This week members of the Morning Star Baptist Church in Alpine are making final preparations for missionary service.
Thursday, May 30, 19 members of the congregation will board a plane and join up with three missionary volunteers from the Midwest.
The intrepid group, the youngest of whom is 11, will make their way to Romania to serve as part of The Romanian Evangelistic Medical Mission (REMM).
REMM was founded in 1990, shortly after the fall of Communism in Romania. The founders included a group of medical doctors led by a Romanian national and an American. The goal was to bring medicine in one hand and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the other.
Since that time, REMM’s ministry has grown to include “an orphanage, Gypsy ministry, serving impoverished families through the Agape Ministry, investments in the local church, and a coffee house outreach center.”
And, REMM started offering a wide range of serve opportunities for missionary volunteers.
“My family has been connected with the REMM organization for a long time,” said Betsey Gieck. Gieck is one of the organizers of the local missionary efforts.
Last fall, when the REMM organization was looking for a group that could possibly host a music camp, Gieck approached her fellow church members. The response, she said, was an overwhelming “yes.”
“We thought long and hard and prayed long and hard,” Gieck said. “Pastor Warren Jones and his wife, Cherie, are both musical. And we thought this was maybe something we could do. So we put it out to the congregation and they said yes.”
According to Gieck, the idea behind the music camp is to teach 712 children music and rhythm as well as provide some gospel teaching through music. The camp will take place June 3 through June 7 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. The students range from first grade to high school.
“It’s been amazing to see who God has brought into this,” Gieck said of the people who have stepped forward to help with the mission. “I am not musical. But God will call you to do things that are beyond your abilities and then opens a way for things to happen. We have seen that as our efforts have moved forward.”
In addition to the music camp, the missionaries will take supplies to rural families in need, teach music in Gypsy camps, hold a women’s Bible study in the evenings, take elements of the music camp into orphanages and do whatever else they can to lift burdens and share hope.
“It’s about loving people unconditionally as Christ did,” Gieck said. “It’s about going into Romania and sharing a message of hope and letting the people there know that they are not forgotten. Missionary service is an extension of the love and light and joy and hope that comes through Christ.”
Gieck, as well as her immediate and extended family, have served missions in Romania a number of times in the last 20 years as part of REMM. She says what keeps her going back is how she is benefited by the work.
“Service is such an interesting thing,” she said. “When you set out to give of yourself you always get more than you ever give. It always feels that way when I come back. I feel the Peace of God that is so transcendent and amazing. It is such a gift and it can’t really be explained — only experienced.”
According to Gieck, as word of Morning Star’s planned missionary service spread in Star Valley, area residents came forward with an intense desire to help in any way that they could.
“Our community has been so generous in supporting this,” she said. “We have raised all of the money that we have hoped to. We have truly been blessed by the generosity of the people here.”
With the necessary funding and supplies in place, the congregation is asking only for prayers.
“This is hard,” Gieck said. “Traveling internationally is hard. Our group is made up of volunteers who are leaving behind family members and other responsibilities. Pray for us while we are over there. Pray for our safety and for protection as we travel. Pray for us to have the wisdom and discernment needed to share the joy and love we can share. What we need are your prayers as we complete this mission.”
For those interested in contributing financially to the REMM efforts, Gieck suggested visiting the REMM website (www.remmromania.org) and making a donation.
The missionary group will return from their service on Saturday, June 8.