July 31, 2014
The sight is hard to miss – tugboats ushering heavy barges down a canal that cuts through endless plains. The Danube-Black Sea Canal extends roughly 40 miles across eastern Romania and connects the Danube River in Cernavodă to the ports of Constanţa and Năvodari. By navigating through the canal, vessels reduce their journey into the Black Sea by 250 miles.
Its pioneers called it “The Blue Highway” but those who worked on the project knew it as “The Death Canal.” After it was commissioned in 1949, prison camps sprang up along the construction zone, housing political dissidents and outspoken Christians. Thousands of believers were forced to dig the canal with outdated tools – at times with their bare hands. Food rations were so depleted that workers resorted to hunting rats and eating grass to survive. The project’s death toll has been estimated as high as 200,000 victims.
The Danube-Black Sea Canal is one of many monuments to the brutality Christians faced during Romania’s communist era, when speaking about Jesus could easily lead to imprisonment, torture, or death.
Since the regime’s swift collapse in December 1989, the Romanian Church has exploded. Today, evangelicals make up the only growing religious group in the country. But this unprecedented growth wouldn’t have been possible without the endurance of the generations before them. Every congregation can be traced back to those persecuted ancestors who never gave up.
Since the 1990’s, e3 Partners has been an integral part of this revival by establishing new churches and ministering to the local people, with another expedition heading to Constanţa this fall. New churches are still needed and it takes people like you to help establish them.
God is orchestrating an amazing work in Romania and in other countries across Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. We can see one million churches planted over the next several years – but only if we go. The time is now. Let’s go together!