I met Richard Brooks on a Russian train traveling from Vologda to Moscow in 1998. We had both finished preaching revivals in Vologda and Sokal. It was a 9 hour train ride sharing our compartment with a couple of Russian travelers. His drug smuggling days had brought him to the end of his rope in an Australian Prison. It was during that prison stint that he heard the gospel and called out on God. “Anyone who calls out upon the name of the LORD shall be saved”.
What he experienced transformed him on the inside. Fellow prisoners and guards wanted to know what had happened to him. His answers started a spiritual movement in that prison. This awakening spread from cell block to cell block and even to other prisons in Australia. Soon Richard, an American, was deported to America. He eventually found himself attracted to the Christian rock cafes in California. In Europe, the Iron Curtain was coming down. Richard joined a group of young Christians and travelled to the nation of Romania to distribute bibles and preach the gospel.
It was here that he met his future wife, Anna. Marrying Anna he decided to stay in Romania and start a church under the new democratic leadership. Christianity, having been persecuted and suppressed for so long, was now able to be talked about without threat of prison. Young people were attracted to a message that has rung true with people wanting more from life all over the world.
He pastored those young people for 10 years. The young people grew and prospered in the Lord. They married and became a beacon of light in Romania. The church grew and prospered. The church began to send some of their young couples out to other cities of Romania to spread the gospel. One couple was sent into Switzerland. The day came when Richard needed to turn what God had done through him over to one of the Romanian pastors he had trained up.
He has been an evangelist here in the U.S. for the last 8 years. He keeps a busy schedule, traveling overseas, to all corners of the world and returning to Romania to encourage the churches that are still growing and spreading in that nation. We will be blessed to have him preaching for us. We will start Saturday with some help from the Carbondale church followed by a meal at the church.