So Ordinary People Can Be
Empowered to do Extraordinary Things
Learning through a step by step walk-through of a real life account of a man and his wife in God’s spiritual School of Hard Knocks or “Adversity University” may be the way for you to revitalize your classes and also bring new life to your own teaching! Elijah and Aurica, despite their strange names, were an ordinary couple struggling to make a better life for themselves and their family, while serving God in the only way they could find was compatible with their faith and beliefs. Their problems mainly came from the hard line Stalinist-style Communist state and society in which they were forced to live--but this created the Impossibility, or Mountain--that God used to draw Elijah and Aurica close to Himself and His ways. Only through God and following His plan were they enabled and empowered to overcome the Impossible, the Mountain, in their path.
We all, in our daily lives as ordinary people, face the Impossible Thing, the Mt. Everest that blocks our path to progress and happiness. We all can learn from Elijah and Aurica’s true-life experiences how to overcome impossibilities. The mountain of impossibility they conquered was every bit as steep and dangerous as the Mt. Everest that Sir Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese porter climbed years ago. It is a sure thing that their experiences will teach us how we too can become mountain-conquering faith-champions, wherever God had chosen to plant us for His glory.
Another major hurdle for any presentation is simple identification. Can ordinary people identify or relate to the shining champions in the Bible account-- paragons such as Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Gideon, David, the Prophets, Daniel, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, the Apostles? Most people, we believe, find it very difficult to see how such champions of faith, who achieved such high regard in scripture, could really live on the same ordinary level of life as most of us face daily. This Empowerment Guide attempts and is designed to bring the level of the Scriptures down to ordinary life, where most people today live. It shows how God took two ordinary Romanian Christians built up them step by step progressively into mighty saints whose faith literally moved mountains of impossible circumstances out of their path. What God did for them He wants and intends to do for each of us!
This Empowerment Guide is valuable for Church Bible study groups, Bible classes, and Sunday School classes--Junior High, High School, Adult and Senior levels. Youth ministry messages, and sermons, can be drawn from these chapters, using the themes, questions and answers. Seminar and camp meeting speakers can also benefit by this Empowerment Guide, to draw needed examples and points for their presentations. Both the book and the guide build faith in a great delivering Almighty God who knows no restraints of denomination.
Scripture says, “Trials...have come so your faith may be proved genuine.”--I Peter 1:6-7. Not only can faith be proven genuine, but as evidenced in the account of Elijah and Aurica, faith can be built up to a point in otherwise ordinary individuals where God can use his earthly instruments in acts of great miracles and deliverance.
This Empowerment Guide does not promise that every reader will become an exact replica of Gideon, David, or Deborah--for the authors recognizes that every individual is unique in makeup and destiny--yet if our faith is built up, who knows what results will come of our efforts to believe God for greater things than we have known previously in our lives?
We more ordinary saints may, on entering heaven, be surprised when the Lord Jesus starts handing out crowns! Instead of watching others receive crowns for splendid performance as soldiers of Christ, what if instead the Lord Jesus presents each former student of this Faith-Champion training course a crown? It is possible Hebrews Chapter 11, continued anonymously in the Bible as it lists the heroes and heroines of faith, will be completed in heaven with our own names. Complete this course and apply its principles, and who knows what great things we will accomplish through God’s leading, grace and strength? With Almighty God all things are possible to them that believe! To God be the glory!
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. --Psalm 37:3-5
WHY ROMANIA PROVIDES A TEST CASE FOR OUR OWN SITUATIONS:
Finding a Way Where There Was No Way-- Elijah’s Escape to Freedom in 1974
Situation--why Elijah’s Plight was Naturally Impossible to Escape:
Romania has the opposite situation, geographically, from America. America has two wide protecting oceans on East and West, the Atlantic and Pacific. On the North and South, America has much weaker neighbors, Mexico is both much smaller and much less populated and presents no military threat. Canada is large, as large as America, but has a tiny population and also is no military threat except for the problem of terrorism and the loosely guarded border over which terrorists can pass. Romania, on the other hand, has one strip of seacoast in the East, but her other borders are in the North--traditionally, Russia, which is huge and has a much bigger population than Romania’s. To the South and East, for centuries, another Superpower has been Turkey, the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Both Powers sought to rule over Romania, and for most of Romania’s history they succeeded. The Roman Empire came first, before Russia and Turkey, and it also conquered and ruled over Romania and gave it the name Dacia. The Byzantine Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, ruled over Romania until the Middle Ages. After the Byzantines came the Ottoman Turks, whose control lasted until World War I. Also, to the west lay the Hungarians and Austrians, peoples that held great imperial power for centuries, right up to World War I, and Romania lost territory to them from time to time. So from the beginning Romania has known powerful, greedy, aggressive Superpowers that were in every military way superior and overwhelming to a smaller country. That there exists a Romania today is an amazing thing, and must be attributed to the preservation of Almighty God!
Come modern times, Russia was the leading part of the Soviet Union, which rolled its armies into Eastern Europe after World War II and then ruled them from Moscow with a system of puppet Soviet governments. Romania was now part of this vast Soviet Empire and was no longer free to operate as a sovereign nation. Though not Sovietized like many neighboring countries that bordered Russia, Turkey was reduced to a small nation, and had lost its Ottoman Turkish empire in World War I. Her standing army was big and supported by America, so she was still a threat on Romania’s southern and eastern flank with American spy and air bases built on Turkish soil and with her large, well-equipped army and air force (the author was based in the Air Force on one of the spy bases in 1967-68). The Cold War between East and West was on, with Romania between the jaws of the Soviet lions of Moscow until more powerful Romanian dictators succeeded in loosing its grip a bit. Directly south lay another Soviet country, Bulgaria. To the direct East lay Soviet Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia had Generalissimo Tito, a very strong and independent leader, and succeeded in pulling away somewhat from direct Moscow control. But Bulgaria remained hard “party-line,” Moscow-enslaved. Just because Romania was Communist, or Soviet, did not mean that Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were friends. Far from it!
Non-Slavic in race, Romanians did not look to Moscow, culturally, as Yugoslavia and Bulgaria did, for Romanians, by their very name, looked Westward to Italy and even France. They speak an Italian or Latin language which Italians can understand without difficulty. They look to the West, not the East and the North, as their neighbors do. Thus, Romania stood alone (except in sharing the Greek Orthodox faith with her Slavic neighbors of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, the Ukraine and Russia). Truly, Romania always found herself in the midst of unfriendly, even hostile lions, with herself as the prey of much more powerful foes.
Here the situation was impossible or hopeless too for Elijah. You could not walk out of Romania, or take a flight out, or drive out, not without close scrutiny and government permission. Romania’s Communist government held control of all communications, and monitored everything going on in the country through a huge spy network and secret service. Soviet Russian agents also were in the country (KGB). Everyone was closely watched. No one was free to drift around the country, for to move you had to register your request to move, plus the reason, and where you were going, and you had to secure permission from the authorities first. Few people possessed private transportation, or cars. You could not go anywhere except in public transportation, which was closely watched by police, both local and the secret service. If you did anything that brought suspicion about you, a file was set up at the office of local police, and the various secret service headquarters (KGB in tandem with the Romania secret service). You were more closely watched than before, and police would begin raids to seize evidence against you.
Once they had any evidence, you were in big trouble. You were then arrested, then beaten and interrogated until you signed a confession written up for you charging you will all kinds of crimes. It did not matter that you had committed none of the crimes, you were under suspicion of opposing the Communist government (just wanting to flee to a free country was opposing the Communist government as a rebel and traitor, in the government’s opinion!). To the government authorities, suspicion was enough reason for them to even execute you, but they had to have some bit of evidence to stand in court to back them up, just in case you had some friends abroad, and America or some other Western power heard about your execution and started pressuring the government about your case. Engaged in a relentless propaganda war with the West, Romania and the other Soviet states could not afford to suffer embarrassment before their capitalist enemies, and so some bit of court evidence was usually sought when they were moving to sentence and execute “enemies of the Socialist people” such as freedom-loving Elijah. No one really believed such lies, but the Communists found that by repeating them over and over they could get their way by wearing down the opposing truth.
How could such an oppressive system take hold in a formerly free, thriving country like Romania? Why didn’t the people rise up and throw it off immediately? Overrun by armies, exhausted by conflict, suffering from social turmoil within between factions in government, the divided nation fell prey to the powerful enemies of her freedom--the Communists. Occupied by Soviet armies, she had to toe the mark with Marxist ideology and Moscow-directed policy or suffer fierce reprisals. If you resisted and said anything against the dictatorship, you were arrested, sentenced, and shot. A lenient sentence was imprisonment in death labor camps where you were worked to death or caught some terrible disease from being malnourished and died without doctor’s care or any medicine, usually in terrible cold from having no shelter and adequate clothing and shoes.
To make this brutal system of oppression work, the Soviet rulers of Moscow who had enslaved not only Russia but many neighboring countries in Asia and Europe, the so-called satellites, had to milk each satellite nation for all the resources and money available. Socialism did not work economically, but by “milking” or taking everything they could from the weaker, helpless satellites Moscow gained the needed money to carry on its programs of global espionage and the arms race with the West. It did not matter to Moscow that these nations were impoverished and the people lived in grinding poverty. They were told they had never had it better (and people were imprisoned and tortured if they contradicted this Communist Party lie). Is it any wonder that most people soon learned to keep their mouths shut and try just to survive day to day rather than resist? Yet not all the people “went with the Red Tide,” there were some that could not compromise everything. Such a one was Elijah.
What things did Elijah do that brought government suspicion?
