As we wrap up our first day in Romania, I am tired & overwhelmed, but happy! There’s SO much to share, I don’t even know where to start! After my post this morning, we had a fabulous lunch here at the Fink’s home. Their beautiful European home is set up on a hill, accessible by narrow, winding roads and overlooking the city. Gardens outside around the house contain grape vines and beautiful natural landscapes. Several balconies allow for some serene outdoor privacy, with a fabulous view. In the back yard is a large canopy-covered a dining area with an outdoor fire pit and a 2nd kitchen right next to it, perfect for large groups. There are three floors, accessed by a beautiful open turning staircase, and ending up with a ladder to the 3rd floor, where most of our team is housed.
The ladies in the kitchen are doing a fabulous job! We are just humbled at the amazing meals they are preparing for us. SO yummy and well-thought-out. Many many thanks!!
The authentic Romanian food got us off to a good start before we headed out to two gypsy camps for Sunday church services. We were SO excited to meet the gypsies…this is what we had all been waiting for! First we went to Cheriu for an outdoor church service in the open air. What a beautiful day for one! The people (and the children especially) were happy to have us and VERY excited to get their picture taken! At one point, some people sitting around the corner from where the service took place began to flag me down and group themselves for photos. I had to hold up my finger and point their attention to the service and tell them to wait. Later on, the children swarmed around me, begging for pictures and I eventually (in the 2nd camp) learned the word “Gata!”: “ENOUGH!” Parents were hauling their children from all the way down the street to have me take their pictures. When I started saying I was done, the children would ask me to take their picture with one of our team members…SNEAKY kids! Lol. It’s hard to tell them no, but I knew there would be no end AT ALL if I didn't! Hoping the novelty of the camera wears off soon so I can get some true candids! I'm glad we have a week here!
After Cheriu, we headed to Oserhei and held another service there. At both services, Rich, Kara, and Sam shared testimonies through a translator, Pastor Pete preached, and Pastor Tim led singing. In Oserhei one woman stood up and gave a testimony about how a home had caught on fire in their camp this morning, but they prayed and the wind changed, helping them gain control of the fire and put it out. I don’t know details beyond that, but please pray for this woman. She was in the service, but looked quite sad, as can be expected.
The children are just beautiful. I am already in love. I almost began to write that I wish I could bring them all home, but I have to say, I don’t wish to remove them from their heritage and their home…and I don’t wish to leave mine (willing, but not eager). I simply wish I could somehow remain connected to them, to show them Jesus' love, to help them in any way possible. They are so precious. I'm thankful for our time with them and pray that God will use us inspite of our limitations. Here’s but a FEW of the children we met today and who we’ll be working with more during the week. I wanted to post SO many more, but time and space does not allow:
Our luggage is hopefully arriving tomorrow. In the meantime, we have been laughing as we find creative solutions. We have discovered that Pastor Pete and Josh are almost identically sized. And have similar taste in clothing. And that Sam really is kinda weirded out by the idea of girls wearing his clothes. The missionaries have been kind to loan us skirts and shirts when necessary so we can function and recycle what we have.
Laurie and Steven help the Finks with their work in the gypsy camps and will be with us all week. Their adopted gypsy daughter Chila (pronounced Chee-la) is a beautiful little 7 year old and already making friends with everyone. Chila was born with some medical conditions that will hopefully be treated soon to help take the swelling off her brain. We found out this morning that just last Sunday she had a seizure and her heart rate dropped very low and they had to rush her out of the camp to meet an ambulance…they really thought she wasn’t going to make it. Praise God she did and that we have the privilege of meeting and befriending this amazing little girl. Meet Chila:
Tomorrow we’ll be touring the city of Oradea a little and planning our VBS activites. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of interesting pictures to share, and maybe some stories…I'll end with some pictures from yesterday, since yesterdays post was boring and had no pictures (I know, some of you are just beyond stunned that I could possibly do such a thing). G'nite. Lots of love to everyone, especially Corban and Jadon! We love you!!! Wish we could call every night, but the time difference and the telephone arrangement here makes that next to impossible. :( We'll catch up mid-week hopefully.