Monthly Archives: April 2013

Playing with Kids in a Trash Heap

franceww2When I was first taken to their home a few months ago, my first thought was that I had somehow been transported about 70 years back in time and 1400 miles west of Bucharest.  The site looked just like what I’d picture a 1940s city in France would have looked like after a thorough shelling by enemy artillery.  Bricks, trash, and wood littering the ground, dead electrical wires hanging out of old plaster walls, the charred remains from the fire used to cook breakfast… it all seemed like a scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan“.

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Religion Kills Twice, part 2: The Yeast of Pharisees

Religion-Kills-JB

    But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They
had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they 
were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, "Watch out! 
Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod."
    At this, they began to argue with each other because 
they hadn't brought any bread.
    Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, "Why are 
you arguing about having no bread?  Don't you know or 
understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?
                                    Mark 8:14-17

I know I’m probably confusing at least half my readers with my title.  You’re saying right now, “But… aren’t you into religion?  You’re a missionary in Romania, after all…  What do you mean ‘religion kills’?”  So, if you’re totally confused right now, just bear with me as I look at part two in this series on the dangers of religion.  (For part one, visit  The Yeast of Herod.)

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Religion Kills Twice, part 1: The Yeast of Herod

Religion-Kills-JB

    But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They
had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. As they 
were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, "Watch out! 
Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod."
    At this, they began to argue with each other because 
they hadn't brought any bread.
    Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, "Why are 
you arguing about having no bread?  Don't you know or 
understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?
                                    Mark 8:14-17

Now, I know a third of you will read my title and think, “Awesome!  I hate God, too.”  And another third will read it and say, “What the–?!?!  I thought you were a Christian…”  And the final third will say, “Huh…?,” scratch their heads, and then move right back to looking at pictures of kittens on Facebook.

So, bear with me.  Or you can always go laugh at another cat trying to catch a laser.

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You Will Always Have the Poor

The other day, we were taking soup to the homeless when a man approached us.  He told us, “Come with me.  There is a family that is very poor.  Many people visit them and give them clothes.  You can even take pictures of them.”  That really bothered me.  Take pictures of them… like they’re monkeys in a zoo and not people, like all I cared to do was get my “feed the homeless” badge and then be on my way, like their value was about as much as the time it would take for a  couple photos…

When we arrived, we found a house in shambles but all the kids decently-dressed and looking mostly well-fed.  They gladly received hot soup and prayer, but the whole time I felt like they saw me as nothing more than a visitor taking pictures at the zoo.  (We didn’t take any photos, just so you know.  None of us remembered our cameras.)

Before moving to Bucharest, I lived in Spring Green, a fairly well-off small town and tourist location in south-west Wisconsin.  Sure, the median income is lower here than in a big city, but so are the expenses.  A few people had difficulty paying bills each month, and some families were ruined by alcohol, but most people had a place to live and a car even if they didn’t have a job.  And there’s the town food pantry that helps out once every month for anyone in the area or outlying towns that might need it.  (Of course, more than a few times I remember seeing a young, healthy family drive up in their recently-washed sports car to come get some “assistance.”)

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Thursday Nights in Our Living Room

I’d been thinking about giving an update on our Thursday night church meeting, but why write my own when I can “steal” my brother’s? Besides, he said it better than I would, anyhow.

It Doesn't Matter Where

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Thursday nights, we invite English speakers to our home for worship, prayer, and Bible teaching.  It’s one of the meetings I’m most excited about, but it’s also been the slowest to get going.

Why am I most excited about this meeting?  Well, honestly, I’ve got a lot of selfish reasons – I get to speak in my native language, without a translator, and worship God in English, using songs that I like, with people who speak and understand the language really well.  Plus, I get really ministered to during the meetings, no matter how many other people show up.  The presence of God has been really strong at our little meetings, so I always leave encouraged and strengthened.

But beyond the selfish reasons, having a meeting in English should, by nature, draw young people who have a desire to change the world.  From what we’ve learned about Romania, if you…

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Prayer Letter – April 2013

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