1. (Answer: Smuggle Bibles across the Romania border to Soviet Moldavia/Russia)
2. (Answer: Conduct secret Christian services in underground churches)
3. (Answer: Hide Bibles in his own home, to transport them later to Moldavian Christians)
4. (Answer: He was a homeowner, without apparent income to explain why he could afford to build and own his own house)
5. (Answer: He owned a Moskovitz, a small Russian-built automobile, as private transportation, so he could travel relative free and unobserved except at checkpoints or when police pulled him over to check his papers)
6. (Answer: Elijah was the son of a former rich landowner and lumber mill owner, and so his class was wrong or politically incorrect in a supposedly Socialist worker’s society where no rich classes were permitted)
7. (Answer: Elijah’s mother was Jewish, another politically incorrect thing to be. Jews had been protected in Romania at times, but they also had been severely restricted and persecuted to the death at other times. Since Jews were known to revere God, they were, thus, viewed with suspicion, since the regime was atheistic, being Soviet and Marxist in ideology)
8. (Answer: Elijah was Romanian; therefore, a suspicious character. This seems absurd, except that ALL Romanians were viewed with suspicion by the government of Romania, simply because the people were not trusted not to rebel against the government’s harsh policies and rigid police state control. The country had known much better conditions before Communism, and so the government was hard-pressed to explain the decline economically in the country, and really couldn’t explain it to the people, many of whom were old enough to remember the better times before the Soviet takeover. The terrible exploitation of Romania’s rich resources for the benefit of Moscow’s rulers, this too could not be explained away. People could see with their eyes how their once rich country was being impoverished for the sake of Russia, as Romania chrome, uranium, oil, food, and other resources, were shipped out of the country day after day, while at home Romanians had to go without even basic necessities.) The entire country was stripped to the bone, and yet Romanians were ordered to go on producing anyway, without gaining any real benefit for all their hard work and sacrifice.
How About You? Questions for the Empowerment Guide/ Faith Champion-Trainees:
1. What situations can you name in your lives that are ALSO impossible in like degree, if not like circumstance as in Elijah’s case in Romania? Most all people sooner or later face financial crisis, marriage stresses, family break-down, sometimes divorce, severe illness, terminal illness in family or parents, drug addiction, problems with pornography, violence, abuse, or sheer loneliness that can drive individuals to thoughts of suicide, or even to the act itself. The problems of the human condition can hardly be numbered, and they can each be devastating to a person involved.
2. What can be done? What has been done, but it hasn’t worked?
Well, hang on! There’s hope, and a Way where there seems to be no way... ELIJAH’S EXPERIENCE PROVES THERE IS A WAY OUT FOR ALL OF US!
NOW LET’S BEGIN!
This is, after all, a learning experience for everyone, including the guide’s author. Some resource books that can be very helpful are a concordance, a Bible commentary, and a songbook (you may want to sing some victory songs or songs of encouragement along with the class!). A map is provided in the Guidebook, but you may want to look at a larger map in an atlas, to see exactly how Romania fits into the layout of the major continents. You should be able to easily tell how strategic a landbridge this country is, and also how vulnerable it is to attack from larger nations.
1. How was Roman left defenseless by nature, and wide open to invading armies?
2. How long did geography shape Romania’s history?
3. Romania was rich in resources. What were some?
4. Some very powerful foes of Romania were (name at least four).
5. Elijah’s home province was...
6. Elijah’s home was poor, middle-class, or wealthy? His mother was (race).
7. Tragedy struck Elijah’s parents--what happened to the father?
8. Tragedy struck the surviving family in what national event?
9. To what village did Elijah’s mother flee with the family?
10. What few things did she take with her (three things)?
11. What happened to people who hid treasures in the ground to protect them, and later returned to get them?
12. Before the troubles really began, what event in the family affected and changed Elijah’s mother dramatically?
13. Was Elijah’s parents and family believers in Jesus before the miracle?
14. What was Elijah’s father’s opinion of the mother when she was healed and began speaking in heavenly tongues?
15. What evidence was there in the healing of the involvement of the Holy Spirit?
16. What result did the healing have among the family’s friends and community?
17. What was Elijah’s father’s life-changing response?
18. What happened to the evangelical believers in Jesus shortly after the healing?
19. How as Elijah’s family involved in the persecution? What happened to an uncle?
20. Elijah was born in 1940, the year the _____________ of evangelical believers ended abruptly and miraculously. Who were the strange instruments, the ironic means God used to end the persecution?
Discussion Groups: Cruden’s Concordance gives the Names and Titles of Christ at the back, on page 344-346. Individually or together select the names and titles that are most appropriate to helping anyone who finds herself or himself in a situation like Romania’s. You will see how meaningful the names and titles of the Lord actually become, when given a real situation like the one that faced Romania and Elijah. A second
Discussion, Chapter 1--Cont.
An Exercise can be to select Bible verses that speak of tribulation, facing powerful enemies, and forgiveness for the wrongs done, such as: John 16:33, Mark 11: 25-26, Matt. 5:43-48. These scriptures are there for us in times of emergency and crisis.
Thirdly, any of the questions can be discussed and commented on, in whatever order seems best. Take notes and write down the one or two things you learned from this chapter in regard to facing a lion head-on and coming out uneaten. Despite the danger and the destruction of the times, what one thing remained constant and helped people get through the bad times described int his chapter? Maybe there was more than one. What were those things that “stopped” the mouths of lions so that the people described were not all devoured? Let us also not minimize the fact that God also stepped in with a strange but marvelous deliverance from a brutal religious persecution, using a most unusual means.
1. What powerful Western nation held Romania captive until the Soviet Russian armies “liberated” the country and took it captive?
2. What empires had previously attacked and enslaved Romania?
3. Surprisingly, the end of World War I resulted in what good thing for Romania?
4. In Dornesti, what neighborhood event changed Elijah’s life forever?
5. Was Elijah the only witness of the event?
6. Who wasn’t changed?
7. How did Elijah know that the neighbors weren’t really Christians? (Hint: he had a true comparison to judge by, close at hand. Who was that comparison?)
8. What specific thing in the healing miracle swung Elijah to a saving knowledge of Grace to be found and taken by believing in Christ?
9. What life change happened to Elijah’s brother in consequence?
10. What three actions did Elijah take right after finding faith in Jesus Christ as Savior?
11. What was young Elijah’s response to the loss of the family fortune and their fall into poverty?
12. Did the young Elijah suffer persecution for his new faith? What incident occurred, in which he was treated unfairly because he did not join the Young Communist youth organization?
Individual study or by group: Another exercise can be to select out more names and titles of Christ from Cruden’s Concordance that enhance or describe the things and events in this chapter. Scriptures can be selected as well that speak of what young Elijah experienced and how he reacted to his hardships as well as outright persecution.
Notes_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Scriptures that anchor the troubled or persecution-afflicted soul to God:
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________
1. When was the last Romanian king over a free Romania deposed and self-rule crushed? By what power? 2. What two main things did the Communists do to reorganize and enslave Romanian society? 3. What occupation did the boy Elijah first learn to earn something to help his family? 4. Herding sheep is an ancient occupation in the Bible; what main people in the Bible did Elijah share this experience with? Name two. 5. What was Jacob’s experience with God in the wilderness? Why was he in the wilderness? 6. What did Jacob name the place where God came to him in his distress? What does the name mean? Strategy: Faith Champion-Trainees: Step back from the questions for a moment, and think about young Elijah. Here was this lonely, fatherless sixteen-year-old out in the countryside herding a flock of sheep, just to earn a few pennies to help his mother and family, and what could he be thinking about day after day? He had learned from his own study of the Bible about God and how God delivered his people in the past. But could he imagine the great troubles ahead for himself, or foresee the great events of his own personal deliverance from Romania in the future? Probably not. He saw sheep, he saw grass, he saw the needs of his family that he could not possibly meet with this small an income. Yet he knew in his heart now that God was with him, just as He had declared to Jacob that He was with him in the wilderness with Esau hunting for him to kill him. No doubt Elijah thought not only about how God blessed Jacob and ultimately delivered him from Esau, but also how God delivered Isaac, Jacob’s father, from the Philistines who were out to take every well that Isaac dug to water his sheep and flocks. Also in the Genesis account, what about Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph? He was thrown in a pit to die by his own brothers! Then they sold him to passing traders and they in turn sold him to Potiphar as a slave in Egypt. Nevertheless, he aimed to please by good work and good attitude, and he did very well in the house of Potiphar serving him, but for all his good work he was falsely accused and then thrown into prison, where he was thrice condemned: once as a foreign Hebrew, second as a slave, and thirdly as a criminal who had reputedly assaulted his master’s wife! What hope did Joseph have in God? Yet he had hope, and his hope and faith were ultimately rewarded. God delivered His sons from oppressors and persecutors--that was clearly the case with many such in the Bible. Would God now in oppressed Romania, could God, do the same for young Elijah? Surely, this too, must have crossed his mind out in the Romanian fields in the plenty of time he had to think and meditate on the things of God. 7. Is the God of Bethel, Jacob’s delivering Almighty God, alive today? How can we know that personally? Can he still hear a despairing cry for help in distress? 8. What event in the young shepherd’s life proved that the God of Jacob and Bethel could personally intervene for Elijah and had heard his prayers? 9. What message of hope did the angel bring to Elijah? 10. How did Elijah respond. Did he understand the message completely? 11. What else did the angel say? 12. Did Elijah continue in the same way as in the past? 13. Did God give him anything more? 14. What was the chief thing that God gave the teenaged Elijah that would help and stand by him in all the dark spots on the road ahead? Notes_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ For Group Discussion, or Individual Study and Meditation: What scriptures can apply to these situations and incidents? Also, what wonderful names and titles of Christ apply? Suggested prayer might be to pray with these titles and scriptures in mind as you pray for your own situation to a delivering God that has not changed from the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph! Scripture Promises for barrenness, for healing and even driving back death: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\BOOKS.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT From Cruden’s Concordance, Names and Titles of Christ Dealing with Resurrection and Healing: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAPTER FOUR, “The Little Lamb” 1. After herding sheep, teenaged Elijah changed to a job at a ____________ factory. 2. Can you guess where the clothing went? The shirts were made not for local consumption in Romania. Hard currency was sought by the government. What was wrong with this? 3. When he came home from work from the second shift (swingshift), late at night, what did he find was wrong, terribly wrong? 4. He started to run for help, but what stopped him? 5. What happened when he prayed as instructed? 6. What had been his mother’s health problem? 7. What effects did the miracle have all around? 