Anda Constantin shifted her weight from one foot to another and peeked out
past her father’s leg. She looked forward, then backward. She
couldn’t see the end of the line in either direction. She turned her
worn punch card over in her little hand. It was her ticket to a half a loaf
of bread that day, maybe three ounces of meat that week. Every person in
that line that stretched beyond her vision held a similar card, even her
father, a dedicated member of the communist army. His rank and service made
no difference; hunger was the standard in Bucharest, Romania, in the 1980s.
For Anda’s first eight years of life, her mother scraped together
meager meals of cabbage and potatoes and their family’s rations of
bread and meat. Anda had no clue that in other parts of the world, children
ate until they were full, had closets full of toys, and never knew a day
without heat or electricity.
She also had no clue who Jesus was. Like many people living in Romania at
that time, she had never even heard His name.
* * * *
Nearly 170 miles away in Transylvania, Romania, young Ben Mogos collected
eggs from the hens in his grandparents’ backyard. Unlike Anda, Ben
knew the taste of milk and butter and eggs—foods his family made and
gathered themselves on the small plot of land where their house stood. At
Christmastime, he received oranges, chocolate, bananas, and toys. But his
family, too, knew the harsh, stripping hand of communism.
Communists had confiscated all their farmland, everything other than the
house and its yard. Ben’s family had to portion their electricity.
Heat and running water were scarce. His father—a
preacher—and his grandfather—also a preacher—were enemies
of the regime, simply because they were Christians committed to the Great
Ben scanned the horizon carefully. He glanced toward the stacks of hay
where his father hid his Bible from the police. At that moment, inside the
house, his mother was tapping away at her illegal typewriter, making copies
of illegal Christian resources. His father and grandfather were making
plans to show the Jesus film again under the cover of night and
behind closed curtains.
They had received the film, as well as the resources Ben's mother copied,
from Campus Crusade for Christ teams who smuggled Christian materials into
Romania—people like Insight for Living Ministries’ board member
Ney Bailey. Ben’s neighbors would come to watch the film that night,
their interest piqued by whispered mentions of a God who loved them so much
He gave up His own Son to save their lives. They would leave with truth in
their hands and hearts.
A chill ran up Ben’s neck as he kept watch for anyone approaching the
house. He had heard many times the stories of those who dared to proclaim
the gospel in his communist country. Many preachers spent decades behind
bars. Some endured torture. Others had “accidents” that took
* * * *
In 1989, Ben and Anda, still miles apart, celebrated their eighth and ninth
birthdays respectively. By December, they were also celebrating new life in
their country. Revolution had finally arrived in Romania, setting the
people free from communism.
“I remember,” Ben recollects, “when communism fell and
people could just go out and buy ice cream. Whenever you wanted,
you could buy it! I’ll never forget how colorful and wonderful that
As political revolution shed new, colorful light across the once gray and
dark country, an equally miraculous revolution happened in Anda’s
home. She shares:
My father was raised by a believing grandmother who prayed for him to come
to faith. However, at age 14, he went to the military high school. Nobody
even bothered to tell my father that God didn’t exist. They assumed
that, as an intellectual, he didn’t believe. They did tell
him he wasn’t allowed to talk to Christians or read the Bible. It was
only a matter of time before he became an atheist and, eventually, an
officer for the regime.
He became passionate about communism and atheism. In fact, he had
a dream to write a book using arguments from the Bible to prove that God
didn’t exist. But after the Revolution, the people’s interest
in spiritual things grew and we started having freedom of the press. My
father began reading articles that talked about the spiritual world.
At first, he was just interested in these articles. But then, one day, he
realized he actually believed there was something beyond this material
world. And then, remembering the gospel his grandmother had shared, he
thought, “If there IS something more, if God exists, then I have to
repent!” I was 11 years old when he became a believer in 1992, and it
was the first time I heard the name of Jesus.
Anda’s entire family came to know Jesus as their Savior through her
father’s testimony. Soon after, with a diagnosis of leukemia, he
found himself medically discharged from the military. He decided to go to
seminary and become a pastor—a path that led him back to the
military, this time as the very first evangelical chaplain in the history
Anda recalls, “My father said, ‘You know, I’ve fought
against God in the Romanian military, and I now want to honor Him in the
Luxuries like “ice cream whenever you wanted” served as the
cherries on top of the now freely flowing necessities of meat, running
water, heating, and electricity that the people of Romania finally had.
Ben’s father and grandfather no longer had to proclaim the gospel
against terror. But they faced a new obstacle: a spiritual famine every bit
as severe as the physical one communism had imposed. Anda’s father
wasn’t the only new believer who joined the effort to feed
Romanians’ starving souls. Within a year of the Revolution, Ben took
up the mantle too:
It was on a Sunday evening in 1990 during a revival in a small Baptist
church that I surrendered my life to Christ and trusted Him as my Savior.
My parents had moved from Transylvania to the south of the country as
missionaries, finally free to plant churches and share the gospel. It was
during high school that I was called by the Lord to full-time ministry.
About seven years after Ben’s profession of faith, the Lord finally
crossed his and Anda’s paths. They were teenagers and at a church
camp outside of both of their hometowns. Anda caught Ben’s eye when
she fell into a river! He caught her heart when he sat with her afterward
to keep her company as the sun dried her embarrassment and her clothes.
They spent hours talking and growing a friendship at that camp. But then
they returned to their homes and didn’t hear from or see each other .
. . until they both “happened” to be called to ministry and
both “happened” to end up at the same Bible college in
“I was in this new city where I knew no one . . . and then, there she
was,” Ben remembers with a smile. “She showed me around the
city, we began dating, and we married our junior year.”
“That was nearly 16 years ago!” Anda chimes in. “We now
have a seven-year-old son!”
And a son wasn’t the only adventure the Lord had in store for this
pair He brought together for His glory.
From regime to revolution, from Transylvania to Bucharest, and eventually
from Bucharest to Dallas, Texas, and back—the Lord has paved
the way for these two Romanians to change their country together
with Insight for Living Ministries . . . and YOU. They’ve tackled the
spiritual hunger in their homeland with the same fever and commitment their
fathers did, remembering the first time they felt full 30 years ago,
first in their bodies and then in their souls. To them, the love of Christ
and the nurturing truth and practical help of His Word add far more color
and wonder to their world than even ice cream to a little boy free to enjoy
it for the first time.
* * * *
Ben and Anda eventually attended Dallas Theological Seminary together
and both became interns at Insight for Living Ministries. In 2011, they
joined our team as full-time staff members working on translating our
resources into Romanian. In 2014, they helped establish Insight for
Living Romania, where today, Ben serves as the pastor and Anda as the
executive director. They’ve also become the prototype of
discipleship and training for
Vision 195—Insight for Living Ministries’ strategy to make disciples
in all 195 nations.