Stuart Harrison –
“My name is Stuart Harrison, I am 30 years old and originally from Luton, England. I have been living in Romania for almost 5 years now and more specifically in a small town called Balan for one year. In Balan, I am seeking to share the gospel with those in the town, working mostly with teenagers and children as I feel God has gifted me and directed me.
“Christian ministry in Romania has many challenges. Certainly the older generations, and to some extent the younger too, have very strong stereotypes regarding people groups, such as the Roma Gypsies, and denominational groups, such as Orthodox and Pentecostal. For example, a person is Baptist or Pentecostal rather than simply a Christian. It is hard for integration between denominations to occur even though this would be of great value – especially in small towns such as Balan where true believers are few. Events done under the Orthodox banner are disapproved of by the Baptists and vice versa – even if they are done in a similar way and with the same overall purpose.
“In addition to this, Balan is situated in a Hungarian speaking part of the country. However, Balan itself is predominantly Romanian speaking. There can be hostility between the two cultures and also with Roma Gypsies. The gospel doesn’t know those boundaries. It is vital for all people groups and denominations (Orthodox and Catholic being the main two in Balan). The challenge is to share this all encompassing gospel message with all people and help them break down their stereotypes and misconceptions about religion.
“Personally, I was brought up in England in a Christian home. I went to a Baptist church – which I still attend when back in the UK and have some level of support from for the work I am seeking to do in Romania. I can’t give a specific date as to when I became a Christian. I know God worked in my heart in many stages as my understanding grew. However, for me the most significant period in my life for helping to establish my own personal faith in God would have to be my time at university. Leaving home at 18, I now had the choice – do I continue in my walk with God? If I do, which church should I attend and how should I be involved there? It was a challenge for me to see others who were clearly Christians, but who had a different understanding of some theological issues and practical ways that the Biblical truths should be applied to our lives. It was a significant time for me, questioning what I had been brought up to believe to confirm or otherwise that it was accurate to the Bible. I’m grateful to God, my parents and my church leaders that in many things I grew more confident that what I believed was true. In some issues, my views had to change to be more in line with what I felt God said in His Word – but here also, it only served to make me appreciate the Bible more and to make a more personal stand for my faith.
“Now, I want to continue to live out my faith for others to see. While I’m in Balan, I hope to live a life that honors God and is a faithful witness to those around me. I sense a great need in this town for a church that is not limited by a denominational stamp but that embraces only the truth of the Bible and where all people are welcome and valued. I would love to see many come to a true faith and not just be nominally Orthodox or Catholic. I would love to see them passionate to live out their faith and make a stand for God in this town. I would love to see a growing unity between believers from other smaller churches here – where they can work together for the cause of God’s kingdom.”
Stuart Harrison Receives a Scholarship
“I want to tap into sound, solid resources that will remind me, confirm in me, challenge me and further teach me Biblical truth and skills in sharing this. This is why I have enrolled on the CLI program and wish to study additional modules in the coming months and years.
“Please pray for wisdom! Pray for my personal walk with God to grow and be an example. Pray for the things mentioned above – that God would work in individual lives and use me to this end in any way He chooses. Pray for my practical need – language development, finances, health, companionship and partnership in the work of sharing the gospel.”