Aaron Bruski baptizes a new believer in Romania. The Bruskis started one church in Sintelec, Romania. They are working toward planting a second church in another village. BRUSKIS/Provided
By Tobin Perry
ROMANIA — Shopping sprees rarely lead to a lifelong commitment to missions, but one 16 years ago did for a Georgia Baptist family.
In 2003, Aaron and Robin Bruski were living the American dream. Aaron served as a children’s pastor at First Baptist Church of Loganville. Robin had a successful appraisal business. That year marked the first time the couple remembers having extra money to splurge for Christmas.
“We were at the point in life where we had extra money for the first time in our lives. We were married at 18,” Robin said. “That Christmas, I went crazy. I bought so much stuff for our family, and I knew better. I thought this would be great, but as soon as Christmas was over and all the presents were unwrapped, I felt sick about it.”
The next year Robin wanted to do Christmas differently. Instead of giving into commercialism, she wanted the family to spend the holiday serving people who had far less than they did. In 2004, the family didn’t buy any Christmas presents. A trip soon thereafter changed the trajectory of their lives and led to the founding of a ministry in Romania, called Belief in Motion, that ministers to hundreds of orphans and widows in the former Communist country.
Three children in one crib
On that first trip to Romania in 2004, Aaron remembers being moved by the orphans he saw.
“When we went to the abandoned baby hospital, we saw three children in a single crib and there were rows of them,” Aaron said. “We had people with us from several countries, and when we came out, there wasn’t a dry eye among us. The hospital was in bad condition. Urine was everywhere. Windows were broken. Tiles were torn up. It was bad.”
God spoke to the whole family while on that first trip to Romania. Not only did they see a need, but they realized they had specific skills that could help.
Robin says even the children were excited about their experience serving in Romania.
“We thought it would be a good experience for the kids and teach them not to be spoiled and to appreciate what they have, but we had no idea how it was going to rock their world,” Robin said. “We came back and just couldn’t stop thinking about what we had seen.”
On to Romania
The family began praying together for what God might want to do through them in Romania. By the following December, a year after their initial trip to Romania, they boarded a plane to Romania with 14 suitcases, two each for the entire family.
When the family first arrived in Romania, the Bruskis thought they’d lean on Aaron’s background in construction to focus on building homes for the orphans. During their early years in the country, they went into a variety of villages to help at-risk children by providing families with food, fixing up run-down homes, and teaching backyard Bible clubs.
Today, Belief in Motion is based out of the town of Santelec, where they have several ministries, including a church, an afterschool ministry, and several homes for at-risk children. They also have an empowerment ministry that teaches women how to sew and create sellable Romanian clothing products.
Belief in Motion is preparing to start a new school and a new church. They ask Georgia Baptists to pray that God will ease the processing of the necessary paperwork.
Partnership with First Loganville
From the beginning, Belief in Motion involved mission teams from the United States, including many Georgia Baptists, in their work each summer (along with a regular Christmas break mission trip). The volunteer teams provide much-needed ministry support. Like the Bruskis did 16 years ago, many short-term volunteers leave Romania with a newfound passion to help orphans and widows in Romania through both prayer and by providing financial resources.
Telesa Kendall has had a front-row seat to seeing God’s work through the Bruskis for the past 30 years. Her husband is the pastor of FBC Loganville. The church has partnered with the Bruskis through mission trips since the family arrived in Romania.
“They have invested their lives in doing something that most people would rather just give money to,” Kendall said. “You can go and see the same people every time you visit, but the next year you go there’s a difference. There’s a difference because of a family who gave up their cushy jobs to go over there with one goal – to further the kingdom of Christ every day. “
All the Bruskis’ five children are involved in ministry. Three of them live in Romania and are serving Christ there. With two children and grandchildren now back in the United States, it can be difficult to now be separated, yet Aaron and Robin say they have no regrets.
“We do miss our family, but we keep our eyes fixed on what the Bible says,” Robin said. “If we didn’t believe it, we wouldn’t be here. That’s the honest truth. It’s not just a Christian cliché for us. That’s what drives us.
“We know that our time here is getting short. We want to be diligent with what we have in order to share God’s Word, His love, and the Gospel with as many people as we can.”
For more information about Belief in Motion and how your church can be a part of it, visit beliefinmotion.org.
Tobin Perry is an award-winning writer based in Evansville, Ind. Previously he has written for the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board, and Saddleback Church in California. He can be reached through tobinperry.com.