8. Besides the healing, what happened to his mother while she was dead? 9. The healing was temporary, she continued to experience heart trouble afterwards. T or F 10. What effect did the healing have on Elijah? 11. In 1959, when Elijah was 19, what did a “woman of God” declare to him? 12. Elijah believe the woman of God. T or F 13. In building Elijah’s faith to prepare him for the eventual escape, God had to allow _________times and ___________ experiences (see Text) 14. What things in particular did God use? 15. Through __________ and ____________ how to trust God Elijah was ultimately prepared for God’s great deliverance from Romania (see Text) 16. What Bible heroes did Elijah read about? Name several. 17. Case of a Romanian woman who learned to trust God in an impossible situation: Pania. What was her impossibility? 18. Pania asked whom to pray for her? 19. What did Elijah see in a vision concerning Pania? 20. Medically, both conceiving and bearing children was impossible for Pania, yet she believed the vision. What happened? 21. The “Little Lamb” Elijah foresaw in a vision--where is she now, and what is she doing? Chapter 4-cont. Discussion or Individual Study: This chapter deals with two major miracles, the raising back to life of Elijah’s mother after she had died, and the miracle of a child’s birth to a Romanian woman who, medically, could not even conceive, much less bear a child. What famous incidents in both Old and New Testaments depict God or the Lord Jesus raising the dead? What famous incidents in Genesis and in Judges in the Old Testament and in the Gospels in the New Testament show God as able and willing to give children to barren or infertile women? If God could do it under the Old Covenant, how much more would He be willing to do it under the New? If God was merciful under the law, how much more merciful can He act toward us under grace? These incidents and issues can be discussed. Secondly, for discussion, are there scriptures that say that we can expect even more than they could expect in Old Testament times? What are they? Hint: St. Paul speaks of this greater dispensation of God’s blessings. Finally, have you experienced anything like these particular miracles, or heard of ones that have occurred in the lives of people you know or know about? INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\PHARMACY.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\MEDSTAFF.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT A mouse was to an American car what a Russian Moskovitz was to an: INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\ELEPHANT.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT CHAPTER FIVE, “A Second of Heaven” 1. Why did young Elijah need to travel long distances? 2. What kind of cheap transportation was available to him but of no real use? 3. How did he improve himself as a worker? 4. What trade did he change to that later greatly aided him in gaining a home? 5. What motorized transportation did he finally obtain? 6. To reach Russian-occupied areas of Romania across the Soviet border, what did he need? 7. Cars were easy to come by as a worker in Romania. T or F 8. With God’s help, what did Elijah buy? 9. An angel came to Elijah in what year? 10. Why did the angel come? 11. What did Elijah see in heaven? 12. What people from the Bible in particular did Elijah recognize? 13. What was their height? 14. What was their apparent age? 15. How did Elijah communicate with the saints in heaven? 16. The tour of heaven over, Elijah was returned home to the bedroom, where he wept. Why? 17. Why did God take Elijah to heaven? What really did he want to show Elijah by this experience? (Be careful: the answer is not what you might imagine, to impress Elijah or give him a “wonderful” tour of Paradise because he deserved it!) 18. What effect did the social legalism of rewards and punishments inflicted by Communist quota systems on a whole nation have on the Christians? 19. The lesson about God’s grace--did Elijah learn it completely in 1963? 20. Years later, having trouble with a wayward son, Elijah received a message from the Lord. What was it? 21. What was the result of Elijah obeying the Lord and dropping his self-righteous treatment and attitude toward his son? Notes:________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ Discussion or Individuals: Grace or legalistic religion: It was the biggest issue apparently, in the Apostle Paul’s time, and it continued to be a thorn in the side of Christians ever since. What scriptures in Galatians from other Pauline epistles deal with the issue, and what can we learn from them to help us avoid the pitfalls of legalism today? How can we know and live in the wonderful, blood-bought liberty that Christ awarded us when we believed in Him as Savior and Lord who paid the full penalty for all our sin on the Cross? Why do we so often lose that wonderful liberty or give it up to become snared in bondage to men and various rules and traditions? Once freed, why would anyone re-enter Discussion, Chapter 5-cont. slavery, yet, religiously, it happens all the time! Are we free or enslaved? We need to know the difference as Christians, do we not? What scriptures can we claim in behalf of freedom and liberty, and what names and titles of Christ apply? Scriptures for Liberty in Christ:___________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ Names and Titles of Christ our Liberator from the Law, Sin, Death, Condemnation, and the Power of the Devil: _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________ If angels are chosen as the topic, what experiences of good angels (God’s true messengers from heaven to earth) have you experienced or heard about? What scriptures refer to these heavenly beings? Should we believe every angel? Are all angels good? CHAPTER SIX, “The Iron Collar” 1. Elijah and Joseph in the Bible held the same occupation. T or F 2. How old was Joseph when he was torn from his family and sold as a slave into Egypt? 3. Joseph dreamed what glorious dream twice? Why wasn’t it considered so glorious to his family? 4. Before he could be appointed prime minister of Egypt and be re-united with his father and family, what had to first happen? 5. What connection is there between Romanians and Joseph’s case? 6. How are Romanians different from Joseph? 7. What major lunatic communist project did Elijah escape, that resulted in a fiasco that took thousands of lives, all dying for nothing but the crazy schemes of powerful men? 8. What kind of labor was used primarily? 9. Why was the canal so important to the Soviets that they ignored their own engineers’ expert warnings? 10. Years later, after Elijah’s deliverance from Romania, he met Johannes, a modern __________. 11. Johannes was a banker with a dream. What was it? 12. How long did it take for Joseph in the Bible to see his dream fulfilled? How long did it take for Johannes for his dream to become reality? 13. What was the “house” that Elijah saw in a vision and later as a reality? INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\REALEST.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Chapter 6-Cont. Strategy: Faith Champion-Trainees: Pondering the Discipline of Waiting on God What other people in the Bible waited a long time? How long did Moses wait in the wilderness of Midian? Did St. Paul wait (after witnessing soon after his conversion and getting himself in trouble for it, so that other Christians were affected adversely) and only after years did he begin to share with the world his great revelations about the grace of God? Was Jesus a preacher in his childhood and youth, or did he wait quite a few years until he was thirty before he began his public ministry? What happens while the waiting goes on? Does the person waiting on God do nothing? And by waiting, what is God building, bit by bit, step by step? Discussion Groups or Individuals: What scriptures can apply here concerning not only waiting but believing in God’s faithfulness? What did Joseph testify concerning his own calamities and trials, most of them brought on him by his own brothers? What did he say was the purpose of it all? Are we just undergoing problems and trials for nothing? Can we possibly gain gold from them instead of, afterwards, “Whew! Glad that’s over!” Can we be underestimating God’s purpose for the hard things we experience in life--and even be insulting Him when we treat our worst experiences so “lightly” as to suppose they really mean nothing at all in His plans for us? What scriptures say that God uses these experiences and they are intended for good? Discuss these scriptures, write them down where they can be read time after time, and kept in sight until God’s meaning comes clear or we fully understand why such terrible things have happened to us. There is a meaning to them! We must only open our eyes to see it. No doubt the mouths of Joseph’s brothers dropped open when he revealed to them God’s purpose in allowing them to mistreat him and sell him into slavery! No doubt they had not seen God’s purpose before, or even suspected it! But Joseph, who had leaned on God and His faithfulness, was open to God’s purpose, and eventually it was revealed to him. He did not have to go to his grave wondering WHY? WHY ME? WHY DID GOD LET IT HAPPEN? and, worse, feeling sorry for himself. What he had undergone turned out to great good for other people and in the process he was also lifted high up in society and blessed with high honor, exalted position, riches, and a wife and children, not to mention the reunion with his beloved father Jacob. What incidents of yours compares, or what people do you know who have waited on God and counted on His faithful intervention in their lives, and been rewarded for their faith? Share such incidents and accounts, or remember for yourself how faithful God has been already in your life in the past. Has He changed? Or have you moved? _________________________________ Scripture (what Joseph told his brothers, found in Genesis): __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Scripture promises ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Scriptures, Chapter 6-Cont. Scriptures that tell about waiting on God: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________ INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\SPRING.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT CHAPTER SEVEN, “Isaac and Rebecca” 1. Who was Elijah named after, and why? Then, why was Isaac in the Bible a less exciting character but just as significant? 2. Though Isaac did nothing spectacular, why is he a most spiritual man and example? 3. As a youth, what had Isaac’s father Abraham been told to do with him? 4. When Isaac was a grown man, what was he waiting for? 5. The woman that God gave Isaac, who was she? 6. How did Isaac learn about God if there was no written Bible, no Bible College, no theologians, and creeds, and Christian books and Christian TV channels? 7. Elijah, too, when he was married and was smuggling Bibles to Christians in occupied Romania, he had to learn rest in God too. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is a song that speaks of rest in God. What other songs speak of rest in God? 8. Suspecting that they were Bible smugglers, what did the authorities do to Elijah and his wife? 9. Careful as Elijah was, they were caught red-handed once with Bibles in plain sight. What did Elijah and Aurica do, and what happened? 10. How did the police miss seeing the Bibles? 11. What did Elijah and Aurica show by their response to the life-threatening situation? 12. What was the divine message to the young bachelor, Elijah? 13. There was more--a vision. What did Sister Maria see in store for Elijah’s life? 14. What was Elijah’s response? 15. On his trip to SE Romania, what city unknown to him did he visit? 16. Who gave him directions on what to do in entering the strange city? 17. What did he first do there, following the directions? 18. Elijah gave some candy to children who came and admired his motorcycle, and he asked them if they knew any ____________. 19. The children, won over by his friendliness, directed him to a particular house, but warned him of what? 20. Though Elijah laughed, the dog came running just as the children said, but it must have taken him for a ______________, for it let him alone. Who was living in the house? 21. What had Pastor Zadok been praying for? 22. Realizing the meeting was heaven-arranged, Elijah remained, speaking and sharing the visions that God gave him there. A mighty work of God was done. But who gave Elijah an almost exact replica of Sister Maria’s word to him? 23. Come time to leave, Elijah continued on from Cluj. God directed him again to do what? 24. Elijah waited for something to happen. A man came and what did he turn out to be? 25. Again, Elijah ministered to another secret underground church, and on departing yet another word from God was given him. What was it? 26. Elijah left this unnamed city and reached Timisoara, and God directed him again where? 27. Whom did Elijah meet there first? 28. Elijah stayed with his uncle several days, and attended underground church meetings in his uncle’s home. Elijah ministered to the people. At the meeting a man approached him with a word from God. What was it? 29. Was Elijah willing to be married? 