After our visit to Cozia Monastery we traveled north into the mountains to the village of Gaujani. We drove for at least an hour along narrow winding roads. For the first time since coming to Romania I felt as though I was in a world completely foreign to my own. While traveling to Guajani we saw more buggies than cars, though at least one of the buggy riders was busy looking at her cell phone. We also learned the meaning of “when the cows come home.” We were frequently blocked by cows and their herders who, at dusk, were literally, coming home.
We arrive at the Guajani church and “senior home” just as the sun was setting. The senior’s home, a ministry of the church, was a modest building with a kitchen/dining room, a bathroom, and six or so small bedrooms. When we arrive there was a caregiver and three seniors gathered in the dining area. We passed out some bread and bananas we had picked up at the store and sang “Amazing Grace.” We then visited the rooms of the seniors who weren’t in the dining area. I was struck by the gratitude of the people who lived there despite their meager (by American standards) list of possessions. In one room we sang “Oh, How I Jesus,” which it was clear truly captured the heart of our host.
From there we visited the church itself, the oldest evangelical church in Valcea County, at 75 years old. We heard stories about how it survived communism and was even partially aided by the communist spy who attended every service. This church was also instrumental in planting other churches in the county. The big struggle for the church today is a lack of young people. According to our guides there were no more than 13 kids in the entire village. We swapped some ideas about how to reach those kids with the love of Christ.
By this point it was getting quite late and we were all starving so we stopped at a sandwich shop on the way home. But since dinner was still on the table when I arrived back at the apartment (it was now around 10pm) I was obliged to have dinner number 2. Yes, my visit to Romania was filled with hardships.