“I remember sitting in my seat at church and looking at everyone, including myself, and thinking, ‘We are all here at church every Sunday, yet not many of us go out to reach out to the lost.’”
This is when Bogdan Bilav, BMA National Missionary to the Romanian Gypsies, remembers God first breaking his heart for the lost. No longer was he content to sit in a church pew and continue in complacency – Bogdan must tell the lost and perishing about the Savior.
Much like many American Christians, Bogdan grew up in the church. His mother and his mother’s parents were strong Christians who raised him to fear the Lord. It was because of their example that whenever Bogdan felt God pulling him to serve as a missionary, he followed whole-heartedly.
When Bogdan grew in to young adulthood, his pastor planted a church in a nearby gypsy village and asked Bogdan to join him in ministering to the Romanian Gypsies.
“That is when I felt God calling me to do more with the gypsies by spreading the gospel to them,” he explained.
Today, Bogdan, his wife Daniela, and their young daughter Naomi are full time church planters and missionaries to several gypsy communities in the Transylvania region of Romania. God is blessing their ministry and allowing churches to grow and strengthen because of their faithful service.
One of the results of this faithful service can be seen in the gypsy village called “Ip.” The Bilav family has begun developing and cultivating a body of believers there, changing the tide of the village’s culture.
“We are focusing right now to plant a church in the village of Ip,” said Bogdan. “We have that running and going. There are still things that need to be improved there, people that need to be reached, and brothers and sisters that need to be encouraged and strengthened in their faith.”
In addition to their church planting ministries, the Bilavs also work with Lifeword Media Ministries to produce gospel broadcasts in the gypsies’ own language. They are currently working on extending that ministry to include not only radio broadcasts, but also Internet broadcasts for the younger gypsy generation.
“Our goal with the Lifeword radio broadcast – and we believe with the Internet this is possible – is to see that it reaches all over the country and even outside of Romania, because the language that gypsies speak is the same everywhere, so they can understand each other. So with this new broadcast, we have the potential to reach the gypsies all over Europe.”
This is a lofty goal, but this missionary couple has already seen incredible stories of changed lives, and they know that, as Matthew 19:26 says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
In every step of their ministry journey, in every project they have begun, the Bilavs have seen God working. They are often reminded of God’s providence through the testimonies of brothers and sisters in Christ who have been reached through their ministries. Though there are some discouraging days for the missionary couple, witnessing changed hearts for Christ fuels their desire to see more gypsy lives transformed by the gospel.
“We really feel the prayers from everyone who is supporting us,” concluded Bogdan. “And in days that are discouraging, we rely on that prayer more, and we give it all to the Lord.”
“We show love,” added Daniela, “but we receive more love.”