Coal and oil have always been important to the Romanian economy and the miners were relatively well paid. Shortly after this time God laid on the heart of Cornel Hudulin, a Baptist evangelist and pastor, the need to reach these men and their families with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Based in the town of Targu Jiu (meaning "The market of the River Jiu") Cornel started visiting the many coal mines round about. He began preaching the Gospel news to men as they came off their shifts. During the 1990s Cornel carried out this work almost single-handedly. But miners and members of their families came to Christ in numbers and churches began to be established in the mining villages.
The International Miners' Mission heard of this vibrant ministry work through their long-standing friend and supporter, the late Rev. Dr. Eric Hayden, himself an ex-Bevin boy working in the mines in the 1940s. As a result, some 10 years ago tentative contacts were made and the IMM decided to support two ex-miner evangelists. The ministry developed throughout the mining area with Cornel Hudulin overseeing the work. Subsequently a Volkswagen van was donated by IMM supporters in the UK to facilitate the work.
The outreach to miners and ex-miners has been extended over the last 10 years. Several church groups have been established in quite a wide area. As a result, IMM now helps support five Romanian evangelists either full-time or part-time, who act as pastors for these young growing churches. Each year a special Christain conference for mners is held in the main church in Targu Jiu. Although the numbers have reduced significantly since the ceaucescu days as uneconomic and old-fashioned mines have been closed, there are still some 30,000 men and women involved in mining. Many are caught up with problems of drinking, gambling and ill health. If a miner looses his job, the chances of finding alternative employment are remote. Many communities are struggling for work and money. Young people are leaving for the West in search of work, and so sometimes the churches lose some of their best members. A DVD giving details of this ministry to miners in Romania is available.
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