30. But the man of God gave him a sign that God would show him the girl that would be his future pride. What was it? 31. Who was the person Elijah and his uncle met on going to visit the uncle’s pastor friend? What was she doing? What did she say? 32. What was the uncle’s response? Why? 33. What else did she say to Elijah? 34. What was Elijah’s response to her words? 35. What was her name, and who was she? 36. What did she tell him about herself? 37. What was Elijah’s response to her words? 38. What did he decide? 39. How soon were they married from the time of their first meeting? 40. What was the pastor preaching on in a service when the bridal party came to be married? Notes: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Strategy for Faith-Champion Trainees: Since this is a big and, romantically, a very juicy chapter, perhaps it should be split into two or more parts for easy training. It deals, however, with one very big important issue and institutuon--marriage, and Almighty God’s hand in it. Can God be a match-maker? Since he is God, then he can make no mistake, right? Think about it. Formerly, in traditional society marriages were arranged by parents, who, presumably, possessed more wisdom and experience then the young folks they were managing. They, not the young people in their charge, made the decision they thought best for them and their respective families. Romantic love was not ruled out, but young lovers did not get married on that basis alone. It could happen that the newlyweds had never seen each other until the knot was tied at the wedding ceremony! No doubt, Mary and Joseph were brought together in a traditional way, bethrothed to each other by the parents, though they probably knew each other growing up in the small town society of Nazareth in Galilee. Did the parents ask God about the match? Perhaps, they did in this case, since Mary and Joseph were so suited to each other, despite the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit that was initially so hard for Joseph to comprehend (it took an angel speaking to him in a dream to convince him not to put Mary away). But God has been a match-maker, beyond any of the kind in humanity! He brought together Adam and Eve, to start everything off. They were, as we know, a perfect match. God continued in this role throughout the Old Testament. How about now? Has God dropped out the match-making role? Do you know of any couple whose marriage was “made in heaven”? Aurica and Elijah’s marriage definitely fits that category, wouldn’t you agree? How about your own marriage, if you are married? Can you see God’s hand in it too? What if some things go wrong in the marriage, or have already done so, does that mean God’s hand wasn’t really in it? What examples can you find in the Bible that show that God’s people must deal with marital problems of all kinds? What couple portrayed in the Bible did not have problems? Can you name one (starting after the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin!)? Couples in the Bible that had no problems in their marriages: __________________________________ (?) Couples that did: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ By now you get the point! No marriage is immune from problems; the only question is whether the couple submits their problem to the Lord for help and guidance. Notes:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Discussion for Faith-Champion Trainees: Also Some Strategy to Ponder Regarding the Following Chapter Too: It will come as a distinct chill to turn from the pretty bridal flowers and reception and the joyous homemaking of the newlyweds of the previous chapter to the courtroom and the judge of Chapter Seven, especially when they are as hostile as the Communist ones Aurica and Elijah had to face. Though innocent, in the sense they were exercising rights that God had given his children, they were charged as malefactors and viewed with dire suspicion, liable to lose everything, perhaps even their lives, if the government proceeded against them to the full extent of the law! What could they do against the mighty government with all its powers to judge and sentence and punish? Think about their situation, and how Christians might face, and, indeed, are facing similar tests of faith today in many countries. There are even instances of religious suppression you can identify in our own society, which Discussion/Strategy for Chapters 6-7-Cont. is carried on in the name of freedom of choice and tolerance of other people’s beliefs. We live in strange times in our society, indeed! Perhaps, now we can understand a little of what Aurica and Elijah experienced. But the Communist judges and courts were perhaps more thorough-going in their atheism, since our nation is only committed as yet to Secularist thought that teaches that religion has no place in public places, whereas Communist ideology held that religion had no place in both public and private spheres. As a society we seem to be moving closer to the Communist position, but we are not there yet, thank God! Scriptures that assure Christians that the Holy Spirit will give them the words to say to their accusers and the judge when they are hauled before a court for the taking a stand for the Lord: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ How did the Apostle Peter respond to the charges against him, saying he had broken the law by preaching about Christ publicly? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAPTER EIGHT, “Before the Council” 1. Elijah and Aurica honeymooned in beautiful Timisoara, but later moved to Dornesti to begin a new life together. What word from God did they receive in Timisoara? 2. Where did the young couple live after moving to Dornesti? 3. How many children did God say to Aurica she would have? 4. What were some of Aurica’s spiritual gifts? 5. While living with Elijah’s mother, they worked building a simple cement and stucco cottage. Elijah’s trade as ___________ came in handy, but they really built the house on ____________ as a foundation. 6. The fact the house for low-paid workers in Romania was impossible, unaffordable on his wages, got them into trouble with the _____________. 7. It took them __________ years to complete the cottage, working on it as God supplied materials and funds. 8. They lived in the cottage two years after completing it, and then God told them to move to _____________. 9. Why did God direct them to move back? 10. What was the purpose of building the house, a long five-year effort? 11. Evangelical believers following a personal Savior differed from ___________ % of the Romanians in what way? 12. The Romanian government exercised control over churches and religion, requiring that all churches be _____________. 13. Registration entailed government scrutiny and supervision, to insure that __________ and ___________ did not take place. 14. Because the government resorted to mass imprisonment and execution, most Christians complied with government restrictions on religious observance. T or F 15. But for Aurica and Elijah, the only way to follow the Lord freely was to be part of the _____________ church. 16. To be caught attending an unregistered, underground church meant, at the least, ______________. 17. Because the fines were impossible to pay, being set so high, next came ________. 18. If you were caught three times at a secret church meeting, you were sent to prison. T or F 19. Once you were sentenced to prison, you could face three things happening to you? What were they? 20. Only adults faced persecution for their faith in Romania. T or F 21. What verse did the boy quote when a teacher challenged him, saying that no one could see God? 22. A word from God came to Aurica and Elijah. It told them three things would happen. What were they? 23. Aurica did not feel peace when she heard Elijah was going alone. An event happened that further disturbed her. What was it? 24. Why was it vital that Aurica and Elijah be united in his going without her? 25. How did God bring too minds to agreement on God’s plan? 26. The first dream about the river showed Aurica what? 27. The second dream showed Elijah crossing the river in a boat pulled by __________. 28. Though there were guards and dogs pictured in the vision, standing on the shore where Elijah landed, did he escape detection? 29. Aurica understood that the river in both dreams represented the _________. 30. Meanwhile, until the escape, Elijah continued to work as a ____________ for the government, and smuggled more ___________ to Christians in Soviet- occupied territories. 31. The KGB considered Bibles as dangerous and powerful as what? 32. Romania had easier access to Bibles, but Soviet Christians across the Romanian borders to the north did not. What happened to smugglers of Bibles if caught? 33. What new form of persecution fell upon Elijah and Aurica? 34. Since the government case was considered open and shut against them, what penalties did people say Elijah and Aurica would automatically suffer? 35. In the first trial the prosecutor subtracted how much it would cost them to live on Elijah’s salary. The remainder was insufficient to build a house. Yet Elijah replied, “________________________.” 36. The government assessed the house at 200,000 lei, but Elijah told the judge the house really cost only 50,000 lei because who had helped them? And so his only expense was materials. 37. What amount was the government intending to fine them? 38. Since the charges could not be supported, the judge had to let them go. A higher court decided a mistake had been made, and for Aurica and Elijah God supplied a lawyer with the heart of a ___________. 39. What did the courageous lawyer do to prove the government charges were baseless? 40. What was the lawyer’s counter-charge to the government? 41. The judge and prosecutor were struck speechless. Not a shred of the government’s case stood against Elijah’s public record. So the judge ruled what? 42. Nobody before had beaten the government in court, a thing that was impossible. Yet it happened because God used it to ________________? 43. People had said that Aurica and Elijah’s case was hopeless, but what had Elijah replied? 44. People, even after the victory, did not credit God, and said what? 45. What did Elijah reply to him, since he knew they were dead wrong about him? 46. What Bible verse beautifully describes Elijah and Aurica’s experience at the court trials? Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAPTER NINE, “Can You Help Us?” 1. What was the surprise raid for evidence and confiscation of property called in Romania? 2. Who alerted Elijah before one of these raids? 3. After the trials, the Dornesti mayor became a ___________ and was ___________. 4. As part of the raid and search, the police were supposed to seize Elijah’s car and he would never see it again. They called this seizure a special term. What was it? 5. The raid came that the mayor warned Elijah about, but they left without “sealing” the car. What did God do to them? 6. What did God tell Elijah to do with the car? 7. Elijah set out, though it was a long, dangerous trip. The police were quick to return to his house to seal the car they had “forgotten” somehow. Where did Aurica direct them to look for her husband? 8. Where did the factory supervisor at the plant where Elijah worked direct the police next? 9. Elijah, on the road in the high Alps of Transylvannia, cried out to the Lord. Why was he so concerned? 10. Driving in the opposite direction from Dornesti, his use of a car was criminal in the eyes of the police. Was he trying to escape from the country? they would think. Or hide the car from the authorities? Elijah was in big trouble, since he had no _______________ to be on the road. 11. Elijah was surprised to find whom in his car, come to support him with their encouragement? 12. The visitors had a message for him--what? 13. After the visitors vanished, Elijah pulled over, and when he could proceed again, he picked up two ___________. God had told him they were Christians and to pick them up. They could have been KGB agents. 14. What did Elijah tell the couple? 15. Nearing the large city of Brasov, he saw police up ahead, and they pulled him over with a strange request. What was it? 16. What did the chief sergeant want him to do after he noticed Elijah’s dashboard picture of Jesus the Good Shepherd? 17. Forewarned and assured by God, Elijah agreed to assist the police as he drove the big man to Brasov to the main headquarters of the police. Meanwhile, the man looked at the picture of Jesus on the dashboard, and what was his response? 18. Elijah also talked to the man as they drove along, the police sergeant sitting in back with a cocked gun, ready to shoot the man. But when they reached the station, the man said to the police waiting for him: “__________________________.” 19. In gratitude, the police gave Elijah what? 20. In the morning, after reaching Timisoara safely, what did Elijah do? 21. After a quick sale, Elijah gave the money to a relative to keep for him, and returned to Dornesti. The police were furious, and what did they do to him? 22. Unable to punish Elijah, what did they do to one of their own company? Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Group Discussion or Individual Study: How does God, within the oppressive society, work his will despite all the government and authorities try to do against Christians? Doesn’t this afford us much hope even here in America? What if America should come down on all religious expression and religious liberty--we still have a God who delivers and will act to defend and aid us. Such is the lesson to be gained from the experiences of Aurica and Elijah. What scriptures speak of God’s power and help when all the forces of man are arrayed against those who love God and believe in Him? Again, what names and titles of Christ from Crudens speak eloquently of God acting in His capacity of Protector and Helper of His children? What songs also speak of the Lord in this way? Martin Luther, who withstood the might and power of a persecuting, worldly church allied with state power, penned “A Mighty Fortress is Our God!” Someday soon this mighty hymn will speak to us as it once spoke to him and his generation of Christian believers. Scripture Promises of Protection: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Names and Titles of Christ, Our Fortress, Rock, Refuge, and Tower: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAPTER TEN, “Under Arrest” 1. Who were always arresting Elijah (name three groups)? 2. What two things did they do to him each time? 3. God healed Elijah of muscle __________ after clubbing by the police. 4. Aurica and Elijah with two of the children took a summer vacation. What did God tell Elijah while they were away? 5. What did God promise He would put in Elijah’s mouth? 6. Returned home, Elijah was again arrested. For what “crime”? 7. What other thing did God show Elijah while he was vacationing? 8. The strong case against Elijah went wrong from the start. All the witnesses called by the government against Elijah refused to testify what? 9. The witnesses also said what about Elijah? 10. Everyone’s testimony, including Elijah’s, proved consistent, yet the police remained confident they had their man because of a prime witness held back for the last. Who was he? 11. What other crimes besides Bible smuggling did the police accuse Elijah of committing? 12. What “choice” did the police present to Elijah? 13. How did Elijah respond to this “choice”? 14. Elijah’s remark to his captors was true, but the police were infuriated and beat him. What did God do for Elijah? 15. John, the prime witness, couldn’t remember his previous replies to questions during interrogation, so his testimony was always breaking down, and he was changing it. They then put him in with Elijah, with the intent to achieve what? 16. What three things were Elijah and John told to discuss? 17. With an electronic bug under the table at which Elijah and John sat, the police were confident that this would happen--what was it? 18. What did John say first to Elijah? 19. How did Elijah respond, and what did he say in return? 20. How did John react to Elijah’s challenge? 21. What did Elijah say to the astonished police when John couldn’t stop laughing in his presence? 22. John was dragged to the prison psychologist, who declared him __________________. 23. Just the sight of Elijah caused John to laugh uncontrollably. T or F 24. The police would have killed them both, if they had possessed one shred of evidence, but they were forced to let them go. This happened in _________(year). 25. In 1972, Elijah set out to visit the Romanian city of ____________ across the Romanian-USSR border, where he had many Christian relatives and friends. 26 Visiting an underground church, the _________ raided the house of the meeting where a _____________ stood in plain view by the door. 27. How many people were present? 28. Did the secret police experts see the box by the door? Yes or No. 29. Though the KGB failed to find the Bibles, blinded by God obviously, they arrested Elijah and held him for three weeks. What did they do to him--three things? 30. Who gave Elijah what to say to the KGB interrogators? 31. Before he was set free for lack of evidence, Elijah asked God for what? 32. Was Elijah set free on the date God told him? Yes or No 33. Returning to Romania, he was re-arrested by Romanian police, but after trying the old tactics they too let him go. What was his family doing as he reached the house? 34. What had a policeman told the family about him? 35. No one dared to answer the door at first when he knocked. It was just like in the Bible when the Apostle _______ was released from prison by angels, and no one would believe it was really him at the door. 36. In yet another imprisonment, Elijah was being dragged down a corridor by guards when an angel in ______________ commanded the guards to release him, and they obeyed. Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Discussion and Individual Study: Discussion on the major points, or any questions that individuals may raise. Read Psalm 91, as well as other psalms and scriptures that speak in the same vein. God did not shield Elijah, however, as Psalm 91 seems to promise. God did preserve his life, and even gave him the strength he needed to endure the terrible clubbings. But when things got too dangerous for him, God sent his angelic shield, an angel that appeared like General Patton to the Romanian guards in the prison, and they followed his orders and released Elijah! What a miracle! What a powerful, protecting God we have! God did this for Elijah while allowing the imprisonments and even the torture sessions. Why? God did not spare His Son the Cross either, though Peter the disciple, mistaking the Lord’s whole reason for coming as the Son of Man and the Lamb of God, would have spared the Lord the Cross’s ordeal of shame, suffering, and death. We may not understand the value God places on suffering and even the shedding of innocent blood, but He places a great value there, nevertheless. The Bible says that the death of His saints is precious in the eyes of the Lord. Their deaths deeply concern him; He marks the fall of a sparrow, so how much more does He value us His people’s lives and what they suffer in this world? He could step in at any time and spare their lives, being Almighty God, but for His own purposes He chooses not do so sometimes. Elijah was spared the loss of his life, many times, in fact! But he was not spared the suffering--and neither was his wife spared suffering. Another devoted wife, that of Pastor Wurmbrand, the Romanian Lutheran who later wrote the book, Tortured for Christ, about his imprisonments and torture in Romanian prisons, was sent as a slave laborer at the Danube-to-Adriatic canal project that young Elijah was spared. Her sufferings were unspeakable, perhaps worse than her husband’s in prison, yet Christ remained dear to her, and she did not forsake her faith in Him or lose her love for her husband. Wives must often, if they are wives of Christian ministers in Communist lands, endure much the same trials and tribulations inflicted on their husbands. Often their children also suffer unspeakably from society and government persecution. In Romania there was no escape, either at home or away, from extreme suffering for those who did not compromise their faith in Christ. But, then, there was no getting away either from the hand of God on their lives, a Hand that would, as we shall see in Elijah’s and Aurica’s case, turn it all to their good in His perfect time. Strategy for Faith-Champion-Trainees: We are fast approaching the launching pad for the faith of champions to be fully tested! Will all systems work? Are they all set with the lights burning “green” for “ready”? Tired of playing games with your faith? Now very soon will come the time for the blast-off! If something isn’t working properly, it will show up now, fatally, just as the O-rings failed on the tragic Challenger shuttle a minute or so after lifting off the pad at Cape Kennedy. How much a matter of life and death it can be for our faith to be built up to the proper pitch for God’s mighty deliverance! How vital it is for us to believe God on every single point and not falter! Examine the behavior of Aurica on every point, and what pains God took to insure that she was prepared and in the proper “launch-mode,” for without her support and faith Elijah could never have set out. Examine the behavior and faith of Elijah as well, for he had to be doing his part, exercising faith at every point along the way, or else he might have been sidetracked and faltered. But God is faithful. He is faithful when we weaken, just as Elijah weakened at some points toward the end, and He knows just when to strengthen us for the tests ahead that He alone knows are coming our way. He foresaw every difficulty Aurica and Elijah and the two men going with Elijah to the border would face, and prepared them for those difficulties. What a God! What a magnificent Deliverer. Nothing can possibly take him by surprise, or exceed His power to do something about it. CHAPTER ELEVEN, “The Burning Lamp” 1. God had promised to set Elijah and Aurica and their children free. But were they crazy to believe God would deliver them from Communist Romania? Elijah went to pray with fellow Christians who did not know about God’s promise, and what happened? 2. The second question Elijah and Aurica had was? 3. Yugoslavia border patrols and police sent back refugees from Romania, but with God’s assurance Elijah and Aurica moved to __________, next to the Yugoslavian border. 4. Why did the authorities allow them to move to Timisoara? 5. Selling the house, they boarded the train to Timisoara. The government had a rude surprise for Elijah when he reported there for work. What? 6. Desperate away from family and church, Elijah prayed on his far-off work sites, and God told him he would be like whom in the Bible? 7. Still desperate and trying to escape the low pay, lack of advancement, and the separation from family and church, Elijah tried what? 8. What did God tell him to do? 9. Two years after moving to Timisoara, what did God tell them? 10. What was the date of Elijah’s escape set by God? 11. Elijah and Aurica still prayed and fasted concerning deliverance. God told them to _____. 12. God reassured Aurica that Elijah would cross the border safely by giving her two _________. 13. The last six months of waiting for God’s deliverance was difficult, but God gave them a glorious sign at a baptism--what was it? ______________________________________________________________________ Discussion Groups and Individuals: What main things kept the couple going in the right direction? Discuss how effective God’s various faith-strengthening and guiding means proved in the case of Aurica and Elijah. Could they have succeeded in maintaining their faith without God’s close handling of their case? How did they do their part in keeping up the close supervision of their destiny? How did they submit and obey the Lord in such a challenging matter? Was it because they had grown to trust the Lord with their lives through the many difficult tests of the past? Could they now jump and leap into God’s arms of deliverance just like little children leap into the arms of trusted daddies? Does God ever expect his child to take a leap without trust being built up first? How do we gain needed trust. What scriptures speak about this? What names and titles of Christ can build and encourage faith and trust in God? We need to know them, for the tests of life that will surely come our way as human beings and also believers in the Lord who desire to hear from Him one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Some scriptures that can apply to Aurica and Elijah, as well as the two Christian men who were Elijah’s companions, are: Ex. 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Ex. 6:1: “Now you will see what I will do...” Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Isaiah 26:4 (L.B.): “Trust in the Lord always...” No doubt Aurica and Elijah referred to these very verses and many others like them, frequently. Some lessons that can be learned from their experiences up to this climactic point: Seeing set-backs and delays can be God’s means of revealing our true selves, and also we will see how God is building us through disappointments and delays. If we do not give up in the struggle, what cannot God do for us? He truly is Almighty! A six-month wait may come as the hardest test after years of waiting patiently, and so it seemed to Aurica and Elijah. But they responded positively by praying and fasting, not in going slack and complaining. They kept themselves in good spiritual trim that way. They kept their lamps of faith burning brightly by cultivating the promises of God for their lives. They also kept their hearts closely aligned to God’s by daily instilling and implanting in them the Word of God, so that they might not wander off the path that led to deliverance. They had become faith-champions and could stand up to the supreme test of their lives--and come through TRIUMPHANTLY. Notes: ____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Names and Titles of Christ Speaking of His Power and Delivering Attributes: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Enrich your prayers with these names and titles for the Lord, that express Who He is as Lord God! Strategy for all Faith-Champions: “The Lord will fight for you, and you will hold your peace.”