The Bus4Life is OM’s 12-ton, 12-metre-long multimedia ministry on wheels that travels throughout Central Europe. Volunteers from local churches play a key role, inviting curious people inside to watch films, read books for sale, or simply relax at tables and chairs outside with free coffee, tea and conversation. The Bus4Life engages youth with sports, games, face painting, singing, drama and short messages for the crowds that gather.
Since 2007, the Bus4Life has visited 150 locations, welcomed 10,000 visitors, sold more than 5,500 books, and had over 1,500 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
Bus4Life visits Romania
The Bus4Life spent two weeks in Romania, from 7-21 April. The OM team, which includes bus driver Tuukka, from Finland, Bus4Life coordinator Raluca, from Romania, and Alice and Rafael, also from Romania, took the bus to Valea Jiului, an area known as one of the poorest in Romania, and Timisoara, where the main youth national conference was taking place. Around 1,000 people attended.
In Petrila (in Valea Jiului), almost all of the old communist coal mines are closed due to low productivity and a lack of security. Many people have left the country to work overseas.
Raluca obtained permission from the local government to park the Bus4Life in downtown Petrila. The team parked the bus, set up the tables and prepared the tea and coffee. They offered balloons to kids, inviting them to a children’s programme. The team hoped 10-15 children would come, and they were surprised when over 70 children were at the bus at the appointed time, enjoying loud music from the bus’s speakers and looking forward to the programme prepared by the OM team and the youth from the local church.
Connection made with local teen
Bus4Life team member Alice approached four teenagers and gave them a New Testament for teens. One of them, a boy of 14 years, opened the Bible and began reading to the others. Rafael asked if they had a Bible at home.
“Sure,” said the boy. He looked down, adding, “I am Ruben, and I go to the local evangelical church—in fact, I am not going anymore. I haven’t been for a long time.”
The next day, when Ruben returned, Rafael took him aside and asked him about his life. Rafael learnt that Ruben’s mother had been baptised at the local church, but seven years ago she had found another man on the Internet and left Ruben and his father. Now Ruben lives with his grandmother, while his father is away working.
Teen responds to God’s love
“I knew that I needed to be very honest and direct with Ruben,” Rafael said about the revelation of Ruben’s past. “I said, ‘Ruben, you are so precious in God’s eyes. He didn’t want for your mother to go away. He is not happy with what she did—but you need to come back to your heavenly Father. He loves you as His son and He is able and willing to receive you.’”
With tears in his green eyes, Ruben looked down, saying he knew he needed to repent and come back to God. When Rafael asked if he wanted to do it at that moment, Ruben looked up into Rafael’s eyes and said, “Yes.”
“As we were sitting there in the Bus4Life driver cabin,” Rafael said, “Ruben prayed and found peace in his Father’s arms.”
Making the stories happen
The Bus4Life team praises God for the change in Ruben’s life. But the reality is that the Bus4Life is very old, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the bus on the road. At almost every destination, the team must stop for repairs to be made on the bus, which has now travelled around 800,000 kilometres.
“We fix one part, investing a lot in spare parts and mechanic fees,” Rafael said, “and then another part is falling apart.”
One pastor who has partnered with the ministry called Bus4Life the “revolution of love”. The Bus4Life team is praying for God to provide a new vehicle so the revolution can continue and their work of bringing the good news to Central Europe can move forward in 2013.
Please pray for Ruben to forgive his mother and remain faithful in his walk with God, and that the local youth leader would help, coach and disciple him. Pray also for God to provide a new vehicle for the Bus4Life ministry.
To see what else God is doing in Romania, see http://news.om.org/country-news/roq.