Life update: We are now officially moved into our new home in Wyoming, MI. Last week was hectic with the move and the next few weeks will continue to be busy as we try to finish unpacking. The Romania update posts will probably continue to be few and far between but, Lord willing, I will still be able to complete the journal of my trip. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
On Saturday the team met at Hope Baptist church in R.V. to participate in the children’s program. “Participate” is probably too strong a word. We attempted to lead the motions of “My God is so big” which was sung in Romanian. Jeremy succeeded. I’m not so sure I did. I also got to play some people in the church in ping pong. I was beaten in two close matches. This was a hard-core ministry day, I know.
After lunch (a BIG lunch, they all were) the American team was paired up with a Romanian team to hand out flyers promoting the Sunday morning service, which was being promoted as a special Thanksgiving celebration. We were instructed by Pastor Dorin to try to engage in conversation, not just hand out the flyers. I was partnered with a college student (studying Computer Science, no less) name Tina. I approached the recipient of the flyer and invited them in English and Tina translated for me. We met with limited success. Jeremy and his translator, Evelyn, did get to have a very good conversation with an Orthodox priest.
The other benefit of handing out the flyers was that it gave us Americans to get a feel for the city. It was not terribly unlike an American city. The architecture and roads were different but there were plenty of shops, shoppers, and teenagers on their cell phones. The biggest difference that I noticed was the large communist style gray concrete apartment complexes. I spent some time asking Tina about Romanian politics. There was a presidential election coming up from the older generation I had already learned that former communist leader Ceaușescu plays a prominent role in their consciousness. It wasn’t quite the same for Tina who was born after Ceaușescu. I learned later from the Principle of the school it Vitomireste that this generational gap is not uncommon.
I also learned that there aren’t many jobs for the young and college educated people of R.V. Most young people I talked to who went to college either went to Bucharest, Sibiu, or study abroad. And, after college, few return to R.V. This is a challenge for churches in the area who pour a lot of effort into young people only to see them leave for another city, or perhaps even another country within the European Union. On the bright side, these young, strong Christians go on to become “missionaries” in the cities they move to.
On Saturday evening we each returned to our hosts for dinner, except for Jeremy, who found the McDonalds. I also had the pleasure of meeting two Swiss women who were friends of Dorin’s family. They had been partners in the gospel in Valcea and had come for a visit and for some medical treatment. They spoke four different languages and I think all four of them were spoken at dinner that night. One didn’t speak very good Romanian so sometimes I would say something in English, which would be translated into Romanian (for the non-English speakers at the table), which would then be translated into another language (Swiss, I presume). It was a very multi-cultural experience.
Saturday was a good day. As I reflect back on it I don’t think we did much real work. But as a team we needed a day to adjust. Walking around the city, spending time in fellowship over a meal, and talking about history, politics, ministry, and culture was just the way to do it.