--Ex. 14-14 CHAPTER TWELVE, “The Pillar of Light” 1. God gave them another comforting word during the six months waiting period. What was it? 2. Elijah was once so joyful on a train trip he wanted to witness to KGB agents sitting by him. This was against the law, but he got his opportunity how? 3. After giving the agent his reason for his joy, that Jesus was his Savior, the agents realized they had been witnessed to by a Christian. Why couldn’t they arrest him? 4. What scripture promise did Elijah receive from God on the morning of Oct. 9, 1974? 5. What did God promise Elijah would happen--would he be going alone? 6. What did God tell Elijah to take along? 7. Why did he take Vitamin C--why not some other vitamins? 8. The children rose to go to school as usual, while Elijah waited for his companions to arrive. The first to arrive was _________. 9. Elijah, though Josef’s friend, had never discussed escaping with him. T or F 10. Stefan arrived next. Though a friend of Josef’s, Elijah had never seen him before. T or F 11. Because warm clothing was not available in Romania, all three men were dressed in summer clothing. T or F 12. Stefan was a ____________(trade) 13. Josef was a _____________(job) at a large store. 14. The day of deliverance was no time for small talk. So what did they do? 15. Josef was more confident than Stefan. T or F 16. They prayed for about half an hour when God said what? 17. Stefan indicated an urgent need to do what instead? 18. They did pause to do what? 19. Aurica was pregnant with their seventh child. T or F 20. Elijah prayed again, with whom? 21. As Elijah and his family finished praying, God said what? 22. Did the children know that Elijah was going to cross the border? 23. What did Elijah tell them? 24. What time was it when they finally left the house? 25. What did they see standing in the village street? 26. How far was it from the three men? 27. How tall was it? 28. It touched the ground. T or F 29. The moment they saw it, Elijah heard the Lord speak. What did He say? 30. Which of the three men could not see the Light? 31. Why did Stefan still go along? 32. What emotion did the three feel as they set off after the Pillar of Light? 33. The first stop after a couple hours walking was in a cornfield. T or F 34. They did what at their first stop? 35. What happened as they prayed? 36. The rain continued, heavier and heavier as they neared the border. T or F 37. The Pillar led them safely over a hidden ______________. 38. Then they reached the field nearest the border. They could now see a lighted _____________. 39. Every 500 meters stood another __________ and ______, _______ and ______. 40. What next did they see as the Light led them to the nearest watchtower? 41. The whole area was lit by the ___________, so that they had no problem in the heavy rain seeing the guard and dog. 42. The guard and dog were patrolling from the right of the tower to the left. T or F 43. What did Elijah do? 44. What was Stefan looking at meanwhile? 45. What did Stefan whisper in Elijah’s ear? 46. When the three men came up to the soldier and dog, they stood still, deathly afraid to move, and then crept quietly around them. T or F 47. Still following the Pillar of Light, the men continued walking right out under the tower and the second guard stationed in it, and through the gate with nothing happening to them. T or F 48. Beyond the tower, they stood in ________, on the doorstep to freedom. 49. They had seen God take control of three things--what were they? Discussion Groups/Individuals: You’re now on your own! You’ve learned everything by now that you need to learn for battling and overcoming the Impossible Mountains that stand in your path. Congratulations! You’ve graduated. Oh..... just one more thing: Like Elijah and his two companions, you’ve still got to traverse one more hostile and unknown territory on foot (only in circumstances that may not resemble Communist Yugoslavia but are, nevertheless, just as dangerous and difficult), and somehow you have got to get your family out of Romania’s prison-house (have you relatives and family that need to be saved. delivered and set free in various ways?). So hang on to the story a bit more, as it may give you a tip or two that will prove useful. Notes: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Strategy for Faith-Champions: Hold fast to the Lord, despite the discomfort. He will lead you out if you just hold fast to Him. He hasn’t brought you this far to abandon you half-way to the Promised Land! CHAPTER THIRTEEN, “Three Jonahs” 1. Yugoslavia was a free country, and they were now free men. T or F 2. The Pillar of Light led them on until it stopped in a field of ____________ (name plant). 3. It was just ten minutes before __________. 4. How the men rejoiced! They hugged and danced around and sang songs of deliverance. But what did the Lord say to them? 5. The miraculous Pillar of Light continued on, and when they approached danger the Lord warned them. T or F 6. God still had to free them from Communist Yugoslavia, requiring another great miracle and many miracles along the way! They walked all that night and into the morning, stopping only when the Pillar of Light paused. They did not stop walking unto the night of _____________. 7. What did they later learn they had accomplished? 8. How did they get food? 9. The Pillar led them across country, away from the roads. T or F 10. How long did it take them to walk to Zagreb, a large city and rail center? 11. Before Zagreb they came to a big river at night. Where the Pillar stopped, they were supposed to cross, but ___________ objected. He said it was too deep when he tried the depth at another spot. 12. Elijah insisted they cross where the Light stopped. What did they discover? 13. In the high mountains, they could not cross a gorge on foot, so after wandering for days they gave up and did what? 14. What did God then show them was the way across? 15. They reached Zagreb at night and walked through the rail yard in search of the right train. God told them not to enter one with _________, though they could have gotten warm on it. 16. God told them to take a train carrying __________ instead. 17. They hollowed out a den under the fence boards, and the train started off. Fortunately, they knew where the train was headed. T or F 18. Sefan thought for sure the train was headed for what countries? 19. Hungary, unlike Romania, was a free country at that time. T or F 20. What was Elijah’s response to Stefan’s fears? What did he say? 21. Back and forth the train went, and they had no food and water (the salamis, they couldn’t touch, since they were too salty). What kept them going? 22. The Vitamin C helped them with ________. 23. When the train stopped, guards searched the train. Fortunately, they had no dogs. T or F 24. The train continued moving, and finally they heard a language that sounded like it could be __________. (two possible answers) 25. Like Jonah, they spent _______ days and _______ nights in the belly of the box car. 26. When they climbed out and down, they came to a water pump, drank and washed up, and further on a sign said ____________________. 27. This was a clever trick, of course, and they were arrested by the Yugoslavian police. By it the Yugoslavians had caught hundreds, even thousands, of Romanian refugees. T or F Discussion Groups/Individuals: God had the itinerary in mind before they even set out! But they had to step out in continued faith to follow it. God had the train picked, but they had to go in search. God had food for them, but they had to search for it. God had a means for them to cross the gorge in the mountains, but they had to quit trying to cross it on their own power and seek God for a way! God expects faith to act, but never can we afford to forget that He is the Source, our Everything! The moment we fall back on our own pitiful strength and our own limited resources, we start wandering blindly in the wilderness, just as Elijah and his companions did, and make a terrible mess of things! But the moment we turn back to God for guidance, He shows the way out of the impossible situation. What people in the Bible experienced this?--that God is the way, the the only way out of an impossible situation? Weren’t they called the People of Israel, and the impossible situation was the one which consisted of bondage in Egypt under oppressive, murderous pharaohs? Look how God delivered and led them out. If not for their complaining and provoking of God with their golden calf, they might have reached the Promised Land in about 21 days--but instead a whole generation perished in wilderness before God used Joshua to lead the second generation into the land. How are we like them? What can we do to change, to be teachable and leadable? We really need to learn how to be responsive to God, so that we can be led forth to the super-abundant blessings and ministry that God has willed for each of us to possess in this life. Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\SPLAT.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Strategy for Faith-Champions: In any difficult or truly impossible situation, pray and keep your focus on the Lord who has delivered you. You cannot help but achieve success, when the Lord is leading and helping you! CHAPTER FOURTEEN, “No Passport but Jesus” 1. At the Venice Train Station, they could talk to the people because Romanian and Italian are __________languages. 2. The police arrested them immediately, for obviously they looked like illegals without passports and visas. T or F 3. Freedom felt glorious to the three “Jonahs,” but there were practical necessities. Fortunately, an angel provided the money they needed to buy things. T or F 4. Elijah wrote Aurica what message? 5. After freshening up with haircuts, they turned themselves in to the police for political asylum. What was the reaction of the police? 6. Why was this number so astonishing to the police? 7. This was the _______ time they had received three people in one group, who had escaped on foot from Romania together across the border. 8. The police exclaimed what in response to the story of the escape? 9. The police transported the three by train to the refugee camp outside _______, Italy. It was Oct. 26, 1974. 10. The Lord spoke twice to Elijah about his leaving the camp for Austria, and that he was to leave on the third day. T or F 11. To leave the camp, refugees had to have passports and visas to other countries. T or F 12. The three men shared their story of God’s miraculous deliverance. The other refugees listened, but they hadn’t needed a miracle to escape Romania. As card-carrying __________, they had been permitted to travel out by train. Once out, they had thrown away their cards and abandoned the thought of returning. 13. One of these former well-off communist defectors was ________ (name). Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 14. he had been a well-paid ___________ (profession) in Romania. 15. Though Elijah had no passport and no money, Elijah told George he was going to Austria on the third day. What was George’s response? 16. Elijah explained to Stefan and Josef that the Lord was taking him to Austria, and that he would send help, or come back to help them. T or F 17. George had both money and passport, and together they set off on the third day. T or F 18. George bought one-way tickets to Vienna for himself and Elijah. T or F 19. What happened to Stefan and Josef at the refugee camp in Trieste? 20. Was George concerned for Elijah because he had no passport? 21. What did he say to Elijah concerning the passport? 22. What was Elijah’s reply? 23. What did Elijah’s reply indicate? 24. They entered a train compartment and sat with three people--two young men and a woman who knew each other. What did they all have in common? 25. What was the woman’s profession? 26. George immediately told the other three Romanians what? 27. The two young men believed the story, but the woman psychologist did not. Why didn’t she believe the miraculous story of Elijah’s escape from Romania? 28. Getting concerned, she pressed Elijah on how could he be on the train without a passport. Elijah told her what? 29. The lady felt pity but was upset by Elijah’s remark about speaking with God. T or F 30. She could not believe anyone could speak with God. T or F 31. Her diagnosis of Elijah? She declared he had a _________ problem. 32. What was Elijah’s spiritual diagnosis of her? 33. What common “fence-building” question did she put to Elijah because he had expressed having a personal relationship with God? 34. Elijah ignored her question and got to the real question by saying what? 35. There are really only two classes of people in life concerning knowing God. What are they? (the lady represented one class, Elijah represented the other). 36. Elijah would not argue the point with her, and turned to pray silently. As he prayed God said to him what? 37. Elijah also saw a vision--what was it? 38. After being assured by God with a message and a vision, what did Elijah say to the woman? 39. What was her non-believer’s response? 40. What did Elijah explain to her about prayer? 