It is with a heavy heart, and yet a deep sense of peace, that I share with you about my good friend who was promoted to heaven on August 6, 2012. Teodor Ciuciui was one of the rare men of our generation who believed against the impossible and raised up both a wonderful family and a great church that has greatly impacted the nation of Romania.
It was in 1990 that I visited Romania for the first time. Bro. Vasile Rady, who is now in our church, was from there and was well known among the Christians of Romania. Shortly after the fall of the dictator he told me “now is the time, you must go toRomania.” Within a few short months I found myself with a group of young people from Portland Bible College, along with Wendell Smith and Tim Smith, on our way to Romania. The situation was very bleak as there was a lot of political unrest and we found ourselves in the middle of it.
We already had a great love for Romania because the Rady family had told us of things that were happening and how we needed to help the Christians in their country. The game plan at that time was to spend the weekends in churches and during the week we would meet with pastors in five different cities. I realized by visiting the churches that there was going to be no real move of God unless there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s presence upon the churches, because of the legalism that I witnessed.
I remember very clearly the day I met Teo Ciuciui. We were in the city of Oradea. He stood out from the rest of the pastors and there was an obvious anointing upon him. I knew the moment I met him that God was making a divine connection with this man. I went up to him and introduced myself and that started a journey that continues to this day.
I invited the Ciuciui family to come to America to attend Portland Bible College and Bible Temple, at our expense. It was during this time that their understanding of the local church was broadened and they experienced the joy of “free praise” that marked them for life. It was a wonderful investment in a great family and a great country.
He came back with a new spirit, no longer the legalistic dead form of the past, but a living presence of the Lord in the house of God. He was able to rally many supporters behind his vision and buildings were built and a great church has been raised up. I honestly don’t believe it would have happened without the vision of Teo Ciuciui.
Teo was well respected in his city. When he reached high school age he made the decision that he wanted an education. He walked from his family farm into the city and pursued an education. He went on to attend university and became an engineer. He had friends in many different arenas and it was not uncommon for him to say, “I have a friend who will help me.”
Teo was a family man. He was a loving and faithful husband of 35+ years to Zamfira. Together they raised a great family – Ted, Jr., Calin, Danny and Ligia, who are all trained and capable to run with the baton their father has left them.
I am so grateful for the relationship that started 22 years ago that continues on through Zamfira and the family. Heaven is only richer because a great man by the name of Teodor Ciuciui has gone ahead of us.