Perseverance through persecution - Mircea's story

Laurie Lind, Entrust staff writer

RomaniaRomania’s communist regime was among the most brutal in the world. From 1965 until his assassination in 1989, Nicolae Ceauşescu crushed the country under his cult of personality, his reign of oppression. Freedom of thought and expression, freedom of belief and worship, were suppressed by a nationwide network of informers, violence and fear.

Despite all this, Romanian Christians persisted in worshipping God and telling others the good news of Jesus Christ. Often at risk to their very lives.

In this milieu, a young boy named Mircea Deteşan (pronounced MEER-cha DET-uh-shan), watched two vastly different role models: his committed communist father and his committed Christian mother. By the time Mircea was a young man, his mother’s example was winning out. He decided to discover what gave his mother the courage to pay any price to follow her Lord Jesus Christ. He read the Bible and eventually, in 1978, at the age of 23, he placed his faith in Christ.

As a new Christian, Mircea was eager for biblical training, but access to theological education was strongly limited by the communist regime. He managed to study a few lessons from a Navigators course and took part in his church’s youth Bible study. Then, he discovered an organization called Biblical Education by Extension, International (BEEI), which later became Entrust.

Through Entrust, Christians from the West traveled quietly in and out of communist nations like Romania, bringing biblical training to young believers, pastors and church leaders. Mircea’s eagerness to learn, coupled with the fact that the Entrust facilitators did not speak Romanian, led him to a major decision.

“The need of an interpreter for small clandestine groups,” along with “the strong desire to get access to English Christian literature,” led Mircea to begin teaching himself English. “It was a hard task, but the results and the existing need encouraged me continually in it.”

His first Entrust course was Romans and Galatians. Eight men gathered for the secret training sessions throughout 1982, facilitated by Entrust staff. “We had only one study book for all eight members, so we copied the manual for seven of us, writing it by hand. It was not possible to use copy machine then!”

In the fall of 1989, Mircea was taken to a police station and beaten. The next morning, he was arrested by the secret police. He was beaten again, under false accusations, with the real reasons being his refusal to work as a communist police informer and refusing to renounce preaching the gospel.

Detesan Family
Mioara, Elena, Mircea, Jr., Mircea, and Marcel Deteşan

Mircea, his wife Mioara and their children experienced what it means to be persecuted for one’s faith. “The words of Jesus were fulfilled for us,” Mircea says, pointing to two passages of scripture.

“… they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account on My name.” (Luke 21:12)

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5: 11-12)

But their story does not end in that police station. Six weeks after Mircea’s arrest, Romanians overthrew the Ceauşescu regime and with it, communism. Almost immediately, in 1990, Mircea, along with a few other Romanians and Entrust personnel in the country, began to indigenize the Entrust program. In 1995, seven founders officially established an indigenized organization for Romania, Educaţie Biblică prin Exensie (Biblical Education through Extension), following Entrust’s model of church-based theological training.

EBEEBE continues to train leaders nationwide, with Romanian national coordinators for Pentecostal, Baptist, Brethren and Independent churches, and a women’s ministry training system coordinated by a national director.

“Every national coordinator has the responsibility to develop a national team of EBE,” Mircea says, “in order to implement the vision of equipping servant leadership in church-based training centers in the different geographical regions of Romania, as well as in the Romanian diaspora.”

EBE continues to use several Entrust training courses, including Building a Lasting Marriage, Nurturing Our Children, Facilitator Training, Developing a Discerning Heart, Inductive Bible Study, Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Lay Counseling, Church Dynamics, Women Serving Women and Mircea’s first-ever course, Romans and Galatians.

Mircea DetesanMircea now serves as an assistant pastor in his local church, having recently passed his “senior pastor baton” to a younger man. Mircea is vice president of the Pentecostal district of Cluj, vice president of the Romanian Pentecostal Foreign Mission Agency and director of EBE.

“It is very difficult to me to think of how my life and ministry would have looked without BEEI/Entrust,” Mircea says. “As a young minister, working in a plant as a mechanical engineer from 1980 to 1990, without any possibility to get any formal theological education, having a family with three children in those years before the revolution (the fourth child was born in 1994), I may say that Entrust was the perfect needed way of God for equipping me for the ministry that followed in my life.

“In 1990, as a result of growing into this ministry, I was ordained as a pastor in the church and I committed myself to full-time ministry. I would not see myself being committed to full-time ministry without the investment of Entrust. I received not only the training but also the trust to dedicate myself more and more to the work of the ministry.

“God used Entrust to be a blessing for me not only by the constant training I got during those years but also by the friendship and mentoring ministry” of Entrust staff members.” * Read about three men whom God especially used in Mircea’s life.

Mircea’s life and ministry demonstrate Entrust's guiding verse, 2 Tim. 2:2. And the things you (Mircea) have heard me (various Entrust staff members) say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people (those in his church and students of EBE) who will also be qualified to teach others (men and women across Romania and around the world).

 

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
2 Timothy 2:2