Spring we send a bigger team to run a week of mission. We also provide financial support in a number of projects, such as a free weekly meal for the children in the poorer area and the Christmas shoebox appeal. We have also helped to fund the church building they now use regularly in Bicaz and worked alongside Beni to set up a new church in the Romani area, Dodeni.
Tim Dixon and Steve Bawden are the link elders for this partnership within the church – please speak to them for more information.
The Spring Mission
Every Easter a team of approximately 20 people visit the area to run a Spring mission. In partnership with two of the newest churches (in Bicaz and Dodeni) we help to run regular youth and children’s events, adult evangelistic opportunities, and home visits which provide practical and spiritual support for many. The Spring Mission is incredibly valuable to Beni and Ioana, as the attraction of an English team in the Baptist Church often means many new links are made with local people in the community in the areas of Bicaz and Dodeni, and the church has seen growth through these links. It is also of great value to those that serve on the Spring Mission team, as they see and learn from a young active church, and experience cross cultural mission.
Whilst many of the situations there are very difficult and the level of poverty is striking, it is such a blessing to be involved personally with the work there. Many Spring team members keep coming back year after year, and have grown to love the local people!
Craft at the children’s programme during the Spring mission
‘The House of Light’ – the church in Dodeni
The Food Project
We believe ‘faith without deeds is dead’ – and that we have no right to speak about the gospel with the friends and people we meet in Romania if we are showing no concern for their practical needs. The poverty, particularly in the Romani area of Dodeni can be overwhelming, and in 2012 our church helped to set up and continues to fund a local food project, where the poorest children in Dodeni are provided a meal every week prepared by a small team from the Bicaz church. This work is made possible by the faithful church members in Romania who give their time week in week out to serve in an often difficult area. It is encouraging to see this project still thriving, and we pray that it will continue to bring light into dark situations.
Children eating at the food project in the House of Light, Dodeni church
In recent years we have sent shoeboxes of gifts at Christmas directly to our partner churches in Romania via Blythswood Care. Look out for the advertisements in church in the Autumn term if you would like to help by making a shoebox for a Romanian child or elderly person – it is likely to be the only gift they receive at Christmas.