Romania

In April of 1996, ten choir members from the church I attended in Colorado Springs boarded a flight to Bucharest, Romania. We would be part of a one hundred and ten voice choir to sing an Easter cantata for the Romanian people. More than a dozen churches would send choir members to sing in the cantata. We were each given sheet music with lyrics, which all participants were required to memorize; and a cassette tape of the melody which would help us learn our part. “The Day He Wore My Crown” was the composition we would perform with actors in Biblical costumes who would portray the triumphal entry of JESUS into Jerusalem, his journey to the cross, and His resurrection. Dressed in identical white robes, the choir would be standing on specially-constructed risers fifteen feet high in the shape of a cross. We had been told it would be the first time in fifty years that an Easter choir would be allowed to perform openly in Romania. Previously, all overt religious activity had been forbidden during the communist regime. When communism fell, some American missionaries in Bucharest asked for a choir to come and bring the gospel in song and by portrayal. After hearing that request, we were anxious to go, and the money for our trip was soon raised by the church members.

With high anticipation and excitement, I found my seat on the plane and buckled up for the long flight. I tried to relax as the engines roared to life and we rolled down the tarmac. Soon we were airborne and I could hear the wheels retracting. I smiled. Finally what we had practiced for so many weeks would soon be sung in performance. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks for everything that GOD had helped us to achieve. Then I heard the LORD say to me, “I ordained this trip fifty years ago.” Immediately my mind was transported back to a time when I was eight years old. My mother, my younger brother, and I were on a Greyhound bus travelling from Corvallis, Oregon to Portland, Oregon to visit my grandparents. The bus made many stops along the way. Sometimes passengers got off and new passengers would get on. One of our stops was at beautiful Multnomah Falls where we saw the breathtaking waterfall with the nearby lush, green growth and evergreen trees. Too soon the bus driver said it was time to re-board. We found our seats again and the new passengers boarded. There was a group of about fifteen teenagers and college students. Everyone found seats and were again on our way. We hadn’t been driving long when the new passengers began to sing. They sang in four part harmony. I turned around in my seat. On my knees I watched and listened to the singers. The melody, the words, and the blended voices captivated me. I didn’t know then that they were the choir, from the Multnomah School of the Bible, and were practicing to give a concert, but this is the song that they sang:

“We’ve A Story To Tell To The Nations”
Music by: Colin Sterne and text by H. Ernest Nichol
“We’ve a story to tell to the nations
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.
Refrain: For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright; and Christ’s great kingdom Shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.”

Mark 16:15. The last words JESUS spoke to His disciples before He was taken up into heaven were: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved but he that doesn’t believe, trust, and rely on the gospel will be condemned.” (The Amplified Bible)

This was the reason I was on my way to Romania, to bring the “story of peace and light” through music to a country that had been in the darkness of communism for so long. As an eight year old, GOD had prepared my heart for this mission.

Our combined choir, with accompaniment of Romania’s Philharmonic Orchestra, sang the cantata twice in the Sala Palatuli 4,060 seat concert hall in Bucharest. Before each song, a translator would summarize the English lyrics into the Romanian language. After each performance a pastor gave an altar call. In the building that had been constructed for the communist party, many accepted JESUS as their Savior and were given Bibles in the Romanian language. God used our time spent in preparation, our voices, the actors and musicians, our long journey, and the impressionable heart of an eight-year-old girl in his purpose to change the darkness into dawn.

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