Often, I tell true stories on my blog. Sometimes I share something I read like the Sinbad stories, and after the last one I shared, I am pretty sure that he exaggerated when he told his stories. He reminded me of my dad who also traveled the word and then told stories when he got old. I will have to relate some of his stories sometime, but today, I am going to tell you a true adventure story of a man that I knew when I lived in Romania. I was in Romania immediately after the revolution. Creanga, the man I will tell you about, had escaped Romania when it was still Communist and been sent back to Romania after the revolution as a missionary. Creanga was a religious man even before he escaped. In fact, that is one of the reasons he felt compelled to escape.
He was living in the middle of the country with his wife and eight kids. Because he kept preaching, he had become a very poor man. You see, under Communism, if you talked about God in Romania, you were blackballed by the Communist party. If you wanted to go up, you had to be a member of the Communist party, but he couldn’t even be a member because he was always talking about God. He and his family were living a very hard life. They drew water from a well. They had no electricity. They heated and cooked with wood. They ate out of the garden and raised pigs for meat. They milked a cow. They raised chickens for eggs. They used an outhouse, even in the snow. There was no hot and cold running water. They grew sugar beets to make sugar and wheat to make flour to make bread. They wove blankets from the wool of sheep. It was a very hard life. The schools in the village didn’t go past the fourth grade, and he couldn’t afford to send his kids to town to go to school. They were living the life that many were reduced to under Communism, and he just kept preaching, but he was feeling bad that his family was having to live the way they did. He knew it was his fault. He was a smart man, but he was being treated like he knew nothing because he was always talking about God, and his family was suffering because of it. He decided to do something about it! He was going to get his family away from Romania so they wouldn’t be governed by the Communist Party. First, he had to figure out how to get out himself.
He went to the border and saw the border guard. He knew that he would never let him out. He hid in a hay field for three days watching the border guard, and finally the border guard wasn’t looking, and he jumped into the river that flowed into Yugoslavia. The border guard finally realized he was there and began shooting, but Creanga was too fast in the waves. He swam the river into Yugoslavia. When he got out, the Yugoslavian police picked him up as he got out of the river.
The Yugoslavian police took him to jail. He thought he was just going to rot in there. His wife didn’t know what was happening to him. She knew he was trying to get out, and she knew he could be shot. She knew he could be in a Romanian jail and no one would tell her. She had to be patient and trust God that he would be okay. After six months, an American Baptist man found Creanga in the Yugoslavian jail. By the grace of God, the man got Creanga out of jail. He not only got him out of jail but took him to America with him. The Baptist man fully expected Creanga to become a baptist when he got to America. However, Creanga had done a lot of Bible study and considered himself just a Christian, and he had to explain to the man that he didn’t believe the way the Baptists believe, and if he were being true to God and what he knew, he couldn’t become a Baptist. He considered himself “just a Christian,” not part of any sect. He was adamant in his way of thinking that he must try to practice the Bible just the way it was written, and he could see the Baptists were nice, but they had some flaws when it came to doing everything that God asks. He was grateful to the Baptist man, but he just couldn’t be Baptist, but just Christian.
He could finally get a message to his wife back in Romania that he was out of danger, and when she received his message, she was overjoyed! She was sure they would let her and the kids follow him. She packed the kids up, and they went to the border. She took the letter to show them that her husband was in America, and she needed to join him, but on the first try, they told her “no,” and turned her back into Romania. She didn’t give up. She tried again and again. She went to a different border guard every time and tried again. The first time was over by Yugoslavia where her husband had gotten out. The final time, she traveled up to the border in the north in Moldavia. Finally, they let her out. Her husband had gotten a job by that time and sent plane tickets for everyone, and they were able to join him in America.
He found the church of Christ in America and liked their teachings because they were doing things exactly the way he read it in the Bible. He and his family became members of the church of Christ, and they could still be considered “just Christians.” The church of Christ liked Creanga so much they sent him to preaching school. When his family came to America, he found a huge house for all his kids. They finally had hot and cold running water all the time, electricity, heat in the winter, and his wife was cooking on a gas stove! However, part of Romania was still in them. They saw the lawn around the house and thought it was wasteful. They plowed up their front yard and planted a vegetable garden.
His kids grew up and were able to finish school. They all received American citizenship, and the revolution took place in Romania. Many people were sending missionaries to help Romania after the revolution, and the church where Creanga was realized he was the perfect candidate because he spoke the language, knew the place, and was completely dedicated to God, so they sent him with his wife back to Romania to help his people, and they gladly went.