Mike and Ana Dascalescu were miraculously delivered from communist Romania in 1981. Their escape began one night when Mike, a merchant-marine officer, heard God tell him it was time for Ana, her brother and him to flee. As they navigated their way to the ship headed for Greece, God’s miracles began. Even though the entryway was guarded, they walked through the gate without being seen. For the next step in their nighttime journey, Ana (who was pregnant) and her brother had to jump into freezing waters so Mike could hoist them up to the deck using ropes. Ana recounts, “With the rope tied around my waist, Mike began pulling me out of the water. When I was only 15 feet in the air we both saw a searchlight from a patrol boat. At the moment it would have spotted us, the rope snapped, and I was dumped back into the water while the patrol boat changed direction. We knew that God was fully involved in every detail of our escape!”
Mike had a hiding place prepared for them once they were on the ship, but before he could take them to the closet located in the bottom level, Ana and her brother needed to hide in an empty oil tank while a final search of the ship was performed before setting sail. Ana remembers, “While remaining perfectly still, kneeling in a thick layer of sludge, my brother and I could hear the soldiers walking on the oil tank and see the beams of their flashlights penetrating through the cracks, but God again protected us. Soon, I heard a whistle from Mike indicating the coast was clear.” They were able to crawl out of the oil tank and sneak to the small, dark closet that was their cocoon for the next eight days.
When they arrived in Greece, the three snuck off the ship at night and sojourned across Greece into Yugoslavia where they were caught by police and sentenced to three weeks in prison for crossing the border illegally. They were then released with instructions to travel to Italy. Once in Italy, the American Embassy graciously granted political asylum for them to come to the United States which became their home for over 33 years! In 1989 Mike and Ana began serving at GT in Reading, PA.
After their harrowing escape from Romania, why would Mike and Ana want to ever return? Ana simply but passionately says, “Since the fall of communism we feel compelled to take the gospel of Jesus to the Romanian people.” They have done many missions trips back to the very country they had fled and were struck by a shortage of ministers to disciple new converts. It was this need for leaders that prompted them to answer the call to full-time missions. Leaving their secular jobs of business and nursing, leaving their three children and grandchildren, Mike and Ana returned to Romania and are planting churches, training leaders and serving in the unreached region of Southeast Romania.