It was in the mid-1960s when, after climbing the 56 steps to his tiny apartment in Deva, I first met Dr. Nick. My earliest memories of him were two-fold: respect for his zeal and passion for witnessing and winning souls to Jesus Christ, and awe that he was Romania’s premier Endocrinologist.
Choose Between Christ or Your Career
Dr. Nick will always be remembered for his courage in standing firm against the communist authorities. When they came to his office at the hospital in Deva and issued the intimidating ultimatum: "We give you 30 days. You must choose between your Christ and your career." his response was: "I don't need 30 days, or 30 hours, or 30 seconds. If I must choose between my career and my Saviour, I choose Jesus Christ!"
Pastor to the Persecuted
We remember when the Lord called him to pastor Second Baptist Church in Oradea. He travelled from Deva each weekend, without official approval, with only a small green suitcase mostly filled with books. Once we found him at the Manse, in the dark to avoid discovery, burning corncobs in the stove to generate heat without producing any tell-tale smoke.
Serving the Suffering
Our daughter Lenora was baptized in Second Baptist Church. Over the years we were privileged to participate in some of the projects Dr. Nick initiated – including the Bethesda Medical Clinic in Oradea and Casa Dorca, the Baptist orphanage in Prilipet. Without his vision and initiative these ministries and many others would not exist.
A Friend Indeed
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay on for a while and leave footprints on our heart. What an honour for Harriett ("Tanta Billa") and me (Fratele Bill) to be 'a friend of Dr. Nick' – one we will never forget and whose friendship we will treasure for the rest of our lives. Hardly a day passes when either Tanta Billa or I will say, using Dr. Nick's accent, "Be careful!" He always stressed the 'b as in 'be-e-e'. Never have verb and adjective been so meaningfully combined or repeated so often.
He Will Be Missed
We sorely regret that we cannot be with you physically at this time dear Cornelia, Radu, Corina and Ema, but we share your sorrow because we too will miss Dr. Nick, whom we love. How wonderful that these tears are only temporary, because "we sorrow not as others who have no hope."
In Sure and Certain Hope of the Resurrection
Dr. Nick has encountered the "last enemy" – death. But he did not have to face him alone. Our great Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ has taken the sting from this relentless foe. Dr. Nick has gone through the Valley of the Shadow and emerged victorious on the other side. We shall all follow shortly. It’s imperative to be ready for that Divine appointment: "…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27
Our hearts are grateful for every footprint our precious brother, Dr. Nicolae Gheorghita, has left behind.
In respectful memory, Rev. Bill and Harriett Bathman
Mesa, Arizona – USA