Today, headed out to Ferentari for some street evangelism. Our four-person team was truly international, featuring two from the United States (Jake and I), one from Great Britain (Jacob, in the middle), and another from Canada (Jason, on the left) who can speak Romanian. Samuel (Romanian) and Sorin (Gypsy) had hoped to join us but couldn’t make it today.
To give you some background, Ferentari is Bucuresti’s poorest neighborhood. It is also the most notorious for crime, and it’s the home for many Rroma (Gypsy) people and so largely avoided by Romanians. When I asked the Bucuresti police if there were any areas they hated to work, they told me unanimously that it was Ferentari. Unofficial statistics I heard were that 3 women disappear every night in Ferentari and are sold into the sex trade. That statistic seems high, but I don’t know. We learned that last year a pile of dead children was found in the neighborhood. Every one of them had his lungs ripped out, probably to be sold on the black market. In a dark city, this is the darkest place (other than, perhaps, the political areas), and so we headed there to bring some light.
The first guy we gave a tract to and spoke with asked us if we were working for the Mafia. He then proceeded to ask Jacob for his address in London so he could look him up when he visits there. Although we had no intentions of doing such a thing, Jacob had an easy out, saying, “I live with my parents, so they wouldn’t appreciate that.” The man then called over a young lady who informed Jacob, “You have wife? You want one? You can have me.” At that, for some reason the man pulled out his wallet (packed with a three-quarters-inch thick wad of bills). We politely said “good bye,” and left him and his son with a tract.
A few people later, we ran into Elvis. Elvis was awesome! Not only were he and his father open to speak with us, but as we prayed a general blessing over the he and his father, God began to move. Both Jake and I felt like the Holy Spirit had something for Elvis, but we weren’t clear what. Jake, though, received a prophetic word for him that really opened things up. We left them with a couple tracts and continued on our way, but something in us said, “Things aren’t finished.” We turned around, and there’s Elvis running towards us with a big smile on his face. He caught up with us just to find out more about our church, where it was at, etc. After giving him information about the church, Jason goes straight into the message of the cross. As Elvis heard it, he kept nodding and smiling, saying “Da, da. Înţeleg. Yes, yes. I understand.” He told Jason he was ready to surrender to Jesus, have his sins forgiven, and live for him. Sweet! So we prayed one last time with him, and he was visibly shaking as the Holy Spirit touched him. When we finished, he called us to come back with him to his house again so we could speak more. It was an awesome, Holy Spirit-led encounter. Pray for follow-up, and for the gospel to bring full transformation for Elvis. So, yes, Elvis is alive!
Later, we ran into an older woman who was walking with a cane and a visible limp. I approached, “Scuzaţi-ma, doamna. Doamna” and then asked Jason to ask her if we could pray for her feet to be healed. She was taken aback but said yes. She then proceeded to walk away, so we said, “Acum? Now?” Jason then asked more politely if we could lay hands on her and pray right there. Surprisingly, she agreed. Although she didn’t say she felt any better, she was definitely touched. We spoke a bit more with her but ended up leaving her with a tract. Pray she gets fully restored in her body and in her spirit.
We shared with a few more people, passed out a few more tracts, and in general had a great time. I can’t wait to get back to Ferentari. Pray for us to be faithful in discipling and in following-up with converts. Pray also for protection as this area can be dangerous.