On Sunday, the 16th of June, 1935, in the town of Maglavit, a seventeen-year-old, poor shepherd with a speech impediment finally worked up enough courage to announce to his church a short message he claimed came directly from God the Father, whom he swore had visited him in the form of an old man while he was tending sheep. His message, a stereotypical Old Testament “turn or burn” indictment of his people, was met with both obvious incredulity and a similarly expected enthusiasm. Both those in favor and those against the happenings in Maglavit, and especially those hoping to profit from the events, spread the news far and wide. Newspapers were full of stories of miracles, healings, and prophecies as excitement over the shepherd boy who had seen God spread. In time, over two million people would take part in the spectacular events of Maglavit. Today, much of the events that took place are shrouded in mystery. Who was Petrache Lupu, the man who claimed to see God, and what can we learn from his life rife with visions, miracles, and extravagant stories reminiscent of Ezekiel or Isaiah?
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged between the wars, biography, essay, healer, healing, history, miracle, miracles, orthoxy, petrache lupu, priest, prophecy, prophet, romania, romanian orthodox
[As part of the Loving the Bible class at Scoala Biblica Piatra Vie, students had to rewrite Genesis 22:1-19, choosing to either write all or just a portion of the story in their own words. The following is my rewrite.]
It had been three days of heavy and brooding silence in my spirit, each day heavier and more terrifying than the last as the mountain reared its ugly head and took form, and step by dreadful step grew larger, more defined, and more hideous for what it signified. The end of our journey.
And now, here finally, my boy in my arms at last, how heavy was his weight. Oh, how heavy and terrible the weight!
“My boy…” I mumbled, terror and sorrow mixed in my trembling voice. “My dear Isaac…”
If you’re in Romania during the end of February, you’ll notice stands popping up all over selling little red-and-white pieces of jewelry for 1 leu (35 cents). They’re on the roadsides, in the malls, on the subways… everywhere! And they are most definitely not candy canes.
And, if you’re American, you’re probably asking yourself, “What on earth is going on here?!?!” Because the only thing going on in February in America is the Superbowl and a whole lot of snow. (Okay, so I guess we do have President’s Day and Valentine’s Day as well.)
Say “hello” to Mărțișor, a traditional Romanian celebration that goes all the way back to the ancient Roman or even the Dacian (pre-Roman) people of the Carpathian region. It has its roots as a fertility festival, the rebirth of nature, and a celebration of spring. Celebrants would participate by giving and receiving mărțișoare (the small, red-and-white, pieces of jewelry). In ancient times (and yet today in some rural areas) these trinkets were believed to have magical properties, guaranteeing the wearer of a good, blessed, and fertile future. Today, for most people they’re simply a fun way to show you value someone’s friendship.
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged bucharest, culture, dacia, dacian, fertility, festivals, friendship, history, holidays, jewelry, love, magic, martisoare, martisor, roman, romania, talismans, traditions
I first learned about this hidden bit of wilderness right within the capitol of Romania over summer. At that time, I was freshly-arrived from a rural town of 1,400 people to this city of 2 million, so I was more than interested in exploring something like the countryside.
Vacareşti, I soon learned, has a very interesting history, and one that still has a lot of mystery for me.
I have lots of goals. They range from the difficult-to-define (a heart more in love with Jesus, full confidence in Him, fulfillment and satisfaction in all that he is and gives, a deep appreciation for the Word of God…) to the very specific (a church planted in Bucuresti, regular evangelism in the streets and marketplaces, ongoing ministry in the Țigani (Gypsy) neighborhoods…).
Here are my three biggest goals/prayers for the time being:
1. I want to be able to communicate in Romanian. Right now, I can say a few phrases, but my Romanian is definitely very limited. I am attempting to do two hours of language study each day, mixing things up with practice out in the streets. Learning the language seems critical to being able to reach Romanians in a lasting way, but I would also be up for God bringing me someone who wants to come translate for me. (P.S. The picture to the left is a random one I found on google, but I swear 90% of Romanian young men sport the fohawk.)
I was subbing for the 6th-grade US History class today and came across a pamphlet called “Sinti and Roma” put out by the United states Holocaust Museum. Since Romania is home to the second-largest population of Roma (aka “Gypsies”) in the world, I decided to take a quick read through it. (In case you weren’t aware, the Sinti are the particular Gypsy tribe living in western Europe and Roma are those living in the eastern parts of the continent.) With how much we talk about how the Holocaust affected the Jews, I was really shocked to read about the impact on the Gypsies as well.
I’ve been reading The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards for the last few months. I’ve got a bit to go yet, but I can already say this is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up. It has stirred my heart towards prayer and preaching the truth of Jesus like nothing else (except for maybe the Bible which kinda makes sense). Reading the testimony of this man who strove so diligently to see a lost people saved has filled me with a greater determination to speak the truth boldly and to expect transformation in people’s lives, even if they don’t respond well (or at all) at first. As the word of God is preached, surely men and women of all types will find hope, peace, and restoration.
In US history class today, I showed a video called “The Children’s March” by Teaching Tolerance. Tears formed in my eyes as I watched video footage of thousands of kids (some as young as four years old) rising up to protest inequality in Birmingham, AL. I was struck by God’s heart for justice and by the courage and power of those who stand up for what is right and true.
In getting ready for moving to Romania, I’ve been making lots of preparations. I’ve been sorting through all my possessions, packing what I’ll take with me (into one large suitcase and a carry-on), selling other things on eBay and Craigslist, getting other stuff ready for storage, and organizing the rest for a massive rummage sale in May. I’ve been visiting area churches to spread the news and raise support. I’ve been attempting to learn Romanian, with Pimsleur mp3s, the Complete Romanian text book, and Byki. I’ve been learning a ton about the history and culture of Romania. And I’ve been studying up on what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.
Here are five men from Christian history who continue to define Orthodox spirituality and whom I hope to learn some more about in the coming months. (Note: I owe much to Christian History Issue 54 for this list.)