As reported in the May issue, Mr George MacAskill and Mr Alasdair Ross travelled to Romania in August to deliver a consignment of aid. During the journey, there were the usual difficulties, but things went fairly well overall, and in the good providence of the Most High they returned safely. Due to delays on the way, particularly at border crossings, the two men had on a number of occasions to work late into the night so that they could reach their destination before the Sabbath. Their load consisted of clothing and household items, Hungarian Bibles and literature, and 15 000 pictorial Hungarian and Romanian calendars from the Trinitarian Bible Society. We are deeply indebted to the TBS for once more supplying calendars. Our prayer is that the spreading of the Word of God in this manner will be blessed to many.
Having left Inverness on the Tuesday, they were met outside Cluj Napoca, Romania, on the Saturday afternoon by Mr Szasz Attilla, who was responsible for inviting us into Romania. He is one of a group of young men who profess to hold to Reformed doctrine and to have a high regard for the Westminster Confession of Faith. They used to belong to the Hungarian Reformed Church and endeavoured to increase awareness of Reformed doctrine there for a time. We have been told that the HRC eventually excommunicated them when the bishops said, “Fundamentalists have no place in the Hungarian Reformed Church”.
These young men are now trying to plant churches in various parts of Transylvania, and have colleagues in Ukraine and in Hungary. They generally have small congregations, numbering from five to 30 or 40 in size. A lot of their work is with children, including gypsy children. They are firmly Presbyterian and Paedobaptist. However, in other areas Sabbath keeping, for example they come short of Reformed teaching. We hope the distribution of the Confession of Faith throughout those congregations will be a means to give them an awareness of the preciousness of the Fourth Commandment.
Mr Attilla writes to express his appreciation for the aid sent: “Through this letter we would like to thank you again for your help, for the time and efforts you spent for us. We wish that our Almighty God might bless you for it, that He might reward you with heavenly treasures. We have already used part of the aid among the children of our Bible study. Next week we will have meetings with all of our co-workers, where we can discuss the use of the aid. Please pray that we might have wisdom from above to use these things for the glory of God.”
In Eastern Europe we give especially to those who express an interest in the Reformed Faith. Our main concern is with Odessa. The small group of people there continue to meet each Sabbath for public worship in accordance with Word of God. At the moment they are reading through Bostons Fourfold State.
I write this letter in Mr Igor Zadoroshneys home in Odessa. He continues with the great task of distributing the Word of God and Reformed literature throughout the Ukraine and also Russia. He tells me that, of the 12 000 Kulish Bibles received from the Trinitarian Bible Society in April 1999, 4484 have to date been posted throughout the Ukraine. While the Kulish version is frowned on by some as being somewhat archaic and using a dialect of the Ukrainian language, there is nevertheless great demand for it from all kinds of people in central Ukraine. In addition, during this period, Mr Zadoroshney has posted out many Russian Bibles.
Today, September 8, at his home, we received from the printers the first copies of The Westminster Confession of Faith which includes the Catechisms, The Sum of Saving Knowledge, The Directory for the Public Worship of God, The Form of Presbyterial Church Government and The Directory for Family Worship. A large Baptist Church has asked for a copy for each of the teachers in the Church. We hope and pray that, as these volumes are distributed, many people will come to have a firm attachment to the Bible doctrines so ably systematised in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms. We are deeply indebted to a friend for having contributed the substantial sums of money necessary for the production of the Confession of Faith in Ukrainian and in Hungarian. Were it not for such liberality, we as a Church could not have made this valuable contribution to the spreading of the Reformed Faith.
We hope now to proceed with printing other Reformed literature and to continue with visits to the Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe. So that this work may go on, I make a fresh appeal for the ongoing funding of this work. At the moment our funds are low, and this puts a question mark over the next visit, a truck load of aid to Odessa Childrens Hospital. We hope one of our ministers will go to Odessa with Mr Edward Ross in October or November. The congregation there look forward to the preaching of the gospel during the planned stay of two Sabbaths, as well as to Catechism classes on week days.
“Lord bless and pity us,
shine on us with Thy face,
That the earth Thy way,
and nations all
may know Thy saving grace.”
Rev D A Ross