Posted in Bucharest
Tagged bucharest, conference, evangelism, ferentari, gypsies, letter, missionary, prayer, prayer letter, ratbav, retreat, spiritual revival church, testimonies
Probably not the most appropriate picture, but it’s darn funny if you ask me. 🙂
So, today we headed to Ferentari once again to do some street evangelism. Although we spent about 3 hours out there, we only ended up talking to 5 different people.
The first was an older woman who was taking care of her young grandchildren. She told us how their parents were in jail or just plain gone. Although we shared the gospel with her, I think the biggest thing was simply sitting with her, hearing her story, and praying God’s blessing over her household.
The second group were two men outside a little corner store smoking cigarettes and drinking beers. We hadn’t even planned to talk with them, but they up and asked us, “What are you doing here?” So we told them how we were out there talking with people about Jesus. Although one of the men seemed unconcerned about spiritual things, the other (Ioan) seemed to share some concern. He was especially receptive after we shared what we sensed was a word for him from God. He knew he was running from God and needed to wake up to him; pray that he would do so.
Today, headed out to Ferentari for some street evangelism. Our four-person team was truly international, featuring two from the United States (Jake and I), one from Great Britain (Jacob, in the middle), and another from Canada (Jason, on the left) who can speak Romanian. Samuel (Romanian) and Sorin (Gypsy) had hoped to join us but couldn’t make it today.
To give you some background, Ferentari is Bucuresti’s poorest neighborhood. It is also the most notorious for crime, and it’s the home for many Rroma (Gypsy) people and so largely avoided by Romanians. When I asked the Bucuresti police if there were any areas they hated to work, they told me unanimously that it was Ferentari. Unofficial statistics I heard were that 3 women disappear every night in Ferentari and are sold into the sex trade. That statistic seems high, but I don’t know. We learned that last year a pile of dead children was found in the neighborhood. Every one of them had his lungs ripped out, probably to be sold on the black market. In a dark city, this is the darkest place (other than, perhaps, the political areas), and so we headed there to bring some light.
Yesterday afternoon, we headed to Sector 5 of Bucuresti, looking for Ferentari, the poorest neighborhood in the capital city and well-known as a “gypsy neighborhood.” Ferentari is also said to be the most dangerous, where many drug dealers and gang members make their homes. While I can’t say much about the crime, I can safely say this is the dirtiest part of Bucuresti, and by all appearances also the poorest. From our experience, it was also one of the friendliest.
When we first proposed a trip to Ferentari, many people worriedly described the dangers of the neighborhood to us, and so I was definitely nervous going in. (Check out the Wikipedia entry and this Romanian news article for a look at the area.) But I have always felt God calling me to work somehow with the poor–it’s why I first went to India, why I led trips to the inner city areas in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Kansas City, and why I served in Lone Rock at The Wave youth center–and I know his heart is with them.