I wrote earlier about “Children Underground,” a documentary from 2001 about some of the children living in the subways of Bucuresti. Although much has changed since 10 years ago, much has remained the same. Instead of living in the subway tunnels, though, they now live in an old, abandoned, underground heating system in the north of the city. Instead of mostly children, there are now families. But they’re still hooked on drugs, usually paint or heroine.
One of the characters who most stood out to me from the video was Macarena, a 16-year-old girl hooked on paint and struggling to survive. Watching her cry over her stolen paint and beg for food, I couldn’t help but feel compassion in my heart.
Well, our friend and co-worker Jason just called us with some crazy news: he ran into Macarena today! In a city of 2 million, it’s a crazy, cool, God thing to run into her. So, Jason ended up talking with her for quite a while about Jesus, bought her some medicine she needed, and invited her to church. She was very open.
Pray for Macarena and the tens of thousands who are hooked on drugs and wasting away here in Bucuresti. And for some more information about their life (at least from 10 years ago), check out the video.
On December 1, I came across the story of a man whose life was transformed by Teen Challenge’s ministry in Bucuresti. Emmanuel ran away from home as a seven-year-old boy. On the streets, he made a home in the sewers and quickly became addicted to aurolac and then to heroine. His life was spiraling downward, and he figured it would only continue to get worse.
Seventeen years later, a miracle happened.
He met a girl, she got pregnant, and Emmanuel realized his life needed to change.
The last two weeks, we’ve been learning a lot about some of the more difficult situations in Bucuresti. Although we are continuing to develop relationships with college students and reach out to the universities, God has been putting the drug-addicts, the homeless, the prostitutes, the insane, the poor, the pimps on our hearts. Jesus went to lepers, so it only makes sense that he would lead us to the lepers of Bucuresti.
We learned a lot from Sorin and Ana about the sewer people. In the north of Bucuresti there is an old underground complex that used to heat the entire city. Now, the place is home to families who have lost their homes for one reason or another and have now moved underground. As we spoke with Sorin and Ana, we felt our hearts stirred to bring the gospel to these people. A few have brought them handouts, but who is bringing them Jesus?
I recently came across the following documentary, and I think it’ll give you a good idea about some of what we see every day here. Although the situation has gotten better, thousands of kids still live on the streets of Bucharest. As I think about them, my heart breaks. What church would ever accept them in their ragged clothes and filth? What pastor would ever go to them?
Pray for our meeting today with Ana and Sorin. On a number of occasions, they’ve gone to the sewers with food and clothes for the kids. We hope to team up to bring them not only physical help but also spiritual.
God, open up a door for the gospel!