Daniel Iuras trained for months for Romania’s national cycling tour, Tour of Romania. He’s cycled in years past, and as a character coach in Romania, prayed this year would be no exception. Iuras trained for months, as this was prime time to share the Gospel with fellow riders.
But when the Romanian Cycling Federation decided to break the tour down into certain town clubs due to COVID-19 regulations, his town of Cluj didn’t make the cut. Iuras would not race. His hope deflated, but God soon brought him in on a bigger plan. He would find a way to ride, though not how he originally planned.
Iuras reached out to the federation and asked to be an assistance car during the race driving up and down the mountain and give water to the cyclists. The federation couldn’t believe he was asking to serve, but quickly accepted his offer.
On race day, Iuras filled his car with water bottles and other fuel for the cyclists and spent the next six hours handing out supplies and speaking words of encouragement to not just the cyclists in the lead, but those in the back. They were grateful for the water yet surprised by the support. Iuras was asked why he volunteered to serve when he couldn’t race, and this opened a pathway to share exactly the reason why.
“When they asked, I said, ‘My Father sent me,’” Iuras noted. “It’s a way to open their minds, a way to talk about God.”
The federation, coaches and riders couldn’t believe Iuras’ desire to serve without receiving anything in return. But the heart of Iuras is to serve, however that looks. It’s what brings him joy, and a way to live out the example of Jesus.
“Jesus loves to be famous with small things, like water,” he said. “All day long, God gave me this huge honor and privilege to see Him this way.”
Although most Romanians are Orthodox, many of them only acknowledge God and believe He stays in Heaven and the church but not in the everyday.
“They think it’s just prayer in church, but I show them we can talk to God right here,” he shared. “After training and riding, I tell them Jesus is with me and I want to pray and thank Him.” Then he goes right into prayer in the cycling circle and gives the other riders a new way to see and think about what prayer means.
Added Iuras, “I ride with Jesus and they can see it’s different. I can see God opening the door for small Huddles or to pray.”
“Jesus loves to be famous with small things, like water.”
Serving cyclists opened the door for many conversations about God and brought unexpected connections to gain additional access for ministry in the cycling world. One coach asked Iuras to train and ride together, but also to know more about the deeper level of coaching. Iuras’ church now partners and serves the club, and other riders invited him to ride and train.
Iuras is encouraged by the creative movement of God in the middle of such a fluid year. “God is not limited by the pandemic,” he said. “He opens our minds to what He is doing. My desire was to ride, but this time, I rode in a different way.”
Through a heart of serving, Iuras longs to use his love for cycling to reach his country with the love of Christ. His motto: Just ride with Jesus. And he’s doing a genuine job of doing just that.
Pray for Daniel Iuras to be encouraged by what God is doing through cycling ministry, and for more staff to join God’s work. Pray also for God to open doors for Christian cyclists to meet and strategize ministry, and for wisdom to seek how God wants to connect athletes in the church.
Get involved with FCA Romania by giving a financial gift here. Visit fcaworld.org to learn more about what God’s doing around the globe through FCA.