Monday, June 29, 2009

Romania 2009: Day 6

I have to make another round of apologies. Apparently Nate is not 40, nor is he 36 but in fact 31. Also I received a comment on the blog from Tiffany Parkins to let me know that Russ is not 40 either. So if you really want a great reason to come on next year’s trip you seem to get younger and younger as the trip goes along. All I know is that Stuart and I are definitely over 40. If I have gotten anyone else’s age wrong I apologize now. (By the way – my wife is older than me).
Over the last couple of days I have also noticed some stray cats. There are definitely not as many as there are dogs and with the number of dogs I am not surprised. Now the cats aren’t as smart as the dogs and don’t come over to you with those big puppy eyes that seem to say “please give me something to eat” but run away from you. As such the cats don’t have people like Isabelle who make sure that there is not a scrap of meat left at the table after a meal so that she can literally take a doggy bag to them. By the way the dogs are much fatter than the cats. We have also had the debate whether Romanian dogs actually understand Americans but Kelli definitely seems to have Romanian puppy language down.
The cultural site of the day behind another cow being taken for a walk was from this morning. As I walked over to VBS an old car pulled up in front of me which had an elderly couple in it, probably somewhere in their 70’s. The man was driving and had pulled up to let his wife out. When she opened the door the music from their radio was fairly loud and some pretty hardcore techno dance music was being played. Either this couple were the coolest 70 year olds around or they had not figured out how to change the channel on their radio.
Today VBS began in Pucioasa and Fieni and the building project began in Fieni. I went to Fieni where we had 34 kids, 15 of whom typically did stuff with the church but the others were new. I was amazed at how fast they all got involved especially with the singing. After some lessons from the bible, some games and a craft the kids went back home and really seemed to have a great time. I did a few tricks for them and set the stage for me to eat fire on Wednesday. It is amazing how many kids think they know the answer to the trick but they rarely do. The cool thing is that every trick I do has some Christian message to it and it seems to keep them entertained while learning something from the bible.
Back when we first introduced ourselves to the churches here I introduced myself as George Bush (well he does have the same initials as me). Ever since then I have been called George Bush. Luckily it does not seem that he had such a bad name down here so I can get away with it. I have also tried David Beckham but I guess he just isn’t as believable and so it looks like it will be George Bush for now.
In Pucioasa they had 54 kids and from what I have heard it went down just as well as Fieni did. I did come back over to hear about some story of how Jessie Matthews had been caught on tap slapping Hunter on the face knocking him over. My guess is by the end of the week the size of these groups will have grown. After VBS we had lunch and a short break before we headed over to the park for an evangelism outreach. We had decided that I could start to draw a crowd by making balloon animals while some of the others handed at tracks and spoke to some of the adults and teenagers. I do not know what happened but within seconds it was like ants to sugar but I had people blowing up balloons while I made the animals (thankfully most of the kids wanted a sword which is the easiest thing to make). With the youths helping in blowing up balloons and Hunter as my back up sword maker I think we probably made about 100 balloon animals. As I soon as I stopped they all seemed to disappear. Any way tomorrow we will try to do something similar in Fieni if we can get past the local government restrictions.
After the outreach I went over with Nate to the building project. It was amazing how fast the wall was completed once I turned up. These guys are working under some pretty tough conditions – the original walls aren’t straight, the wood delivered is all over the place as far as standard size and length. A 4 by 4 can range anywhere from a 3 by 3 to a 5 by 5. I don’t think they have one piece of wood that is not bowed. On top of that they have limited tools and the rain keeps coming in. It truly will be an amazing feat for them to complete the project before we leave.
Basketball and volleyball seem to be the staple activity that is done every day for as many free hours as Nate will let us have. The good news is that we as a group are upholding the honor of America (and England) with our performance on the court. Mark, Steve, Hunter and I split two games of basketball against 4 Romanians. When it comes to this standard you can just call me backpack. I know I have been travelling too long when I finally get to play basketball with my son and he is better than I am. We almost did have a crowd invasion as Stuart tried to provide his vocal refereeing opinions which seemed to favor us more than to be unbiased. He did tell me after that he has had many a run in with referees at sporting events for Mark. Somehow I didn’t have a hard time believing it. Volley ball is a different situation in that I still have the edge on Hunter. Partly because of my amazing standing jump which has been measured at about 2, inches that is, not feet.
After a couple of hours of sport I think I can officially say that my athletic career is over. During basketball I tweaked my thigh muscle again and by the end of volleyball my whole body seemed to ache.
I am now back in the hotel room. Hunter came in shortly after I got back and just like last night stated, “Dad, I am not tired at all.” Within about 20 seconds he was asleep. I also know now that he has been getting involved with VBS. One of the songs the kids sing goes something like “Tica taca, tica taca, tica taca ta, Cu Cu” which is supposed to sound like a Cuckoo clock. Hunter just rolled over and sang “Cu Cu” in his sleep.
Psalm 108:3-5 – “I will praise You, O LORD, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your mercy is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth;”


  1. Gretchen BertucciniJune 29, 2009 at 8:11 PM

    Thanks for posting these Giles---I am sure you are the glue of this mission team and they are lucky to have you there. I have read these everyday and have enjoyed a good chuckle. I am glad the Lord is able to use your bizarre "talents" for His glory---it truly goes to show that He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise:) Love you--Gretchen

  2. Between your purring and Hunter's "Cu Cu" ing, I don't know how I am going to sleep at night when you two boys get home. (Snoring has just taken on a new language). I love you, Honey.

    Keep up the blogging, you are keeping Savannah and I entertained in your absence, not to mention anyone else who is reading this!

    Praying that the Lord continues His mighty work in all of you and He keeps you safe and healthy.

    Love to all,