Updated: Aug 20, 2018
Hi Carmen! It’s so good to talk to you again. I’m excited for our readers to get to know you. Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you live, your family, what sort of things you enjoy?
Hello Eileen, it is really nice to have this conversation. Thank you for the chance to do this. I live together with my mother and brother in Sibiu, a town situated in the middle of Romania, in the Eastern Europe. I love Jesus with all my heart and my life rotates around my relationship with Him, as He is my Lord, my husband and directs my steps. Shortly after I graduated University, my father died in a wreck (I was 27 years old) and all three of us returned to the Lord. Our whole universe was shaken and meeting Jesus was the best thing that could ever happen to us. I was self-employed for many years, doing various activities and the last one was having a small store that became my “mission field” and many people found Jesus there.
At the same time I had a prayer group with young girls from church, which developed into a larger mix group, with young and not so young, men and women, then it became one of the cell groups of the church I was in and after leaving the church it became a house church. In mean time, I worked for a Christian American company that trained us in programming and then hired us. For about 17 years I had the chance to learn a lot, improve my English knowledge and build websites, all these being the core of what I am actually doing now for God's Kingdom, as my ministry now is mainly on websites and Facebook.
When you were growing up, things were very different in Romania than they are now. Is that correct? Can you tell us what you remember and what it was like to live under a Communist regime?
Oh yes, since the eighties it got worse and worse. We had our food rationed, (bread, sugar, oil, flour) in smaller amounts than would be enough for a normal person. Butter was very rare, and basically the food stores shelves were mostly empty. All areas of life were affected and we were scared to not be heard by the regime forces that we don't love the president and we do not want communism. Many died because of it. There was one benefit - education and health care were free. But the cost for having that was way to high. The general feeling was that we lived in a huge cage with invisible bars that hold us inside the borders of the country, as traveling abroad was very rare allowed, too. Most of those who managed to get out, never came back, so they did all they could to keep us inside the country. Communism is a regime against God and pretends to be egalitarian, just to seduce the masses, based on major lies and it is altogether against its own people. In reality, the communist leaders lived in luxury while the people were starving, lacking the essentials. Fear, oppression and despair were common in those days. When the president considers himself God and denies the real true God, nothing can go well.
Did you ever think God would use you as a Pastor for a home church? Was that even a possibility in your mind?
No way! Especially knowing that women have no rights in the Romanian church. I was already leading the prayer meetings, in our home for about 15 years when it became a house church, and I was doing the ministry of a pastor all these years, but I never considered myself as one. When people started telling me that I was their true pastor and not the church's pastor they belonged to, I was shocked.
Were there any mental obstacles that you needed to overcome in order to “say yes” and walk out what God was calling you to?
The biggest one was the general agreed teaching that “women cannot lead or teach men, it is written, black on white!” Then it was the fear of the other Christians in town, as all pastors turned against me.
What truth(s) do you wish more Christians would take hold of today? What do you really want people to know and understand?
I would love to see all Christians free in Jesus, living to please God and knowing that by doing so, we do ourselves the biggest favor. Studying God's word, hearing His voice and obeying Him are the main keys to living right and fulfilling God's plan in our lives. Knowing that for God there is no male and female, but we are all one in Christ is also a major truth. There are so many gifted and called Christians that do not enter in what God created them to be, because they believe the lie and can't get behind the veil of what is written, but it does not mean what it seems.
Can you talk to us for a bit about what it is like to be a woman in a leadership role in ministry in your city? Has it been your experience that Romania still clings to gender roles in the church and/or prohibits women from holding certain positions within the church?
In my early years in Church, I had the highest level of education, so the pastors were very proud of me and used me a lot for interpreting for American preachers that were visiting us and later also to teach for women meetings. But after I had the “being slain in the Spirit” experience and receiving strong prophetic words about future ministry in 1996, they started to push me aside and forbid the youth to visit me or come to my meetings. Even in those terms, as they saw that most of the new comers to church that would be baptized and become members were from my group, they offered me to turn it into a church cell-group, so they admit me as a group leader and then the church voted me as part of the church board, to supervise the books. That was huge for our town and country.
