After receiving the six months notice from God, life flowed on much as usual for us in Timisoara. We continued to work, pray and fast, and of course the children needed to be fed, disciplined, schooled, and given godly training. Garden weeds still had to be dug out, the garden watered, and eggs gathered. The domestic animals we kept also required routine attention. The duties and calling of our underground church work and Bible distribution also could not be neglected. So in all outward aspects our life continued the same as usual, just as it had done for years--yet within our hearts danced a growing excitement we could hardly keep to ourselves. Deliverance, sweet Deliverance, was coming! "La la la la!" our hearts sang within. Deliverance was just around the corner!
Whenever Aurica and I momentarily slipped down off the glistening peak of anticipation at the thought of separation, the Lord gave us a comforting word: "In a short time you will be together again with your family." It gave me much joy to think that God was soon going to fulfill His golden promise to us. In a way, I had waited thirty-three years for this great miracle. Now on the very day it was to become reality, I could not restrain my joy.
It was the same kind of joy that I experienced on the train one time after God revealed that two passengers near me were KGB secret agents. I felt God wanted me to witness to them! But, of course, that was impossible. I knew that the moment I mentioned the slightest thing about Jesus my Savior they would arrest me. Praying and seeking God about this, He gave me such great joy in my spirit that one of the agents, who must of sensed it, turned to me. "How can you be so happy? Why are you so joyful? Tell us!"
Naturally I had to obey their command! So I told them that the reason for my joy was Jesus, My Lord and Savior. I told them Jesus loved them and wanted to give them joy too. I could see the shock on their faces when they realized what had just happened. They had been given an open testimony of Jesus, but everyone knew they could do nothing to me. I had only followed their orders.
Wednesday, October 9, 1974 dawned. Aurica and I felt in our spirits that it was the great Day of Deliverance, a glory-filled day made in heaven. So we were rejoicing every moment, with high espectation we would see God do great and marvelous things.
I arose as usual at 5:00 a.m. to spend time with the Lord, as I always did. I was praying when the promise of Psalm 91 flashed through my mind.
"Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation."
Putting my Bible down, I could have wept, for my joy was almost too great to humanly bear. I knew that this was the day the Lord had made, the day Almighty God was going to pull us out of Pharaoh's prison-house and restore our life as down-trodden Christians to freedom, dignity and abundance. I was also expecting to see the two men God had promised would accompany me. They could come at any moment. But I was ready. God had seen to every detail in building our faith, and had even told me what to put in my small travel case. Just a few days before, the Lord told me to buy a bottle
of Vitamin C tablets to put with a plastic bottle of water, my Bible, two loaves of bread, two salami, a flashlight, and a sewing kit.
Vitamin C was not available in stores for regular sale, so it had to be obtained through other means. It was very expensive too. Though it made no sense to me, God told me to take this particular vitamin along.
It was a warm, sunny day. In the bright morning ight our older children trooped off to school. I planned to see them on their return home.
I kept looking at my watch, expecting at any moment to hear someone at the door. Dressed in regular, everyday clothes, I waited for my promised two companions to show up. Aurica set the table for lunch, and then we heard a knock at the door. The first to appear was Josef, a man I had met several times at Christian gatherings. We had never discussed escaping together from Romania, so I knew God had supernaturally sent him. Therefore, I could greet him with full joy. "You've come and I've been waiting for you!" I said. Josef's face lit up. "Praise God," he said. "I feel the same, for God has sent us here." Stefan, the next to appear, was Josef's friend. I had never seen him before, but he too had been sent by God to meet with me on this secret date.
Like me, they were lightly dressed in jacket, slacks, and street shoes. We had not choice but to dress lightly, even in cold weather, for warm clothing was simply not obtainable.
Stefan was a mechanic. Josef was a salesman at a large store. Both had wives and families like me. They too had tried many ways to escape, but their struggles had come to nothing. As with Aurica and me, God had given them strong assurances that He would deliver them in His chosen way and time.
There was no indulging in small talk, as we began to pray soon after their arrival. We had prayed for about a half hour when God said we would have to start walking. Walk? That wasn't much guidance, but we all realized we must do as God said.
Stefan was a little uneasy as the time of our exodus drew near. He thought that he needed to return home first to talk to his wife, maybe he thought for the last time. But as we prayed about it his uneasiness was lifted, and he no longer felt the need for the trip home. Josef was more confident. "I need to go with you," he said to me.
