We may be a small town church, but we have a big heart for local and worldwide missions. GCC believes that church responsibility is to support full time missionaries who spread the gospel to other hurting US communities and to the ends of the earth. We have both missionaries we support directly as well as send church members to visit and minister to others overseas.
LILIAN & NELI GAVRILITA--ROMANIA
Dear friends in Christ,
It is our privilege to introduce our ministries and ourselves to you: Lilian and Neli Gavrilita.
Lilian(husband) - I was born in 1975 in Moldova Republic(which was in former USSR, at Romanian border). When I was 16 I met a group of Christian Athletes. One of them invited me to his church. There I heard the Gospel for the first time and I invited Jesus into my heart. In 1994 my parents wanted to assure me a better future, so they sent me to a college in Romania. In my freshmen year a new chapter started in my life. I met young people who went in dorms and talk to students about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They were from Campus Crusade for Christ.
As a student, I chose to share the Gospel to lost students. I learned to read my Bible every day, to pray daily, to tell about Jesus to everyone. After I graduated, I decided to let my life in God's hands and serve Him as a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ.
Neli(wife) - I was born in Romania under the communist regime. I didn't believe in existence of God untill I was 19. Then my brother(who became a Christian before me) shared the Gospel with me. That was the moment I understood the reason why Jesus died on the cross; so I prayed to receive Christ in my heart as my Lord and Savior.
As I started growing in my faith and sharing Jesus with my classmates, with other students in my dorm or summer projects on the beach, the hunger for the Word of God and His Son Jesus that I saw all over Romania, convinced me that there is no better investment for my life than to serve Christ and let Him be known among the people in my country. I understood that God called me to proclaim His word "in season and out of season".
Despite of our very different backgrounds from which we were born, grew up and came to know Christ, He is the Master of our call and He brought us together as a couple to serve Him and carry on His Word around the world. We are now both on staff with the same Christian group, Campus Crusade for Christ(CRU) since 1998-1999 and we serve in Campus Ministry among college students from Iasi - a big city from North-East part of Romania.
We spent a week in Vinitsa where the ministry is led by volunteers and student leaders. This was their first English club and for many students the first opportunity to speak with a native speaker. I also learned that many of the students were reading the Bible for the first time. Initially, some of them weren’t too interested in the Bible (one even told me it was boring), but almost no one missed a class. On the evaluations more than half (out of 80) said they would be interested in attending a Bible discussion after we left. Vinitsa is known for being the headquarters of Roshen Chocolate Factory (owned by the president of Ukraine) and for being one of the headquarters of Hitler during WWII.
Students show their appreciation at the final party.
We spent the next two weeks in Nikolaev for our third English club in this city.
We were able to have 4 groups of 100 students. Again, most students had
never read the Bible and I was surprised by some of the questions – “Why are
we talking about Jesus? Jesus is dead. We should be talking about God.”
Another student said that perhaps Jesus was an alien from another planet,
that’s why he had special powers.
Attendance was very consistent and students very attentive. The difficulty for
me personally was that my group of lower intermediate students had difficulty
expressing themselves fully (we did use some translation). I am thankful for
the staff couple and student leaders who will be meeting one on one with
each student to answer their questions and share the gospel with them.
A highlight for me in Vinitsa was seeing Natali, who was in my beginner group last summer at Speak Out. Natali, who is from Vinitsa, trusted Christ in the fall with one of the volunteers and even moved up to the intermediate level in our English club!
And I’m also very thankful for the great team of Americans who led the beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons, as well as our Ukrainian team who invited students, arranged all logistics and will do the follow up! And I’m thankful for you, my ministry partners. What a great team!
RICKY ALLEGRETTO--CHILDREN'S RELIEF INTERNATIONAL
The son of missionaries, Ricky grew up in New Jersey, Florida, and finally Texas, where he met his wife Sarah while attending Texas A&M University. Afterward, he studied Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and fell in love with CRI during that time. He and Sarah have two sons, Eli and Jack. Ricky connects CRI with the community by building relationships with local pastors, colleges, and organizations. He also develops intern and team training material.