Since I know you want to hear them, here are the rejected titles for this post: Lost in Translation, Testify Sistah!, a Mormonic Conversation, and a New Wife for Jason. Yeah, it was an eventful night, mostly encouraging but also difficult.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the discouraging aspects of the night, but I think it’s good to let you know that ministry here in Bucuresti is not all a bunch of successes. So, before I get to the awesome stuff, here’s the list of what discourages me: we lost our translator somehow, we arrived an hour late, most of our regular families were gone tonight, worship seemed heartless and dull, the praying was similarly just as lifeless, a couple of the kids at the meeting were going crazy, Lali stumbled into the meeting drunk, I couldn’t seem to say a word in Romanian. So, there it is, all the discouraging aspects of the evening.
Now, for the stuff I like.
Tonight, we were all super excited to have Cristiana joining us to help with translation. She’s got a ton of joy and a real hunger for Jesus. Last month, she had asked us to pray with her to receive the Holy Spirit, and he answered. Plus, she’s great at translating. But somehow we ended up losing her in Bucuresti. Well, okay, we didn’t technically lose her. Technically, we sent her to the wrong place. While we were waiting for her at one Mega Image grocery store, she was waiting out in the cold drizzly November weather at an entirely different store. Note to self: if you’re planning to meet up with someone, make sure you send them to the right place.
Although it was annoying, the 45 minutes of waiting in the cold November mist were by no means unfruitful. As we waited, Mandra (we meet at her house, and God has been changing her so much in the last few months) was walking by with her son Matei. She immediately began to tell us, with a big smile, how she had shared the gospel with someone this last week and invited many others to join us for the evening meeting. What a cool thing! Pray for the passion in Mandra’s heart to continue to grow, and that he would change her husband Lali’s heart.
The rest of our 45 minute wait was taken up by Mormons. We actually had a very friendly conversation with them. We shared how God led us to Romania and learned that they get into apartment buildings by ringing up random numbers and claiming to be from the post office. (I guess if you’re in a cult, it’s okay to lie for the sake of spreading your beliefs.) When the conversation inevitably turned towards religion, we also learned these guys are really, really awesome at not getting into arguments, miraculously awesome. (This is something I can learn from them!) Anyhow, in the midst of respecting and loving the two young men, we were very clear with them that we do not agree with the Mormon understanding of Jesus. I’ll be praying for these two young men, and I hope to run into them again and encourage them in their pursuit of the real Jesus.
I wonder if God confused our plans to meet up with Cristiana. If we had seen her right away, we wouldn’t have waited at Mega Image, so we woudn’t have heard Mandra’s testimony and we wouldn’t have gotten to speak with the two Mormon men, and they, on the other hand, would’ve spoken to dozens of others.
Anyhow, after the mediocre meeting, we were heading out the door when Jason was approached by two women asking if he had a cigarette. “No, I don’t. I’m a Christian,” he said in Romanian. He turned to us, “Oh, I forgot my backpack inside” and headed back. We were left with a couple of the neighborhood children and the two women wanting cigarettes, who promptly decided instead to ask us for money. When Jason came back, he was followed by Geta (her husband Matei became a Christian a month ago, and their family has been growing so much). I have no idea how it all happened, but somehow the women wanting cigarettes then began telling us of their addiction to heroine and need for Jesus. They asked us to pray with them. Andrea, the most talkative of the two, said afterwards, “I feel so much peace, so different.” Pray that she and Nadia would have the courage to pursue Jesus. Pray they’d join us next week at the evening meeting. Oh! And Andrea proposed to Jason after she found out he wasn’t married. He wisely told her, “No. Follow Jesus, and he will bring you a husband.”
Lost in Translation, Testify Sistah!, a Mormonic Conversation, and a New Wife for Jason… Just another crazy Monday night!