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.
We climbed the belltower of a Catholic cathedral built in the mid-1300s. (That’s before 1492 when Columbus saled the ocean blue. I know this because I googled it.) For all those readers who were concerned, you can rest assured that the bells in Cluj do indeed work quite well. I discovered this helpful fact because it was 7 p.m. when I was reading the engraving on one bell. I have a new definition for “loud” now.
We ate some amazing gelato that only cost $1 and then gawked at desserts fit for royalty. If the desserts aren’t enough to convince someone to move to Romania, you probably will never convince him.
We even got approached by our first ever tricycle evangelist. He spoke broken English, so it was a good match for our broken Romanian. Our “Isus bun. Inima. Da.” was paired nicely with his “You believe. Heaven. Jesus. Good.” But we unfortunately fell far below par when Tricycle Evangelist began to sing “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” and a number of scriptures for us. Is this weird in Romania, or are Romanians just weird in general??? I may never know.
But the real reason we went to cluj was not to have encouraging encounters with old men on tricycles but to learn from Neil Cole, author of “Church 3.0” and “Organic Church-Planting.” I didn’t know anything about him, had never heard of him before, and I didn’t even really know what the weekend conference was even about, but our friend Filip invited us to join the crew from Missio Dei for the weekend, so we tagged along.
I don’t care here to go into all my thoughts about Neil Cole and his “Greenhouse” training. (You’ll get my reaction in a later post. Probably.) Overall, though, we liked his ideas, had a refreshing time listening to a hilarious speaker, and now have lots of ideas stirring in our hearts.