When I think of God being at work, I usually think of miracles and people getting saved. I really haven’t seen much of that here in Romania yet, but I have definitely seen his hand at work.
Here are some of the ways I’ve seen God’s grace:
1) I got my camera back. This is the clearest miracle I’ve seen since being in Bucureşti. I live in a city of four million where corruption among the police is normal. For them to even care to find one little camera and then to return it to me without any papers proving I own it… well, that’s a miracle. All my Romanian friends agree that I should never have seen the camera again.
2) I have not noticed the scantily-clad women. Yes, I’ve seen a few skirts that are too short and I noticed the pinup poster in the police station, but God has been protecting me from seeing a lot of the garbage that other people warned me about (nude sunbathing in the parks, topless neighbors hanging their clothes to dry, pornographic advertisements for massage parlors…). I thank him so much for this because I know how weak I am and how easily I stumble when temptation arises. “Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil” is a good prayer to pray.
3) I got to witness to the detective who found my camera. You know, I don’t mind taking all day just to pick up a $200 camera, but I really like it when that work ends with sharing the gospel. Who would’ve thought my interest in Christian history would open the door to witness to this man whose patron saint was St. Antony of the desert, a man I had just been reading about. Needless to say, it was a very cool opportunity.
4) The language barrier has not been much of an issue for day-to-day activities. Although you’d think you’d need to speak the language to do things like get groceries, buy food, ride the subway, etc., the fact that I barely know the language has not been much of an issue. (Now, for sharing the gospel and speaking to people, I definitely need to learn the language. But for surviving, I do just fine.)
5) I’m getting used to the constant noise, oppressive heat, dry air, and funny smells. They’re all things common to a big city, and I’m so grateful for how God has been helping me adjust, having spent the last 8 years in a town of only 1,400.
6) God has been connecting us with local believers who like to do evangelism. Besides being a support for my brother in planting a church, evangelism is one of the main reasons I came to Bucureşti. I’m glad to see God building friendships with other believers who desire to get out on the streets sharing the gospel. Until we learn the language better or get our tracts printed, I’m sure we’ll end up joining these guys quite a bit.
7) All my needs are currently taken care of, and I should have enough for a year of ministry here in Bucureşti. Although I don’t make much money each month, I make enough to survive and to be a blessing to others. My biggest prayer now is for the Lord to guide me how to spend the resources he has entrusted to me.
There are probably other ways I’ve seen God’s hand show up, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. I’m expecting lots of fruit in coming months, but for now, I rejoice in even these smaller demonstrations of his grace on me.