Posted in Bucharest
Tagged church-plant, eastern orthodoxy, evangelism, gypsies, gypsy, letter, mihai bravu, missionary, prayer, prayer letter, school, teaching, testimonies, thanksgiving, vasilica, work
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Besides trying to keep up with my Romanian lessons, we’ve been spending at least a few hours each week on the streets sharing the gospel. And add to this the work I started at the English school–trying to learn where the students are at, what they know already, and what they’ll need to know– and you’ll understand when I say I’ve been busy.
Throw in getting sick (imagine the flu + diarrhea; the first night, the word “implode” suddenly made sense to me), and it’s been, well, trying.
When I get busy or sick or stressed, my attention tends to turn from the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth, but God never leaves me long in that place. He is always faithful to remind me of Heaven in the midst of whatever earthly troubles I’m dealing with.
The last two days have been interesting here in Romania. Mostly, it’s because I started teaching in one of the many private schools Bucureşti has to offer its wealthier, busier families. Allow me to give you a real quick look at school, orthodoxy, naked kids, lucky poop, and missing pants here in the capitol of România.
On Friday, I got a call from a woman with a thick Romanian accent saying, “Is this Ben Stimpson? We have school on Monday, but we do not have an English teacher. We want to know if we can meet today. What time can you meet us?” Forgetting my curiosity about how she got my number and why she thought I wanted to help at the school, I simply said, “Okay, I can meet between 3 and 4 this afternoon. Will that work for you?” And that was my introduction into the world of teaching English to Romanian elementary students. What’s expected of me? What lessons will I teach? How much English do the kids understand? What on earth have I signed up for???? I’m still not sure. But I’m now committed to teaching English to Romanian kids from 4 to 11 years old at least until June.
Today, I had a very enlightening but frustrating encounter with some Christian friends of mine. I really love these people, but our conversation about living radical left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a heavy burden in my heart, a burden that weighed down the joy of a free and forgiven heart. I felt like Jesus–who promised, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)–was quoted as having said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will point out more areas where you are weak and heap further burdens on you and then chastise you for not being at rest.”
I love these Christian friends of mine, but I left feeling as though “faith” had become a matter of “works” for them.
I got a chance today to work at Genesis Collegiate teaching English to elementary school students at their English Camp. It reminded me of everything I enjoyed about substitute teaching, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting to go again tomorrow.
My friend Rob hooked me up with the job. Rob moved out here from California a year or two ago after he met and married Camelia, a native-born Romanian. Rob and Camelia are awesome, and I’m definitely glad I got to meet them. Anyhow, Rob used to be a hotel manager, but he found his calling when he ended up teaching English to elementary school students in Romania. Whodathunkit?
I’m considering maybe getting a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. Here in Romania, there’s some need for English teachers, but worldwide there’s a very high demand right now. It could get me some money, but (more importantly) it can be a great open-door for ministry and for service.
But my days are already packed as it is, so I don’t know… Just one more thing to be praying about, I guess.
mun·dane [muhn-deyn, muhn-deyn]
1. of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly: mundane affairs.
2. common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.
3. of or pertaining to the world, universe, or earth.
It’s the boring times of life, the ordinary times. It’s the times they edit out of Hollywood movies. It’s the times that never make it into a novel, a comic book, or even a journal. It’s brushing your teeth when there’s an asteroid out there somewhere careening towards earth and all the world needs is a super-powered hero to rise up and rescue them.
I have a hard time with the mundane times.
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.)