Yesterday, Jason and I had a really cool time visiting some gypsy communities here in Bucuresti.
We started the evening off by stopping in to check on the families living along the railroad tracks between the Cora and Plaza Romania. When we got there, we discovered nearly everyone gone. The only remaining family was a young woman with her five kids in their lean-to. She informed us that the police had come by recently to destroy the makeshift homes and kick everyone out. For some reason, they had left her and the five kids, though they had taken everything of value, which meant the boards in their home and the plastic bottles she had been collecting for money.
My heart breaks for this woman and her children. Her husband has been in prison for almost a year and has another eight to go. The boys (all of them filthy and most of them naked) are starving for male attention. And mom–with no education, no money, hardly a home, from a despised race, and now with no community support–is trying her hardest to collect discarded trash for pennies to feed her kids.
I hope to begin regular visits out here to pray for the family, check on how they’re doing, and encourage them. I can’t imagine how they’ll survive winter…
Our next stop was just a tram ride away and a short walk through a dark alley, but I still don’t really know exactly where we were. (On a side note, this often happens to me in Bucuresti…)
Anyhow, before I get into the story of our visit, let me give the back story. A few years ago, a woman was with her mother as she lay dying. The dying mother’s last words were a prayer: “Open my daughter’s eyes to see the light!” A couple years later, the daughter runs into Jason, and he begins to share about Jesus with her. To make a long story short, she gets radically saved, baptized, and plugged into a church. Jason did some follow-up but once she was committed to a church, he left her to their care.
Well, she’s taking care of 8 kids, so church attendance is a difficult thing, and add to this the fact that she’s a gypsy and so not welcome in most church services. Plus, she’s married to a guy who’s been a heroine addict for 13 years. So church attendance deteriorates, but she keeps believing and keeps praying.
She prays mostly for her husband, and she prays with tears as their house falls apart and their landlord threatens to run them from the property. Ten months praying, and the husband “sees the light” and gives up heroine, cuts cold turkey. But he hasn’t discovered God yet, just experienced a touch of his grace. So she keeps praying.
Then fast-forward to Friday night when Jason and I stop in to visit with Vasilica. To make a long story short, during the visit her husband Mircea surrendered to Jesus and invited us to come to do regular meetings at their home. Awesome!
So we may have the start of another gypsy meeting here. Pray for wisdom, volunteers, help with translation… And praise God for the work he’s doing there with this family.
Oh, and one last prayer request. Mircea and Vasilica have a grandson who has been diagnosed with AIDS. He’s a miracle baby who should have died at birth, so we’re believing God’s got a plan for his life. Oh, and the coolest thing is that the family named him Samuel without ever knowing the biblical story of this “miracle baby.” So let’s pray and see him healed!