Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hollywood, America’s Greatest Evangelist

My brother wrote a great article about the image of America in Romania.  Check it out!

Hollywood, America’s Greatest Evangelist.

Binecuvântata Fii Închisoare

As part of my Romanian language studies, I like to watch Romanian movies.  Ideally, I would watch each movie three times, once without subtitles, a second time with them, and a third time without them.  That usually doesn’t work because either I don’t have enough time or the movie doesn’t have subtitles in English.

Although it sounds like just having fun, it really does teach me the language.  I learn when to use what phrases.  I learn new vocabulary.  I learn how to pronounce words.  I learn about the culture and mannerisms.  A translator we had to hire once said she honestly thinks watching TV is one of the best ways to learn a foreign language.  And nearly everyone I know tells me they learned English by watching cartoons.  So there’s my argument:  seriously, I’m studying.

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Reminders of Heaven in the midst of the busyness

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  Besides trying to keep up with my Romanian lessons, we’ve been spending at least a few hours each week on the streets sharing the gospel.  And add to this the work I started at the English school–trying to learn where the students are at, what they know already, and what they’ll need to know– and you’ll understand when I say I’ve been busy.

Throw in getting sick (imagine the flu + diarrhea; the first night, the word “implode” suddenly made sense to me), and it’s been, well, trying.

When I get busy or sick or stressed, my attention tends to turn from the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth, but God never leaves me long in that place.  He is always faithful to remind me of Heaven in the midst of whatever earthly troubles I’m dealing with.

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Romanian Prostitutes… Just Another Standard Hotel Amenity

My friend Sorin started work at a hotel about a month ago.  He’s a dedicated Christian and a man of God, and he shares the gospel with zeal.  We ‘hired’ him as our translator when Jake Martin came to Bucureşti for two weeks of evangelism.  Anyhow, he got a job working at a hotel now as a bus boy.  He loves the work.  The pay is more than enough for him ($2/hour) and it includes one free meal every day and a couple tips here and there.

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News from “The Homefront”

“So we don’t open the house until 6:30. But R—— and C—— said they are bored and would like to clean or paint or something. So I made them a deal that they can come in after school, NO ONE else, lock the doors and paint until their hearts are content. They were over the top excited. I showed them the trim they could paint, one particular wall, stuff like that. Well I came back 3 hours later to find that they painted the entire dining room baby blue!…. I almost crapped myself right there…. Trim and everything…. And… they painted the trim between the 2 big rooms black, all of which was still wet when the others started to show up…. Yeaaaahhh… It was interesting, and fun. Both of them were covered in paint! My wife said she would supervise this week.

So far, 1 life has changed, mine.

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Concerning School, Orthodoxy, Skinny Dippers, Lucky Poop, and Missing Pants

The last two days have been interesting here in Romania.  Mostly, it’s because I started teaching in one of the many private schools Bucureşti has to offer its wealthier, busier families.  Allow me to give you a real quick look at school, orthodoxy, naked kids, lucky poop, and missing pants here in the capitol of România.

On Friday, I got a call from a woman with a thick Romanian accent saying, “Is this Ben Stimpson?  We have school on Monday, but we do not have an English teacher.  We want to know if we can meet today.  What time can you meet us?”  Forgetting my curiosity about how she got my number and why she thought I wanted to help at the school, I simply said, “Okay, I can meet between 3 and 4 this afternoon.  Will that work for you?”  And that was my introduction into the world of teaching English to Romanian elementary students.  What’s expected of me?  What lessons will I teach?  How much English do the kids understand?  What on earth have I signed up for????  I’m still not sure.  But I’m now committed to teaching English to Romanian kids from 4 to 11 years old at least until June.

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When Faith Becomes Works

Today, I had a very enlightening but frustrating encounter with some Christian friends of mine.  I really love these people, but our conversation about living radical left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a heavy burden in my heart, a burden that weighed down the joy of a free and forgiven heart.  I felt like Jesus–who promised, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)–was quoted as having said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will point out more areas where you are weak and heap further burdens on you and then chastise you for not being at rest.”

I love these Christian friends of mine, but I left feeling as though “faith” had become a matter of “works” for them.

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Kinda In Over My Head

So, I’m kind of in over my head right now.  I just signed up to be the teacher for the “Conversational English” class at a private elementary school here in Bucuresti.  I’m definitely freaking out right now.

I mean, what the heck have I gotten myself into?

Well, I guess this is a good way to become a part of the culture here, anyhow.

As you think about me, pray for me to do well both as a teacher and a missionary.

So, I’ve got until Wednesday to come up with some plans for what to do with a handful of kids from 5 to 10 years old.  Pray for me!

Church-Planting Thoughts

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, praying, watching, and learning the last few months.  We know God has called us to Romania to work for him, and this work will involve establishing churches.  What those churches will look like, who will go to them, how they will be established is all up for grabs.  As we explore what church means and how to go about being the church, I’ve done a lot of thinking.  None of this is set in stone or anywhere near complete, but the following are some of what I would like to see in what we do in Romania:

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I’m a Clujer, Baby

I spent the weekend in Cluj, a beautiful city in north-central Romania and the second largest in the country.  According to the sign that greeted us at the train station, we were also right “in the heart of Transilvania.”  The city was such a beautiful and welcome break from Bucureşti, but really anything seems beautiful after 9 hours on the world’s most rickety train ever.  Seriously, though, Cluj was a beautiful town, with warm and friendly people and some awesome “old world” architecture.

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