Founder, Romania for Jesus, M.Div. '88.
When Elena Bogdan was 26, she escaped Communist Romania, and the possibility of a 6-year prison sentence for her role in assisting persecuted Christians, by floating across the Danube on an air mattress. Only later did Elena learn that her husband, Traian, had died and did not escape. After seeking refuge in the U.S, and earning her Seminary degree, Elena returned to Romania in 1990 after the fall of Communism. She established her ministry, Romania for Jesus, with a newspaper ad and rented space, and two months later, the ministry had grown to a core of 13 people. "For several years I was wearing many hats: evangelist, church planter, pastor, teacher, counselor, administrator, boss, president, fundraiser and so on," said Elena. Today, there are 14 churches in Romanian and gypsy communities that have emerged out of the ministry, and 20 full-time national workers. Her harrowing and courageous story was chronicled in Women as Risktakers for God. (Visit www.denverseminary.edu to read the chapter.) "I received the dangers and difficulties as part of the normal price we are called to pay for following Christ and His calling," said Elena. "To me, there was no other way."