This past November, Nate and Chris Belkstrom left their home in Redwood Falls and traveled to Eastern Europe.
The fact that they made the trip is nothing new for them.
In fact, this most recent missions trip was their 41st to that part of the world.
The two, who also serve in ministry at Living Word Church in Redwood Falls, have a passion for and a calling to help the people of Eastern Europe as they recover from the horrors of atheistic communism.
Most recently, those travels have been to Romania.
The Belkstroms make their trips to focus specifically on helping people improve their lives by offering a training program known as Victory in the Workplace.
Nate does workplace training at churches, Teen Challenge centers, for business and on Alpha and Omega TV.
According to the Belkstroms, the people of Romania and in other parts of Eastern Europe are hungry for ethical change in their country in both government and in the workplace.
People also want to change the reputation that Romania has of being a lawless nation.
For example, human sex trafficking is a major problem in Romania. Recently two teenage girls were kidnapped, but one was able to use a phone to call and give authorities information about where they were. Rather than responding immediately, the authorities waited until the next morning, and by that time the girls had been moved and disappeared.
Issues like this are not uncommon in Romania.
The people of Romania have suffered under the German occupation during World War II as well as the brutal dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.
With 5 million Romanians working outside of their home country and sending money home, many families are split up, which is leading to other issues, they added.
Many Romanians respect Americans and look to people like the Belkstroms as a sign of hope for a better future for their country.
The Belkstroms were in northern Italy weeks before the coronavirus broke out.
In February, Italy became the European epicenter of the virus. There are 1.5 million Romanians who work in Italy and come home on holidays.
According to the Belkstroms, “everyone knew it wouldn’t be long before the virus spread to Romania.”
On March 10, Nate was in western Romania doing a TV program, while Chris had a meeting at a coffee shop in Bucharest. When leaving the coffee shop, she tripped and fractured her foot.
President Trump made his first speech regarding Americans returning home from Europe as soon as possible March 11.
The Belkstrom’s daughter called them in the middle of the night, suggesting they leave as soon as possible. After hours of searching, they found a plane home that same day. They packed up their apartment and personal belongings, finishing just in time to get to the airport.
Romania had already closed its borders, and they left just in time before things got worse.
Because of a forced overnight in Poland on the way home, the Belkstroms flew out hours before Poland closed its border to all foreigners coming and going.
They returned to Redwood March 14 and self-quarantined at home for 14 days.
Two days after they arrived at home, Minnesotans were told to stay at home.
The Belkstroms are planning on making another trip this fall. After all, as the Belkstroms indicated, Jesus said, “Go.” He did not say, “Stop.”