41. The lady and the two young men wondered how Elijah could escape detection being without a passport. It grew tense when two policemen entered after the conductor to check passports. What did Elijah do? 42. The police never asked Elijah for a passport, though they checked everyone else. T or F 43. The two young men were delighted, and the lady was utterly amazed when the police left, and Elijah had not been asked to show his passport. What did she ask him? 44. Elijah, avoiding denominational thinking, replied what? 45. How did the lady respond to Elijah’s statement about the Lord planning to save her soul? 46. The express train quickly neared the Austrian border, and soon Austrian police entered the compartment asking for passports. Again, everyone but Elijah held up passports, while Elijah did what? 47. The police did what to Elijah? 48. As soon as the door closed after the police, the woman jumped up and cried what (twice)? 49. What did she want to hear about now? What did she ask Elijah? 50. Now the two young men and the woman revealed that they too lacked something vital for travel. What was it? 51. They asked Elijah to do what for them? 52. But Elijah remained focused on their greater spiritual need. He explained what scripture passage to them? 53. What did he do next? 54. What response did Elijah get from them for all his efforts and prayers? 55. What final vision did God give Elijah concerning their lack of visas? 56. Later, the three wrote to Elijah and reported to him that it had happened exactly as he had seen it in his vision. T or F 57. The train slowed to a stop in Vienna with five __________ Romanians, three of them just _________. Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Discussion Groups/Individuals: After this, Elijah could do no wrong, in the way of living out his faith as God’s witness--right? Grown to be a professional saint, he had become so trained and equipped that he couldn’t possibly fail--right? As long as he prayed and remained focussed, he could come out on top--right? Or was he really headed for a situation that could best be pictured: INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\BIRD.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Strategy for Faith-Champions: It is always best to do exactly what God tells us or directs us in His word to do, or bear the consequences as Elijah and his companion did! But, if we slip, bear the consequences if possible with a sense of humor! CHAPTER FIFTEEN, “Goose Chase in Germany” 1. In Vienna, Elijah took no tours to see no sights, for he was concerned to find whom? 2. Not knowing his home street address, he left a note in his friend’s mail box, and then they waited. What did God tell them to do? 3. What did George advise they do instead? 4. What did Elijah decide? 5. They had heard German border guards could be rough on refugees, but once in a refugee camp they would be allowed to remain in Germany. T or F 6. George believed the border crossing would be (choose best one) (1) a piece of cake (2) hazardous in spots, but altogether possible. 7. So they took the train to Salzburg by the German border for the crossing over into Germany. T or F 8. The border crossing was (choose best one) (1) a piece of cake, with no other problems other than having to walk so far at night (2) hazardous, and difficult, and got them into considerable trouble. 9. What happened to them immediately after crossing into Bavaria, Germany at night? 10. When they came to a road, what did God say to warn them? 11. What did George do when a car approached, and who was in it? 12. Elijah and George ran into the woods, with the police hot on their trail. But the police had to turn back. What had they forgotten? 13. George and Elijah came to a deep, wide river, and plunged in. Somehow reaching the other side, they continued running and came to a ___________. 14. Elijah used his father’s German to ask directions to the nearest train station. The attendant said it was in _________, only 3 or 4 km away. 15. At the Piting train depot they dried their clothes at the registers, and George told the station clerk they were ________________. 16. What was the station clerk’s response? 17. In two minutes, the police arrived, and Elijah and George were under arrest, and they were taken to the refugee camp. T or F 18. Treatment for them was rough, but Elijah knew what? 19. The German police turned friendlier to Elijah because his story did not change, but George’s story changed, showing he was not being open and honest. T or F 20. When asked to declare their money, George said none. T or F 21. What did the police find in George’s shoe? 22. The police called in help, an old German who had lived in Romania, and what happened to George’s story and Elijah’s story under further questioning? 23. George had put himself in such a bad light, he was in danger of _________ back to Romania, with probably his ____________. 24. What effect did these distinct possibilities have on George? 25. The questioning went on how long? 26. Then the police loaded all the detained refugees in a van, with Yugoslavians aboard, who told George he was being taken to ______________. 27. How did George react to this bad news? 28. The van dropped them off where? 29. Was this bad for George--being put in another prison? 30. The prison authorities said what to Elijah and George? 31. After two weeks, instead of Romania, where were the authorities sending them? Notes: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ When our faith loses its compass... INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\COMPASS.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT a child of God has only to turn back to God and direction is restored!--Psalm 56:13: For thou has delivered my soul from death; wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? Notes:___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Strategy for Faith-Champions: Back on track after some harrowing experiences that should teach a lesson about keeping to the path of God! Now the song: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way...” CHAPTER SIXTEEN, “The Senator’s Golden Key” 1. Austria’s refugee camp was large and crowded, and processing out took at least __________ weeks. 2. God gave Elijah a dream with a word--what was it? 3. George believed the dream. T or F 4. What did Elijah say to George about it? 5. George’s response? 6. People overheard them in the refugee dormitory, and they believed Elijah’s story about the miraculous escape and also this dream of his telling how he would be set free that very day. T or F 7. Everyone laughed at the idea Elijah would be set free that day, but Elijah looked out the window and saw what? 8. The director of the refugee camp and Siegmund came to Elijah, and Siegmund his friend said what? 9. Why had Siegmund not responded to Elijah’s note at the post office? 10. As a friend of the director, Siegmund got Elijah what? 11. But George? Elijah asked the director about him, and the director said what? 12. Siegmund arranged lodging for Elijah in Vienna, and he began work for Siegmund’s mission. At the mission a fellow mission worker came from Trieste with news of __________ and ___________. 13. The two men were at the refugee camp and accepted help from the mission worker instead of Elijah, who was involved in trying to contact and help his own family. 14. Elijah found plenty of work at the EastWest Mission, but God was calling Elijah where? 15. According to the law, Elijah had to immigrate to America within ____ years or be shut out. 16. Siegmund and Elijah flew to Los Angeles, where Elijah lodged with ___________. 17. Elijah called whom from Los Angeles? 18. The date of his call was ___________. 19. Things looked hopeless for Aurica in Romania. T or F 20. what did the police call Elijah to Aurica? 21. What did they tell Aurica about her getting a passport out with her children? 22. But God gave a word to Elijah he was going to favor them, and what was the scripture passage? 23. Elijah related God’s word and promise to Aurica just before the connection was cut. T or F 24. Elijah continued to pray for his family’s release, and next God gave him what? 25. In the dream a guide led Elijah to see a distinguished, older gentleman, and the guide said he was __________________. 26. He was, the guide said to Elijah, a Washington State senator, and in his hand he held what? 27. What did the guide tell Elijah Senator Jackson would do with the key? 28. To show Elijah the release would happen quickly, what was the sign? 29. What persons in the Bible first dealt with doubled dreams, and what is the passage? 30. Yet Elijah didn’t know Senator Henry M. Jackson, and how was he to contact such a great man? Who knew him that he could ask? 31. What did his Romanian friend tell Elijah about the senator? 32. The friend found the senator’s address in Washington, D.C., and Elijah did what? 33. Elijah wrote twice, and then Senator Jackson wrote back what? 34. A few days after his friend read the senator’s letter to him, who called Elijah? 35. Aurica was crying for joy, for what had happened? 36. How much did the government give them for their house in Timisoara? 37. Off Aurica and the seven children went by train to Austria. T or F 38. But Elijah had a big problem--what was it? 39. After praying, Elijah went to the U.S. Immigration office and was told what after his request for a passport? 40. What did Elijah do next after being refused a passport to go to Austria? 41. What did the director say? 42. What did the clerks issue to Elijah? 43. Elijah flew to Vienna, and what did the refugee camp director say to him? 44. After Elijah showed him the White Passport, he rushed to see his wife and children. How long did the White Passport last? 45. After a summer spent enjoying family life together after a trying separation of two years, the family boarded they plane and flew with the White Passport to America, but it was really on the wings of divine _________. INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\JET.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________ ______________________________________ INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\MAIL.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\MAIL.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Dear Tom... Dear Cheryl... Dear God...! Discussion Groups/Individuals: Ever experience an unexpected blessing of grace in your life, when all seemed against you being blessed in any way? Why not write about it to friends, encouraging them with your experience? And be sure to write a love letter to God, who blessed you! God does impossible things on a routine basis, but we seldom see what He has accomplished for us, we are too distracted by other things that are happening at the same time. Also, God uses means we could not even imagine to bless us in a special way. God used Senator Henry M. Jackson, whom Elijah had never heard about until a friend identified him. God had this great senator prepared to do this great act in behalf of Elijah and Aurica though they could not have asked for such a thing, having no knowledge of him. Also, God had just the right official in the Los Angeles U.S. immigration office who would listen sympathetically and bend the rules just enough so that Elijah could get the needed “White Passport,” again, a thing Elijah could not have imagined or prayed for. What scripture says that the Spirit interceeds for us in groanings that cannot be uttered? The Bible says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think He can do--and He certainly does! If only we had eyes to see! Fortunately, all He requires is that we have trust, and faith to believe Him. He does the rest! Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Perhaps, you’ve been invited out unexpectedly, to enjoy a delicious dinner... INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\DINNER2.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Or perhaps, a friend comes over and you each sip coffee, and you forget the clock, the fellowship is so good, and you feel a touch from God... INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\COFFEE.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Or maybe you get invited to a game of tennis, and you really do much better court than you expected... INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\TENNIS.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Of did you finally get that boat you had always dreamed of sailing-- the right one up for sale, just at the price that you could afford? INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\SUMMER.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT How about this? Did this happen lately to you? You’ve been experiencing really good health and vigor, and the doctor says you can take out your old clubs again, you’re so improved... INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\GOLF.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT The blessings of God are beyond counting! It’s not impossible that you won the time of your life, an all expense three week trip, to New York City! INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\CITYSCPE.