History and Context
In 1992, such an “accident” of time, place and circumstance occurred in the lives of two men, drawing them into a deep friendship rooted in their love for Christ and His love for the people of Romania. One man was Eugen Groza, a mechanical engineer by training, turned underground pastor to the Christian church during the Communist rule of Romania. The other man was Alec Woodhull, an American businessman and visionary Christian, who travelled to Romania shortly after the fall of communism to see first-hand what brothers and sisters in Romania might be experiencing in the early days of freedom and rebirth.
As in so many of the Eastern European countries that were emerging from the shadow of Communism, the nascent days of freedom in Romania revealed a country devastated by poverty, a lack of social infrastructure to protect its weakest members, and the Church rapidly expanding, but in need of support and training. But God was already at work in the hearts of many brave Romanian men and women, calling forth His own to lead and bring the hope of the Gospel to bear on the physical, social and spiritual needs of their neighbors.
In 1994, at the request of Eugen and Pastor Petru Dugulescu (Co-Founder of Jesus, Hope of Romania-JHOR), Alec and his wife Pati, alongside a fast-growing network of ministry friends in the U.S., launched a nonprofit organization to advocate for JHOR’s work throughout the U.S. Initially named USAffairs, and later updated to Missio International, the Knoxville-based organization grew with the expanding ministry of JHOR from 1994 to 2001, at which time Eugen and Peter formed Missio Link International, a new organization shepherded by Eugen and shaped by Lorena Rusovan and Emil Toader. Through strategic and Spirit-led growth, MLI now focuses in three key areas: transforming the lives of at-risk children, equipping the growing local churches in Romania, and fostering a deepened call to leadership development across all segments of Romania and even the world.
Throughout its history, Missio International has enjoyed a rich relational ministry with Missio Link International in Romania, a highly engaged board of directors in the U.S., a constant pool of volunteer leaders, a small but dedicated staff committed to conducting myriad tasks on a limited budget, and strict legal and financial compliance with granting foundations, church partners, individual donors, and government authorities.
This vibrant work of God continues, even though Eugen and Alec have all been called Home to be with the Lord in recent years. Carrying on the vision birthed over 30 years ago, Missio International in Knoxville and Missio Link International in Timisoara, Romania continue in ministry partnership with a new generation of believers and friends.