Taking love all over the world

Published 11:04 pm Friday, April 3, 2009

Fairhaven Baptist Church’s missionary team returned from Chilia, Romania March 20 after an eight-day trip thousands of miles across the globe.

While the efforts have had an unmistakable impact on Chilia and the surrounding area, Atkins said the trip’s positive ramifications are mutually apparent.

“When you go over there and you see lives being changed and you see the gratitude on the faces of the people, it’s worth it,” Fairhaven pastor Allen Atkins said. “One of the benefits of that is that the people who go, they get a rekindled passion for the work here. It’s God who’s doing it. We’re just His tools, His instruments.”

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Chilia, one of a set of four villages governed by a common mayor, is the site of a work started by the church in 2008.

The congregation had previously sent mission teams to Romania, but came to learn of the Chilian need through Mihai Miaula, a Baptist minister from nearby Satu Mare.

“He’s located in a city about the size of Tuscaloosa,” Atkins said of Miaula, who informed Atkins and the Fairhaven congregation of the absence of an evangelical presence within the quartet of villages. “He kept asking us to come help establish a church in this village.”

After a series of conversations with Miaula, Fairhaven agreed to send its first team to the area last spring.

“Our first trip to the village was in March 2008,” Atkins said.

During that first trip, the Fairhaven team worked to plant a church.

“We had about 75 to 100 professions of faith,” Atkins said. “So I came back and told Fairhaven there was a church there now and we’re responsible for it.”

The congregation’s return trip this year saw similar results.

“This time we had between 80 to 100 professions of faith,” Atkins said.

In addition to its evangelistic efforts, the Fairhaven team provided medical attention and passed out Bibles.

According to Atkins, between 200 and 250 Romanians received medical attention in one of the three makeshift clinics set up by missionaries and church members. Additionally, the team reportedly passed out more than 200 Bibles.

“God just opened a lot of doors,” Atkins said of the trip.

While on the trip, Fairhaven