From the time Vlad Ţepeş (the inspiration behind Dracula) held back the invasion of the Turkish empire, Romania has been a gateway into Europe and a center of the Christian-Muslim conflict. Seven hundred years after Vlad, thousands of men and women still come to this nation attempting to enter Europe, many of them coming from Muslim nations in Africa and Asia. Some are refugees fleeing war-torn countries, but most are average men and women seeking employment and a better life in Europe, and a few are involved in drug trafficking or other illegal activities. Although they claim all these and more reasons for making the long trek to Romania, we believe God is in fact the one calling many of them! Like our friends Emal and Rashid, who came to Romania looking for money in the drug trade but found new life in Jesus, we believe there are many more Muslims ready to discover the forgiveness of God right here in Romania. This Christmas, we did something special to bring them the good news.
Instead of re-writing the story, I’m just copying and pasting the email my brother Jake sent around about a young man to whom we’ve recently been ministering. Consider getting involved and helping to change his life!
We met Emal, a young Muslim refugee from Afghanistan, about 9 months ago. We shared the Gospel with him, he’s been reading the Bible, and he comes to church most weeks. He hasn’t started to trust in Jesus yet, but he’s growing closer. Recently, he told me, “I know I need a new life – I want things to change, and I think Jesus is the answer, but I can’t believe in Him yet. I need to learn more about Him first, and then I can only believe if I really believe it’s true.”
One of Emal’s biggest physical needs right now is for hearing aids. Like many refugees we’re meeting from Afghanistan, Emal’s ears were damaged with the constant bombing, so we want to get him some hearing aids to make it easier for him to get a job, survive in Bucharest, and, most important, learn more about Jesus.
We found a pair of used hearing aids plus 2 years of batteries for $250. These are really good hearing aids that normally cost $2000 to $3000 new, so this is a great opportunity. Please pray about helping us to buy these hearing aids for Emal, and if you can give, click here.
When we present them to him, we want to be able to tell him, “This is a gift from Christians from all over the world who care about you because Jesus cares about you. This isn’t just from me, but this is a gift from God’s people.”
Whether you can give or not, pray for Emal, for his hearing to be restored, for him to find good work in Bucharest, and, most important, that his heart would turn to Jesus!
Thanks so much!
If you can give, click here.
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged deaf, donate, ears, giving, hearing aids, islam, money, muslim, poor, refugees, support
With Christmas come and gone, I figured I ought to give a quick update on some of our holiday adventures here in Romania. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so you don’t get any.
For starters, nearly $600 in donations came in this year for buying Christmas gifts for poor families. (Way to go, 724! You guys rock!!!) We’re still a small work, so this more than covered all of our expenses this year! Besides bringing gifts (around 40 or 50) ourselves for families to whom we’ve been ministering, we were also able to give a donation to a church doing a similar work in another area of Bucharest. For everybody who gave to make this happen, thanks!
Today, after spending the afternoon speaking to people in Cismigiu Park (and, incidentally, getting ourselves kicked out because we handed a gospel flier to a security guard), we hopped on the subway to go visit our Gypsy friends along Drumul Taberei. They live in what I can only describe as complete squalor. The adults survive by begging and washing car windows. They sleep on strangely-smelling and lumpy things that vaguely resemble centuries-old mattresses (one family per mattress) in small rooms with no electricity that somehow survived the destruction of the building that had once stood around them. Their drafty homes are heated by wood, and only Vasilica’s has running water. The kids, when they’re not in school, join their parents to wash car windows at the intersections and beg spare change off of passersby.
Posted in Bucharest
Tagged children, cismigiu, drumul taberei, evangelism, gypsies, gypsy, poor, poverty, racism, stereotype, vasilica
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.”)