Romanian society's turn to individualism and consumerism has impacted Romanian families, turning them away from a Biblical model of biological and church family.
People who were so thirsty for Biblical community that they would many times stand for two hours during the a service are now bent on individualism instead.
Families are torn apart as the individual and his or her "needs" are put above the good of the family.
Relationships are used to "take" what the individual needs, rather than to sacrificially encourage and build one another up out of gratefulness for what Jesus did.
As this individualistic culture leads to immorality and doing "whatever is right for you", the consequences are ripping through relationships and children like a hurricane, leaving devastation in their wake.
A street in Romania.
Adi and Ema have a passion to restore Romanian families, leading and discipling them to know and live by God's Word.
Young Couples Fellowship
The Bans with the Young Couples' Fellowship.
They lead two groups of young couples, which they call Young Couples' Fellowships, discipling Romanian newly-married couples and pre-married couples.
Under the Ban's leadership, the couples study the Word of God together and share what they've learned regarding topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and godly intimacy, building families from on Biblical principles from the ground up.
Adi and Ema's ministry aims to prayerfully stand in the cultural gap as a line of defense against affairs, divorces and immorality. The seek to work alongside the Spirit to build Biblically-based marriages.
This allows believers to live the lives they were saved to live, sacrificially declaring and demonstrating the gospel to their communities and their churches.
Building Up the Church
Adrian also personally invests in and encourages all of the Sunday School teachers for the children’s ministry of their church.
Since few of them havebeen trained to teach a Bible lesson, Adrian organizes leadership sessions from time to time, teaching himself or inviting guest trainers, empowering teachers to teach in such a way that the next generation experiences the joy of knowing Jesus.
They are working to develop a Sunday School curriculum that will create continuity between age groups and classes.
In 2007, Adrian and Ema co-authored the book I Want to Get Married with David and Claudia Arp, their mentors and authors of Ten Great Dates. The book has been an instrumental foundation for the Ban's Marriage Preparation Seminars.
The Bans contributed a chapter about Grace to "Apologetics Around the Table", published in 2016.
Adi also makes himself available for training and consulting for churches or other organizations.
Adi teaches and builds up the church all over Romania.
Pre-school and Family Center Community Outreach
Adi and Ema manage a pre-school center, "Little House of Treasures" that is open to the community. But it's more than just a preschool. Its the beginning of a community outreach and family support center.
The Bans envision adding counseling services, parenting classes and other family support tools to their community. The school gives them the platform and access point to offer love, support and Jesus to families in the community.
Adi engages with the students at the preschool.
They've already had opportunities to plant Gospel seeds through their interactions with the preschool families.
Romanian Village in Ukraine
Adi offers encouragement and support to John and Gabby, a missionary couple he knows who left the comforts of home in Romanian and moved to a remote village in Ukraine.
The people of this village were sequestered when their land became part of Ukraine years ago, though they are Romanian and don't speak Ukrainian.
The Romanian village sequestered in Ukraine is rustic and isolated.
Adi with a missionary, John, who pastors in a rustic village of Romanian-speakers in Ukraine.
Adi with a boy from the village in Ukraine.
- Monthly supporters to allow Adi and Ema to focus on ministry full-time.
- Financial support to grow their outreaches through the preschool and the Ukrainian village.
- Prayer for Adi and Ema as they swim upstream in the surrounding secular culture.
Dr. Joseph C. Aldrich is quoted as saying something some might find surprising. Aldrich highlights one of the “weapons” at the church’s disposal for evangelism in Lifestyle Evangelism. Is it training? It is it a certain tract or method? Is it passion? Is it an effusive and charasmatic personality? Caring for orphans and widows? To be sure, these have great value, and are important parts of sharing the Good News, but Aldrich makes a different claim.
Things were different before the war broke out in Mironovsk, Ukraine. For 15 years prior to the streets being filled with crumbling structures, a small church of 14 ministered faithfully to their city. For 15 years, there was very little response to the Good News. Then, everything changed.
Though we had less than a month, we gathered the funds needed for our trip and ITMI graciously partnered with us, and we were grateful to the Lord for His provision. Then a swine flu broke out in Ukraine, and we were strongly advised not to go by the Ministry of Health.
“Why do the men sit on one side and the women on the other?”
Years ago, ITMI’s founder, Bill Bathman and his travel companion, Don Christiansen were in a Romanian church. This particular group of believers held long-standing traditions that had gotten them through the persecution of the Communism and the scarcity of the aftermath that followed.
But after the Iron Curtain came down, Don wondered why they sat the way they did. Was it to keep everyone from being distracted? Was it their sense of modesty and propriety?
Last May we shared a story and some photos about Steve and Adi’s travels in Ukraine. You may have been wondering, “Ukraine? Where did that come from?” Here’s how it happened.
The couple in front of ITMI’s Adi and Ema Ban was the second couple to make the same request. It was 2014. Their Pre-Marital Seminar was wrapping up.