This edition of The Link will tell some of the stories and vision that have defined Missio Link International’s beautiful mountaintop retreat named Alpinis. It is a story that dates back to the early Romans in 100 AD, to this day in 2021!
I find Romania is a study in contrasts. It is still a country emerging from the devastating effects of Communism and the destruction of its people’s souls. Recently, as I was reading a history of Romania, I pondered the shifts of powers that have long pulled Romania into pieces and have currently brought it back under a central government. Specifically, the land that Alpinis sits on, has been subject to good and bad kingdoms, from the Roman period through the centuries until the two World Wars ended in a Communist dictatorship lasting until 1989. Evil dictators, rulers and corrupt governments have attempted to devour and destroy the country and its people for centuries. When thinking of the epic nature of this land and story that encompasses Romania, I recall one of the road trips our group took from Timisoara, a modern city, to Alpinis, located in Transylvania in the mountains near Sibiu. We stopped to wander among some Roman ruins, (literally beside the road) and then visited Hunedoara Castle (built in 1446), while driving through rural villages looking like they did in 1910.
At the end of our road trip, the van climbed the mountain up a winding two lane road emerging from the woods onto a pastoral scene with “Alpine- like” mountains surrounding the high pastures. It was incredible! At the top, we turned left onto the long curving driveway to Alpinis! There, in front of us, a beautiful, yet unfinished building awaits us that is the promise of a new season for MLI and Romania!
This new structure was birthed by MLI and friends who could imagine what was possible. The original Alpinis Villa is just a mile or less down the road. When it became apparent that the original Villa couldn’t accommodate the numbers of campers, leaders and visitors that came for programs, a dream was birthed. Friends of MLI, MI Board members, and a few churches rallied around this dream. The vision was to create a place of recreation, restoration and training that would provide people of all ages an experience of God’s creation through outdoor adventures, quality teaching, delicious meals and comfortable beds. These are the same activities that have been successfully taking place at the Alpinis Villa since 2004. This expanded vision enables the same programing for larger and more varied groups. The new Alpinis will be a multi-use facility that will allow MLI the ability to provide camps, retreats, hospitality, training conferences, workshops, and diverse outdoor experiences. It will sleep 70 people, feed up to 120 people in the dining room and porches and seat 120 people in the conference room!
This facility will triple our capacity to provide opportunities to equip all ages in expanding leadership skills in churches, businesses and in their communities where they work and serve.
We have arrived on the scene in this moment of Romania’s history with a call to pray for a movement, not merely a building, but a Redeeming Mission that proclaims that our God is bringing healing and restoration to his people in Eastern Europe and especially Romania. This building is a declaration to the history and the unseen powers that the Lord of all Creation has reclaimed this land for His own!
The Vision of Alpinis
Emil Toader, Missio Link International President
I was blessed to weave the love for church and people and the love for nature and outdoors as part of my work. Both, church and outdoors, had a significant transformative impact on my life and faith. One of the threads that is woven into the vision for Alpinis starts with my personal experience of God’s grace in outdoors and mountaineering which turned into a desire to facilitate that experience for others, especially youth. Single threads are easily broken; other threads shaped and strengthened the vision for Alpinis: friends and partners coming alongside to affirm, support and shape the vision to share and equip others for life with the Gospel of Christ through Alpinis. As we turn the page for the next chapter of Alpinis we take a bold step forward.
Beyond impacting youth with the Gospel through outdoors and equipping Christian leaders through trainings, our vision is to use our unique alpine location to serve schools and professional and business communities with programs of leadership, team building and community development.
The Alpinis Experience
Lois Rosenberry, Missio International Board Member
The hills are alive with the sound of …..horse-drawn wagons, the quiet movement of sheep, and the gentle voices of those who find refuge in this serene setting. It is a holy place set apart for spiritual renewal, youth retreats, and Christian leadership training.
Our church mission team always ends our trips with a stop at Alpinis. Originally one of our team members wondered why we did not head directly home. But after two days of prayer and reflection, he said he would not have wanted to miss this amazing experience. For it is here that we were drawn closer to our Creator and to each other.
While we have been blessed by staying at the original Alpinis villa, we anxiously await the completion of the expansion project on the nearby hillside. Not only have our mission team members gotten excited about the potential for the new facility, but also three generations of our family.
When we sometimes wonder where the donations will come from to complete this facility, we are reminded that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and has all the resources at His command.
May all who hear His voice respond generously so the Alpinis expansion project will be completed. We are confident that many will be drawn to Christ as they experience Him in a new way on these holy grounds.
WOW…and so it begins
What started as a dream in 2001 with Eugen Groza,Emil Toader, Alec and Pati Woodhull turned into a reality in 2013 when Bill and Bonnie Kinchner teamed up with Emil to begin the planning for the Alpinis Expansion Project. Fast forward to the spring of 2022….Opening Day!
With God’s blessing, gracious giving and a lot of prayer…. Over 90% of the funds needed for the completion of the project have been received or pledged!!
The past four months we have focused on developing a business plan to maximize the impact of MLI’s many years of success serving Romania. At the core of MLI’s success has been the ability to develop emerging leaders. A natural progression for MLI and this new facility is to grow its influence in impacting others.
The completed Alpinis Expansion Project will be a premier leadership and training center. Beyond impacting youth with the Gospel through the outdoors and equipping Christian leaders, our vision is to use our unique alpine location to serve schools, professionals and the business community with programs of leadership, team building and community development.
With the expansion project MLI is able to reach many more people in Romania by offering a broader perspective on leadership through the lens of Christianity.
As we look forward, we see this as a significant opportunity to help MLI become more self-sufficient. The capability to expand MLI’s influence in Romania is best depicted by the diagram above which integrates MLI’s Core Programs with expanded offerings.
There is a lot to be done over the next year and funding needs remain. We are about $200,000 short of the funding needed to complete the project. Start- up expenses for personnel, training, technology, branding, marketing and initial working capital will also be needed over the next few months.
A Word From MI Knoxville
Shelby Trusley, MI Knoxville Executive Team Member
I hope you enjoy our stories of the history, vision and experience of our beloved Alpinis. This is a long held dream of both MLI and MI to see the day that Alpinis will finally be open to the many Romanian children, youth, and adults from all walks of life. We believe God has provided the vision and place to encourage, train, and challenge all who spend time there. We envision outdoor experiences including day hikes, backpacking, ropes courses, and ski camps. Alpinis will also offer space for church retreats and leadership development. It will always be a blessed place for our precious Deborah girls to experience God in the magnificence of His creation. And, it will become a place of training and developing leaders throughout Romania in integrated workshops and retreats equipping all ages for serving in schools, business and local communities. We humbly invite you to join us in prayer and giving to help Emil and his crew finish the construction and furnishing of Alpinis.
To His Glory,
Help Us Cross the Finish Line
Gifts of $100-$500
Linens for bedrooms, beds, first-aid supplies, multi-purpose tables, chairs, dishes, and sink cabinets.
Gifts of $500-$2,000
Technology equipment, reception area furniture, two commercial ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, deep fryers, and ventilation systems.
To give online go to:
Send a check made payable to:
P.O. Box 10967
Knoxville, TN 37939
Please put “Alpinis Expansion Project” in the memo line