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT God has a surprise up his sleeve for any child of his--never count yourself out of his abundant blessings! Just when you think life will always go on the same, without any excitement, God lands you a big fish you will rave about for years! It’s such a whopper you have it painted with you holding it up triumphantly before an admiring crowd, so you can enjoy the scene of you and Big Fish a long, long time! INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\ARTIST.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT Did Norman Rockwell do justice to your champion Muskie? Strategy for Faith-Champion Trainees: The good times come from God’s hands; why cannot we accept the bad times too? The Bible says that both weal and woe come from God--but we are quick to blame the Devil--right? Job couldn’t imagine why so many bad things were happening to him. He had been rightous--right? He had done everything humanly possible to keep himself and his family on the up and up with God and man--yet disaster after disaster struck, taking] all he held dear! What was going on? Where was God in all this calamity? He forgot the record fish he had caught, the good hand at golf he had played recently, the fine dinners served up at his tent, the laughter of sons and daughters, and all the other blessings the Almighty had showered upon him in the lazy, hazy summertime of life. Now it was turned winter, and chill winds froze him to the bone. All was stripped away--all he held dear and good. Where was God? Where? CHAPTER SEVENTEEN, “Dark Threads” 1. On ___________ (day) Elijah and Aurica and their seven children arrived in Los Angeles. 2. A friend had rented a brand-new house for them in __________, California. 3. The dream house had ______ bedrooms, ____ baths, and livingroom and a large It also came furnished with furniture. 4. To top it off, the _________ was full of food. 5. Settled in the lovely rented home, life soon became very busy, as Elijah became pastor of ___________________. 6. Each year afterwards a new church was established by Elijah among people of ____________ background. 7. What two jobs did Elijah do nights after spending days in church ministry? 8. Elijah also took work as a _______________ on a commercial farm outside Los Angeles. 9. The family grew in numbers, with _____ brand-new Americans added. 10. Elijah was invited to speak in many parts of the country, and even a nationwide Christian television station had him speak. T or F 11. Problems came with their youngest American, _________. 12. On a farm where Elijah was manager, a truck rolled over Benjamin. What did the doctor say after when God intervened and Benjamin’s head, though crushed flat, returned to normal? 13. Elijah continued to pray after this, for God’s direction. What did God say? 14. Next, Elijah Junior, the youngest, had two dreams. What were they? 15. A little boy’s nightmares can be dismissed, but their daughter Lidia had a startling dream. What was it? 16. Life continued busy as ever, despite these warnings. Elijah and Aurica, with another Romanian family staying with them, had to buy food for ____ children. What did God tell them at the grocery store? 17. They rushed home, and found the police waiting for them with the message---what was it? 18. What had happened to Elijah Junior? 19. The doctors refused to let Elijah and Aurica in the operating room, so Elijah called a surgeon friend, and he came and let Elijah in, but it was too much for him, and he left. T or F 20. Elijah and Aurica prayed and wept, until Elijah said what to Aurica? 21. What did Elijah see then? 22. Forty minutes later, the surgeon friend came out to the waiting room, and said to the parents? 23. Stunned, Elijah argued with the Lord, and the Lord replied? 24. In a short time Aurica and Elijah saw “silver threads” appear in the dark tapestry of this tragic event. Several hundred people attended the boy’s funeral, and ____ people re-dedicated their hearts and lives to the Lord. Others were saved, receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. 25. They never met the woman who ran over Elijah Junior, and several years passed. At the Dalles International Airport Elijah was talking to other passengers waiting for the plane when the conversation turned to ____________ accident. 26. A woman listening to him responded that her daughter-in-law in Garden Grove, California, (next to Anaheim) had run over and killed a Romanian boy. T or F 27. The woman told Elijah how her daughter-in-law sat in numb despair for weeks after the accident, afraid of driving and another accident. T or F 28. What caused the woman’s daughter-in-law to grasp hope, and then change? 29. What effect did her faith have on her and the family? 30. Hearing the story later, Aurica and the whole family were overjoyed, but still they missed Elijah Junior greatly. T or F 31. The children were missing Elijah so much that Elijah told them to pray about it, and what did God do? 32. Elijah Junior, in the picture, was even wearing his favorite _______. Notes: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Discussion Groups/Individuals: What are the tips given in this chapter? What happens when God does not choose to answer our most heart-felt and anguished prayers, and a loved one dies? How can we be ready to respond with faith and trust when everything seems lost? How did God give comfort to the parents in ways that pass understanding? How did he comfort the surviving children? What kind of God does these things? Has He changed? Can He be the same God to us too as he was to Aurica and Elijah? Job is one book that everyone should read at least once, and Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is another. Between the two, there is the Christian walk in this fallen world depicted with all its trials and pitfalls. Have you read both books, or at least one? What have they shown you that you know is true about life and what you must expect to experience? What do they teach you about God and the pilgrim-journey of every saint of God? Have you experienced the same things that Christian experienced in Pilgrim’s Progress? Have you experienced the loss of a child, or a beloved spouse, or some loved friend, or parent or grand-parent? A divorce or separation can cause the same grief suffered by the death of a spouse or loved one. Be vulnerable if you can. Share this with others, who can tell you what they have experienced, and what they have learned. We might be surprised how many people have experienced what we have suffered in life. They were only waiting, perhaps, for us to open up to be able to share their lives with us. What Bible passages speak specifically to grief and loss? What scriptures minister the comfort of God to broken hearts? Who is the Balm of Gilead? If we know that Balm is Jesus, why do we labor in our sorrow and not give it to the One who is called the Man of Sorrows? He only can heal us in the deepest regions of our hearts and souls. He only can turn the dark threads of broken dreams and shattered loves into shining, golden threads of joy. The grief may never go away entirely as long as the loss is recalled, but the joy of knowing the Lord grows greater and takes the center of our being instead of the emptiness, or the bitter cankering sense of loss and death. We may even come to sing again, this time a “new song” of praise to God, based on a much deeper relationship, that has come to love God for whom he is, rather than for the material things He has given in the past. Beauty replaces the ashes, slowly but surely, as we give up everything that we have and are to Him--who, with time, mends the broken heart and gives it wings to soar once again in the heights. It may be time to get out the songbook and sing what others have composed in like moments that we have experienced and now come through. Notes: ______________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Oh, there will still come times such as this: “My heart is sore pained within me; and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest-- Psalm 55:4____but better times will come! God will see to it! Aurica and Elijah’s experience is proof of it!--consider what God wrought from their tragedy!- Scriptures that Heal and Comfort:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHAPTER EIGHTEEN, “Consider the Ravens” 1. God sometimes blesses through __________ means. 2. Elijah, with Aurica and the family driving home from a trip, heard two voices saying what? 3. Elijah and his daughter _______ prayed about what he heard. 4. What did God say to them? 5. Suddenly, the car flew into the air and seemed to explode, flying off the road, and landing on its side, so that some of the children were seriously hurt. T or F 6. The police and ambulance people could not believe the family could be in such good shape after being hit by a big truck. T or F 7. A woman driving a Cadillac parked and came over to them, asking Elijah and Aurica? 8. She gave them all a ride home, and on the way described how she had seen the truck coming at her out of control, then hit them and demolish their car. T or F 9. Elijah and Aurica failed filed an insurance claim, and received $10,000 for the older model car. T or F 10. What did they do with the money? 11. Another miracle occurred in the Rockies, when son ______was driving, taking turns at the wheel. T or F 12. The van was a diesel, and the gas gauge needle registered below the red “empty” mark. What did Daniel say to his father? 13. Elijah thought it would be encouraging to see a miracle, and they prayed, and continued driving through the mountains and deep snow. T or F 14. They drove for _____ miles on the empty tank until they reached a gas station. 15. On return home from a ministry trip to Europe, Elijah was met by _______. 16. What did they say to Elijah? 17. What is the verse that Elijah knew he was not fully practicing in his spiritual walk? 18. Praying about the matter, Elijah knew they were to trust God for _____ provision. 19. The angels’ call to “consider the ravens” came in what year? 20. After their visit, unsolicited financial support came pouring in by mail. T or F 21. The monthly total grew so much to the point where Elijah lay down his custodial job, and was able to travel abroad more to witness and give aid to refugees. T or F 22. Elijah was able to send trucks and cars full of necessities into a starving Romania. T or F 23. The ministry God had given him grew steadily, though the needs of refugees and people remaining in Romania remained difficult to meet. T or F 24. What is it that Christians in Romania and elsewhere need to know? 25. What incident of provision happened in a grocery store, when Elijah found his wallet short of the funds needed to buy food? 26. What can be tested when provision runs short, as it did with the Prophet Elijah in the Bible account? 27. Abraham too was tested in his obedience and trust in God, when he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar at Mt. Moriah. What did God, when Abraham’s faith] did not falter, do? 28. ___________is the name of God which means “God will provide.” 29. A faithful God provided a ram for Abraham on Mt. Moriah, and He is the same God today, providing His Son Jesus Christ as the ___________. 40. What verse says that God is the same God today as he was in the past? How can we find out if He is the same God Abraham knew and trusted to come through for him? What one thing must we exercise? 41. What did God have Elijah and his wife and family do when He instructed them to move from Dornesti to Timisoara? (Answer) He asked them to put their built-up faith into position for immediate action, to move right up against the Impossible Situation, like David facing Goliath. It was as if God was saying, “You asked the Impossible--to escape from your oppressors--and now I will show You I can do the Impossible, in an unmistakable way too, so that it will become a mighty testimony to the world, to draw men and women and children to Me! Whatever is your Impossible Situation, and your Unclimbable Mountain--whether it is finances, family problems, health, job, a rocky marriage, lack of communication, loneliness, overweight, drugs, besetting sins, chemical dependency, worries, depression, childlessness, the difficulties of single-parenting, the loss of a loved one, rejection and betrayal, whatever you face--move your faith into position now, and see what God will accomplish with it! It is time for you to see God move mightily for you, and for you to graduate with highest honors! God bless you, Faith-Champions and Overcomers! INCLUDEPICTURE C:\\WW6\\CLIPART\\DIPLOMA.WMF \* MERGEFORMAT AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR YOU, RETRO STAR CHALLENGER: Order now from the enclosed contents pages what you want to read next! Autocopy will produce any chronicle in Volume I that you order if you don’t see it in the rack. *Be advised, the author has made efforts to keep sections to about 100 pages for easier reading, but some chronicles are over 100 pages and cannot be broken up. Remember, there are six volumes to go after Volume I, Fatal Convergence, is finished. This journey together may take us the rest of our lives on Earth, but it will be worth it when we someday connect with our lost Twin Earth! Believe me, it is going to happen. Be a part of the grand reunion by reading and taking to heart what you read in this RETRO STAR series! You won’t find this written account available anywhere else.