The story of how I met Rimona Goiti (nee Macavie) is told in the Daily Bites section. This is Rimona's testimony as printed in the A.P.C. News a few years ago. The article was entitled 'Found Happiness in God', and thankfully Rimona has given me permission to publish it on this site.
With a surname Macavie, she could be from Scotland! It is her name that betrays her Latin connections. Rimona comes from Romania.
However, what is important is not where we have come from, but where we are going. The ultimate destination is what matters most. National pride may have some healthy features, but there is no racial superiority which qualifies for Heaven.
How wonderfully rich is the grace and mercy of God who takes people from the four corners under the heavens and brings them to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the following account of her life, Rimona tells us about some of the ways in which the Lord has dealt with her and how she came to be involved with the work of Blythswood in her native land.
Her mother was converted when Rimona was ten years old, so she grew up under that Christian influence. Of her childhood and teenage years, Rimona says, "I knew the Word of God, but did not understand in reality what 'born again' meant or what a Christian was."
All that she wanted was to be happy. She felt that as a strong need, but was unable to articulate it. She went to church believing that she would find happiness there, but she was disappointed. Instead, she was overwhelmed by the legalism of the church, and Christianity seemed to be to her just a set of rules. Aged seventeen she realised that she was not finding happiness in church, so she decided to give it up and go no more.
She knew many Scripture verses, including Revelation 3: 15-16, but she put aside her bible and all Christian books. She made the break complete by telling her mother that she would not be going to church anymore, and for ten years she avoided all church people and contacts, apart from brief, necessary visits. Now she sought happiness in all the things that had been 'forbidden' before, such things as drinking, smoking, parties and such like activities. She believed that she would find in these what the church had failed to provide. In all of these ten years Rimona felt that God was speaking to her in many ways, but she did not want to listen. She felt herself saying to God, "I don't want you." As time went on and her search was still futile, she began to consider all the things that supposedly were bringing happiness. There was university career, boyfriends, smoking.
However, she was discovering that, in truth, none of them was bringing true happiness. She next considered marriage, and planned to marry her boyfriend, although she was insure that he was the right man for her and whether they would be committed to one another. She asked for her sister's opinion as to whether her boyfriend was the right man for marriage! Rimona's sister was a Christian, so she suggested that Rimona ask God about it! There seemed to be no answer from God, and Rimona was very angry - Why was he not hearing her?
These events were happening in the years and months leading up to September 1992. However, the Lord was working other events in Rimona's life, and all the pieces would fall into place according to his plan. She, with a group of friends, was returning from a holiday in Hungary in July of that same year. At the Romanian border they joined a long line of cars. There was also a huge queue of vans and lorries waiting for permission to enter Romania. After about an hour's wait, she went for a walk along the line of waiting vehicles, and she spoke to a man who was also out walking. Seeing the verses from the Bible on his vehicle, she asked if he was a Christian. She soon discovered that he was in a party of six men from the Island of Lewis in Scotland.
They had three Blythswood vehicles, and they were heading for Iasi, in Romania. She invited them to go ahead of her in the line-up, and she helped them with their papers at Customs. As a result, they were passed through the border very quickly. She then invited them to call at her home in Cluj for a meal. The outcome was that on their journey to, and from Oradea, the Blythswood convoy stayed with Rimona. She and one of the Lewis men exchanged letters, and God spoke to her through these.
This takes her story through the six weeks leading up to September 1992, and the time when her sister suggested to her to ask God about her concern over marriage. At that time Isaiah Chapter 59: 1-3, and she underwent the new birth on September 4th, 1992. Following this, she felt a great need for guidance to help her know right from wrong. She gave up her very stressful managerial position in a printing factory, and felt that Psalm 37: 3-7 were given to her as a promise from God.
One of the letters from the Isle of Lewis asked for help with the placing of items about to be delivered to Romania. She inquired about this at her church and was put in touch with Rona Mackenzie and Blythswood. The rest of her story is that she is now fully involved in the charity's work in Romania and experiencing the happiness she had so unsuccessfully sought before she came to believe in God and his Son, the Lord Jesus. "He loved me before I repented."
The above article was written in 1995. Rimona has since married Daniel Goiti and they have two boys, Asher and Philip. This year Rimona started up her own charity called 'Herald', helping those in need in her home town of Cluj. It is hoped that Rimona will give an update of her own in the months ahead.
My first meeting with Rimona. Rimona with John Macdonald outside her flat in Cluj