In 1968, Dr. Peter Trutza, with a group of 25 Romanian and American church leaders from the United States, founded the Romanian Missionary Society, to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of the Romanian Christians trapped behind the Iron Curtain and to reach with the Gospel the people in that area. In those early days of Communist persecution, the focus of the ministry was on Christian radio broadcasting, through HCJB, and relief assistance.
In 1982, Dr. Josef Tson, was elected to serve as president, after Dr. Trutza’s retirement. Dr. Tson had been exiled by the Communist government of Romania for taking a stand in the defense of Christians and against the abuses of the Communist regime.
Convinced that Communism would soon fall, Dr. Josef Tson brought to the RMS a new vision for training young men and women for ministry. To achieve this, he initiated an ambitious program of publishing Christian books and training materials in the Romanian language, to provide all the books necessary for theological training. At the same time, the radio ministry took a new turn by broadcasting an evangelical Christian program over BBC and Radio Free Europe, reaching a very wide audience.
When Communism fell in Romania, during the bloody days of December 1989, a new era opened for RMS. Dr. Tson returned to Romania and initiated the establishment of a number of ministries which were and still are instrumental in preaching the Gospel in Romania and Eastern Europe. Some of these ministries are:
• Romanian National Alliance of Evangelicals,
• “Emanuel” Bible Institute in Oradea (now, “Emanuel” University)
• Radio “Voice of the Gospel” network, in partnership with HCJB
• Christian Publishing House “Cartea crestina”
The impact of these ministries gained strength as time went by: the National Alliance of Evangelicals gives a strong and united voice to all evangelicals of Romania;
hundreds of graduates from the “Emanuel” Bible Institute / University minister in churches, schools, social work agencies, charitable foundations; Christian radio is a permanent presence in the major cities of Romania, and since 2005 (by direct satellite-to-listener broadcasting) in all of Europe; “Cartea crestina” has published over 200 titles and more are published every year.
Starting in 1995, Dr. Tson began an itinerant ministry in Romania, focusing on spiritual life seminars, calling all Christians to a renewal of their commitment to Christ. The impact was felt not only in Romania, but also abroad, and “growing in the likeness of Christ” has become a dominant theme of Dr. Tson’s preaching.
The same year Dr. Darrel Anderson started serving as Executive Director of RMS and initiated a number of programs that continue to impact our ministries in Romania, as follows:
• Sponsor-a-Pastor, to aid pastors in small rural churches and new church plants,
• Adopt-a-Student, assisting Seminary students in both Romania and Moldova,
• YouthNetwork, a resource website for youth workers in Romanian churches,
• Orphan assistance, through Bible clubs and summer camps.
Dr. Tson chose to retire in October 2004, to focus on teaching and writing, as well as spending time with his family. He maintains a busy schedule, preaching and teaching at missionary conferences, churches, theological schools, youth conferences, pastors’ conferences. He continues to write feverishly and to date he has published 17 books.
In 2004, Dr. Livius Percy was elected President. Ever since 1982 he has been involved in various capacities in the RMS ministries and shares the same ministry vision of RMS, to enable the Romanian Christians to fulfill the Great Commission.
Dr. Percy brought to the RMS a focus on the younger generation, aiming to equip the Christian youth with a solid understanding of the Christian worldview and a desire to evangelize their peers. Starting in 2005, in close partnership with Dr. Tson, a new ministry to the Romanian Christian youth was initiated, offering Worldview and Apologetics seminars in the major university centers of Romania and Moldova.
We are moving in the direction of broadening the scope of our ministries, to reach the widest possible audience outside the church. The editorial plan, the spiritual life conferences, the radio and TV broadcasts, the apologetics seminars – all are geared towards equipping the young generation for the ministry of the Gospel by presenting the message in a way that is relevant for our generation.
A former communist leader in Romania stated, “The only force that can restore the moral fiber of this nation is the Christian faith“. From its inception, RMS tailored its missionary strategy to effectively carry out the Great Commission. As societal and political trends shift, we continue to build upon our many years of ministry experience in Romania, with the all-consuming goal of helping to advance the kingdom of God.