Friday, October 10: The weekend went well and indeed was interesting. I preached on Friday night, at the wedding on Saturday night, which actually was quite fun, and then on Sunday morning in a Roma church and Sunday night here in the Pentecostal church that has been hosting us. The pastor here is a sweet brother. I know that we do not see everything just the same theologically, but he has a deep love for Jesus and his people. I am content with that. They have treated us so lovingly, which has helped some of the uncertainty not seem so important. It was great to see so many men in the congregation at the Roma church.
Edie and I both got intestinal issues Early Sunday morning, which made preaching a bit delicate with a quick trip to a very rustic outhouse just before I preached. But we survived and the service went quite well. The church building was small but new, being an add-on to an older small cottage (I banged my head on the doorway between the buildings, as it was about 5’10” and just right to catch my head). It held about 60 people and was quite full by the time the service started, which was great since the church is only 4 years old. It has been rainy and cold here and the church had not set up the wood stove yet, so it was about 50 degrees in there when we arrived. It got up to about 60 degrees as the service heated up. You may want to think about this the next time you want the sanctuary temp to be adjusted a degree or two one way or another. Much of the world is just happy to be inside together.
Today is sunny and bright but warmer, probably climbing into the low 60’s, which will be nice. We train in a small town an hour away starting at 5 pm until ? They decided we should stay in this hotel and commute each day so we will have some late nights but also late mornings. We have two godly translators set up, although the man is a bit shaky with English, but we still have no idea who or how many men or women will attend. But we have seen the Lord lead in every step so far so --- stay tuned.
Later: In our ever-changing plans, God is testing us. We were to leave to train in Vizeresti on Monday night and return each night to our hotel in Bucharest, about an hour away. When we met with those who would take us, we found that we would be staying in Vizeresti for two nights instead of coming back. We had just paid for our hotel so we kept our room there, quickly grabbed a few clothes, and left by car with three others.
Upon arrival, I found three older men at the church with more coming in time. We were already 45 minutes late. No women were coming. I wondered why we were there and the Lord gently reminded me that He had sent us there; He loves these people, so I needed just to be quiet, do my job, and love them as well. Eventually nine men came and the training went well, although two left early and do not appear to be returning. We will have a break each evening at 7:30pm for sandwiches followed by supper at 9pm. We are certainly eating well, too well. We forgot to bring our Cipro, which is our emergency medication for intestinal problems. This morning at breakfast, everything was washed in water before serving, a no-no in most places, but was not a situation we could change. We are praying for no more problems.
The training will be from 6-9pm each evening, about an hour less per day than expected, but I think it will work. They will have church on Thursday night, praying for an hour and then breaking into two groups, the women going with Edie and the rest with me. I am not sure how this will work with our training, as the men will be doing 5-minute presentations that night. We will see…We will return to Bucharest on Wednesday night and Thursday night and then fly on to Germany on Friday around noon. Actually, we are much closer to the airport here in Vizeresti than at our hotel, but oh well, this is the plan.
We are staying in a home next door to a family in the church. We have wood heat and in the night, the fire went out so it was a bit cold especially in the bathroom. It got down to the middle 30’s last night. The Gypsy families here are so warm and welcoming. We had a great breakfast and wonderful time learning about the family from the one young mom who speaks English. I am not sure how it will go with the men in trying to get them to pass on the training, but I think this is a good start for us among the Roma. We have lots to learn and many relationships to build. In that way, I think things are going well.