Tag Archives: bucuresti

The Search for a PO Box

Since moving to my new place last year, I discovered quite early a need to rent a post office box.  Where I live, I don’t have an actual mailbox, so anything that comes usually ends up at some point or another at my landlord’s store across the street.  Though I haven’t seen my phone bill in about 9 months, that’s usually not a problem.  When I had to order about 30 books for our summer class, though, things got… tricky.

The post office sends a notice (called an aviz) for every single package that comes.  An aviz is small, easily-lost, barely-identifiable, and often illegible.  Sometimes they would end up in my landlord’s store…  Sometimes they would make it to me from there…  Sometimes, they would… disappear.

It doesn’t help matters when you’re ordering from Book Depository.  Book Depository is seriously awesome.  They deliver books worldwide without charging for shipping.  But… they send books out individually, one at a time.  One.  At.  A.  Time.

This doesn’t work when you’re ordering about 30 books.

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It’s been a while, so… What have we been up to?

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Well, it’s been almost a month since my last update, so I figured It’s about time to let you know how things have been going here in Romania.  Since my last update, we started teaching classes at Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie.  It’s our very first semester teaching these courses in Romania, and many books are not available in Romanian, so it’s been far less organized than I like, but God is working in and through us.

We have a total of 12 students taking 3 different classes.  They represent three different continents (Africa, Europe, and North America) and speak four different mother tongues (English, French, Romanian, and Swahili).  Yes, we’re pretty diverse!  Culturally (Romanians, Africans, and Americans), intellectually (from graduate school students to high school dropouts), and spiritually (a one-month-old believer from a Muslim background, Baptists who were taught to believe the charismatic gifts ended in the first century, Pentecostals who never learned to study the Bible, and even a few who don’t know what to call themselves)–we have a wide variety of students!

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What’s on my playlist?

Okay, so the title for this post is a little misleading.  I’m not actually going to tell you what’s on my playlist, other than saying I really can’t get enough of everything from Luciano Pavarotti‘s operatic awesomeness to Parov Stelar‘s crazy electroswing (samples), from Wavedude and Josiah Kramer‘s explorations into worship dubstep that I know are gonna blast church sanctuaries one day to the haunting and exotic sound of the Alash Ensemble, from The Tallest Man on Earth and Doug Burr‘s down-to-earth folk that speaks straight to my heart to the music of Tommy Emmanuel, who can somehow do on a guitar things no man with only ten fingers should be able to do.  (Hmmm… I feel kinda guilty that no Hillsong, Jesus Culture, or IHOP musicians appeared on that quick list… but… sucks to be them.)

But I’m not gonna talk about that.

I want to share some of the places I go to for great messages of biblical truth that will strengthen you, challenge you, and confront the laziness, timidity, faithlessness, and selfishness in you.  In no particular order, I offer you my top ten places for preaching that’ll strengthen your inner man (Ephesians 3:16), in both Romanian and English.

cstone milw1) Cornerstone Church Milwaukee (English) – Michael Fisher, the leader of Cornerstone Churches International and a man who has imparted much into my own life, is currently pastoring our local congregation of young radicals at UW Milwaukee along with a team of Jesus-loving world-changers.  Anything from this group is sure to challenge you to live with boldness, walking in the power and freedom of the gospel.  Michael’s got an anointing to raise up and send forth leaders who will change the world for the glory of Jesus, so get ready for some Holy Spirit impartation.  You can check out the latest sermons at their podcast, or you can do what I do, and dig through all the old messages here.  Currently, I’m working through Michael Fisher’s “Our Genetic Code” series.  It’s awesome!

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Romanian Lines

In America, I could walk up to a line of cash registers, take a quick glance, and within seconds have picked out the fastest line. I wasn’t right all the time, but more often than not, I would end up with a winner and walk out of there faster than the rest.

Not so in Romania.

Here, I seem to have a nack for picking the slowest line possible.

This “gift” has rarely ever failed me.

While standing in line in America is a fairly routine, boring thing to do–you simply follow along behind the person directly in front of you–waiting in line in Romania is a bit more adventurous. Let me explain.

There seem to be four basic categories into which Romanian lines fall: (1) the Jumbled Mass, (2) the Knotted String, (3) the Secret List, and (4) the Mysterious Complication.

(Before continuing, please note that I love Romania and this is all written in good humor and, while representing my experience, may not be completely factual. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s all completely made up.)

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Why Romanians are Awesome

Sometimes Bucharest gets to me, and sometimes Romanians drive me nuts. But the last few days have been full of reminders that Romanians are really awesome people and the world would be a whole lot better if we had more of them. Yes, they’re not perfect and have all sorts of faults. But God made Romanians in his image, and I love when they show that image clearly.

So, without further ado, here are ten reasons why Romanians are awesome.

1. Nowhere else will a total stranger spend 30 minutes with you trying to help you find the obscure address you need to find. He may even lead you to the wrong place in the end, but at least he’s there in the wrong place with you and just as frustrated as you are. Seriously, I’ve never met a Romanian who wasn’t willing to help even if he didn’t really know how.

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Two People You’ll Probably Never Meet

When Florentina was born, she was a strong and healthy baby, a perfect little girl. But her mother’s only income came from begging, and she needed money. She took steel wires and tied her daughter’s fingers tight so they would not grow, crippling her in order to make her a better beggar. But after years of heroin addiction, abuse, rape, and life on the streets, she found a second chance at life when Victory Outreach opened its doors to her and her newborn son. Two years into living free and clean, and she fell back into drugs. Now, she’s back on the streets, addicted to heroin and haunted by her past, with little hope for the future. When I met her, all she wanted was to show us the people who had helped her and introduce us to her little boy. Despite her sad state, she is still a proud mama.

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Numai Prin Harul Tau – Sunny Tranca

As soon as I heard Sunny Tranca’s music, my heart went, “Oh, yeah!  This is worship!”  In Bucharest, it’s been hard to find good worship, free, expressive, heartfelt, passionate, clap-able and dance-able.  The best we’ve found has been at Raul Vietii–who always seem to stop right when they get *almost* to the point of a real, free heart connection to God during worship–and Elim.  And, of course, Piatra Vie!  (No bias here.  😀 )  (And, actually, we’re a long ways from where we want to be…  God, send us worshipers and musicians!)

I had begun to think Romanians just don’t understand what it means to worship passionately and freely.

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