But as the religiosity grew in church and other bad things were going on without the pastors to be willing to change anything, the Lord started to give me prophetic dreams and visions to show me is time to “step out of the boat”. After I finally did it, in 2009 the persecution went through the roof and I found myself isolated from all churches. It was a painful process, but I do not regret it. Being in God's will is the best place to be. At the last prayer meeting I attended, as most new protestant church in town met once a month, one of the pastors, required a special prayer for the single women in church to “find their rest in the house of a man”. Now that was the peak, as I know how most of the church men treated their wives... there was no rest in that! The same pastor, in the same messages added that he has tons of great women that would do a great job ruling the church, but he cannot use them, as the Bible forbids him... I am saying that as a conclusion of what the majority Romanian church leaders think about women.
Have you ever been wounded or rejected as you’ve stepped out in faith? Can you share a bit about that and how you dealt with/recovered from it?
Are you really asking me this? Just kidding! Yeah, you know I was and who wasn't? Since the beginning many considered me and my mom as fanatics, taking Christian life too serious, so we heard a lot of bad opinions in that direction. Then, after stepping out from the church system, was very hard when people we used to trust or the ones we did our best to help and be there for them, “showed their true colors.” But no one is perfect, neither am I and by trying “to be in their shoes” and understanding why would they do what they did to hurt me, helped me to get over it. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a demand. If I do not forgive, God won't forgive my sins either, so I would pay a huge price and not the one who hurt me. Each of us is responsible of our own actions. Also, thinking that for sure I disappointed others too along the years, no matter how much I tried to do right, is always helping me to get over what others did against me.
What would you say are your greatest strengths/giftings and how did you learn to flow in them? Did you ever make any mistakes? If so, what did you learn from those mistakes that might help some of our readers who find themselves in the same position?
This is a tough question. I know I am the happiest when I minister to people, by sharing the Gospel, praying for them, counseling them, so yeah I believe I have a pastor/teacher call on my life. I also love to study God's word and dig deep into it. I believe that the key to spiritual growth is being 100% sold out to Jesus, being hungry for more of Him, prayer and worship, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us and reveal the truth of God's Word and His plan for us. Making mistakes is part of learning and growing process. I was blaming and being very harsh on myself. When I was saying or thinking what I should not say or think God taught me something very important. God showed me that He sees what is going on in the spiritual realm around us, when we do wrong or sin and He judges us according to all factors. It is so important to react instantly to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repent and ask forgiveness ASAP and then move on. That spares us of lots of pain. The hardest lesson for me was when God told me that I am no one's policeman. My job is not to keep people safe and secure in Christ, my role is to teach them the truth of God's Word and help them when needed and when they want help. I am still working to improve in that area. The main key is receiving God's love and then giving it to others, as agape love covers it all!
What is your vision for the Church (all Jesus followers) in Romania and the world?
The Bible is talking about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God's church is the last days. And if Perter was saying in Acts 2 that they were in the last days, how much more we are almost 2000 years later? We hear how God performs miracles in many churches around the globe proofing this very thing. Miracles are the best tool to bring the lost to Jesus, as people are searching for the supernatural. So I believe that we have to be open to what the Holy Spirit is doing, thirst for more of Him and then follow His leading, trying to reach as many souls as possible. My dream is to see a big revival in my nation and in every other nation.
We first met when I came over as a missionary and you were my translator! What effect have missionaries had on your ministry?
God used missionaries to show me that women can teach and preach His Word and the Holy Spirit uses them as He uses men. Also, through you and the teams you brought with you, I and my house church learned what it means to be free in Jesus. I cannot imagine how my walk with Jesus would be without meeting and learning from you all!
Speak a minute to the single women (and men) out there. How have you seen God use your singleness to advance His Kingdom through you?
God has always the perfect plan for every single one of us. If He planned a marriage for one, He wired that person for that kind of a life, if for some, including me, the plan is to be single, then this is best for me and for my ministry. As Paul said, when a person is married has to take care to please his/her spouse and has less time for God. There are good and bad things about being married or single. Each person is different and deals with life and issues in a certain way. I am blessed to have a wonderful mother that supports my ministry and lives for Jesus.
If I would have a husband, I don't believe I could do what I did for God, even if he would be a strong Christian and would not stop me from ministering, having to take care of him also, besides the full time job, would not allow me to be there for every person's need. Things would be way different. Along the years, many women came to Jesus as they felt free to visit us, when they needed, and there was no spouse to make faces or need my help, at the same time. I was able to focus on loving and helping people more as being single than I could as being married.
That's really great, Carmen. I love your insight. If people want to hear more about what you’re doing or follow you on social media, where can they find you?
On Facebook, my English ministry page is: Carmen Puscas Ministries – English Version