One of the local sex shops (and there are many) periodically plasters the city with its posters, most of which feature scantily-clad or nude women. The posters could be worse, but they’re certainly not what I want visitors to Bucharest, little children, or young men such as myself to be bombarded with while walking along the streets.
The posters are pasted illegally. When the posterers (is that even a word?) get caught, they’re always fined. The sex shop always pays the fine, and then they go right back to breaking the law with another round of posters.
While I’m all for freedom of the press, there are times when censorship has its benefits. I just really don’t think it’s healthy for anything and everything to be out on the streets.
It was late at night after the Good Friday service. I had planned to stay through to the midnight candle-lighting, but I kept falling asleep so decided to head home early.
When I saw her standing along the busy street, I immediately started going over Romanian phrases in my head. “Isus te iubeşte, Jesus loves you” and “Nu e viaţa, this isn’t life” were the two that seemed easiest and most intelligible. But then selfishness crept in, so I decided to lower my head and just hurry past without making eye contact.
As I approached, though, her need for money made my selfish attempt to ignore her fall on its face. She stepped right in front of me and blocked my path.
I keep an eye on the stats for my blog. It’s not really useful or productive in any way, but I’m often curious about what posts people are reading, how they find my blog, and how many people are returning readers. In particular, I’ve been watching two posts for the last few months, my two most popular ones: Romanian Prostitutes… Just Another Standard Hotel Amenity and All He Says I Am – Cody Carnes.
Although my Cody Carnes post had been the uncontested lead nearly since the day it was published, a few months ago, a serious challenge appeared in the Romanian prostitutes post. I’ve been watching intently the last few weeks as the gap between the two slowly but surely began to close. Last night, the two were only one view apart by the time I went to bed (702 to 701 views). As of this morning the Romanian prostitutes are now in the top position, with a small but growing 6-view lead (710 to 704 views).
This makes me sad. I know the average reader of my prostitution post is finding it it while searching for ways to get sex in Bucharest, not while searching for ways to help end human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It means more people are interested in continuing the exploitation of women and minors than in the things of God. 😦
But there is a bright side. We can all breathe a sigh of relief because Cody Carnes is no longer beating Romanian prostitutes.
(And, yes, I really did use up an entire post just so I could make that stupid joke.)
Our meeting with Andreea was very different from our meeting with Ryan and Andrea. Andreea is a recent college graduate and has a deeply passionate heart for seeing victims of human trafficking brought the freedom and justice they were made for. She studied law in college (her thesis was all about ending human trafficking) and spent some time working with IJM. She has traveled Romania learning the stories of those trafficked and trying to understand how to end this horrible crime.
Hearing Andreea tell the story of her mother’s friend who became a victim of trafficking put a very personal touch on things. Now, it wasn’t just ideas we were talking about but real people, people who knew someone I was talking with.
This last week, we met with two different people who have been working to end human trafficking in Romania. I didn’t take nearly good enough notes, so I won’t try to make this post a summary of the meetings. But I do hope to give some information about the issue.
Ryan and Andrea, a missionary couple sent out from the US, came here specifically to work towards ending human trafficking and bringing healing to those trafficked. They have been traveling across Europe meeting with individuals and organizations, trying to sort out fact from fiction and learn about the difficulties in this line of work.
A local church here in Bucuresti has been holding late-night prayer and “revival” meetings. I was super excited and had been hearing some awesome reports about healings, the presence of God, people staying until 2 a.m. to pray and seek God, and awesome, biblical preaching. So we headed there with high expectations on Thursday night.
Worship was awesome. This church the most life-filled worship service here in Bucuresti. People were singing loudly and with passion, and there was a real joy on people’s faces. That’s something I haven’t seen since moving out here, and, oh, how it fed my spirit!
My friend Sorin started work at a hotel about a month ago. He’s a dedicated Christian and a man of God, and he shares the gospel with zeal. We ‘hired’ him as our translator when Jake Martin came to Bucureşti for two weeks of evangelism. Anyhow, he got a job working at a hotel now as a bus boy. He loves the work. The pay is more than enough for him ($2/hour) and it includes one free meal every day and a couple tips here and there.