We ate lunch to give our bodies the needed strength, but no one much noticed the food, we were so taken up with God's deliverance so close at hand. Aurica, pregnant with our seventh's child, Elijah Junior, moved about the tiny kitchen, setting things away. The children began coming home from school now. The reality of leaving them for an indefinite time struck us very hard. Aurica and I could not hold back our tears Then the children wanted to know why we were crying. Aurica told them I was going away. I had done so countless times in my line of work, so they thought it was because of that. "We'll be together soon," I assured them.
We prayed for the last time as a family in Timisoara. As we finished the last prayers, God clearly said, "I have sent angels, and I also send a Light before you." It was about 7:00 p.m. in the evening, beginning to grow dark. I hugged and kissed the children and Aurica for the last time. Somehow God gave us the strength to part. But God had so encouraged me in the spirit that I felt that I could fly over the border on wings on faith without my feet touching the ground!
Stefan, Josef, and I stepped out from the house. There in the street was the Light God had promised--the Light of Deliverance. A pillar, a column of intense, bluish-white light stood about ten meters away. It was indescribably beautiful, hovering a little above the ground, in height about seven feet tall. My breath was taken away by the sheer beauty and wonder of it.
The moment I saw it I heard the unmistakable voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd: "Fear not, My children, now is the time you have to leave. Follow the Light. Do not look left or right or back, just follow the Light. And go! Where the Light stops, you will stop and pray. Don't be afraid. I will be with you, and will guide you to the right place, and will give you the right direction."
Stefan could not see the Light of Deliverance, but Josef his friend saw it. That was enough for Stefan, however. We three set off into the dusk, following God's heavenly Light. We felt nothing but joy and peace. If anyone had cut my hand or even shot me, I do not think I would have felt a thing. With our spirits soaring so high, gliding like mighty eagles, we followed the supernatural light, which now left the road and crossed the field behind our house, heading straight across open country.
Afer a couple of hours the Light stopped in a big cornfield. We sang songs of praise and prayed. Rain began to fall, though until then the sky was cloudless and clear. We rejoiced when we saw that as an answer to prayer, as God pulled a curtain round about us of dark, thick rain. The rain fell heavier as we followed the Light toward the rendezvous with the KGB's hidden detection system protecting the approaches to the border. It was laid somewhere along the ground, invisible to the eye.
After a while, without any alarm being set off, the Light brought us safely to a field near the border. In the distance we could see a tall, intensely lighted watchtower. Every 500 meters was another such tower, we knew, with fences, soldiers and trained police dogs.
Despite the drenching rain, we felt no discomfort, only great joy in the Lord. The Light moved steadily toward the tower and we followed with rejoicing hearts. A soldier appeared on patrol, accompanied by a police dog. Despite the rain, we had no trouble seeing him in the strong border light that illuminated the entire field between the tower and us. The soldier and his dog were walking from the right of the tower to the left side (and would normally have no difficulty seeing us coming). I entertained no fear, for I kept my eyes on the Light ahead as it continued toward the tower. We followed, despite the soldier and dog coming closer and closer to us.
God had already brought us safely over the KGB detection wire. Thousands of others had not been so fortunate, setting off the alarm, bringing the soldiers with their rifles blazing. Stefan was looking at the soldier. He whispered in my ear, "Elijah, we are finished! They'll catch us!"
Somehow I kept my eyes on the beautiful Light which outshone the border light. We walked toward the tower. The soldier and dog moved away from us just as we came up to them. We then walked under the tower and still nothing happened to us, despite the guard standing watch just above us. Beyond the tower, we realized that we were now across the line into Yugoslavia, the doorstep of freedom for Romanian refugees.
God had done it! With our own eyes we had seen the impossible happening, the most stupendous event of our lives. Detection wire, tower light and guard, roving guard and dog--like Pharaoh they sank defeated into the waters of the Red Sea and could do us no longer any harm whatsoever! We were now in Yugoslavia, and all three of us had just seen God Almighty delivering us just like He had delivered Moses and the people of Israel with great signs and wonders. We were witnesses. We saw how he had taken control over the alarm system, the soldiers, the dog, over the very forces of nature--WE WERE FREE! Set free, I must tell everyone I meet, not by our own hand or sword, not even by luck. No, we walked across the Romanian border as if it had not been there and everything that could possibly have harmed us was completely neutralized. No human being could have done what we did and lived to tell about it. That feat took a God who does impossible things. And this indescribably awesome God was with us still, when we came to face many dangerous or impossible situations in Yugoslavia.