Day 7 – Church on Wednesday (like most normal churches)
I am not sure whether we had another mosquito in the room last night or whether the mosquito bites that had been inflicted on me the night before were just coming out. At the latest count I have 36 on one arm and 11 on the other. As least I know I will be leaving a part of me here when I go home.
Today the roving team headed back out to Varfur. There were 31 kids and a couple more mums. In speaking to Niku this is a village that is ready for an evangelical. He was so uplifted to see the response from the village towards the VBS and not only that, the mayor of the town seems to be open to having Niku start a church there.
Again in typical fashion the plans change on the fly. Our time in Vulcana Bai on Thursday is only supposed to be from 10 a.m. to noon, not 2:30 p.m. and so Niku me if we could go back out to Varfur on Thursday afternoon. I let Niku know that the VBS material would be finished today but I could go out and do a series of object lessons for them. In the end as I started to prepare a 2 hour program Niku changed his mind. In a way I would love to have gone back out because the instant interest from this area is something that needs to be grasped to.
In the afternoon we had some free time except for the fact that nothing had been communicated to the people in Vulcana Bai about the VBS tomorrow and so a team of people went there to hand out flyers. Barbara and I got to accompany Alex to Targoviste and while there he took the time to take us to a couple of places. First, we went to the old fortress which was in ruins but was being rebuilt. The only thing open to the public was the tower and in that we learned some of the history of Romania and of Targoviste. Romania used to be a country made up of three regions all ruled by a prince. Then about 400 years ago it was united under some man named Mihai who has his head buried in Targoviste. I am not sure what happened to the rest of the body but they only seem to care about where his head was buried. The capital was moved from Targoviste to Bucharest and remained a monarchy until the end of World War II. Sometime during this period is when Vlad Tepes ruled as one of the regional leaders in Targoviste. His name Tepes means “stake” and because of his father being called Dracul, Vlad Tepes became known as Count Dracula. He lived upto his name by putting a stake through people. At the end of World War ii the Russians came in and installed a new ruler who was a communist. They took the wealth from the rich and gave it out. Despite everyone having a job and being able to have the essentials in life they could not handle the lack of freedom that existed under the communists. Eventually in 1989 the communist leader of Romania was killed in Targoviste.
The strange thing about the ruins was that the wall had been built up and then inside these walls a number of ruins had been uncovered and the buildings were being rebuilt. However, the tower was rebuilt but on top of the site where the church used to be. The church was being built somewhere else. So essentially they were building a series of new buildings to cover up the ruins.
Second, we went to visit an area in old Targoviste which has been re-done to create a shopping/restaurant area only open to pedestrians. I was actually very nice so we sat down to have a coffee. And then the rains came in. So we jumped into another café and had another coffee. I told Alex if we kept doing that we would be wired for church. It did stop and we returned to Puciosa for evening Church.
At church I started to get some of the emotions of this trip as I realized we only had one more day in Puciosa. This trip again has been a blessing to me and it is hard to think it almost done for another year. Niku had asked all of the VBS kids to bring their parents to the church for the service and had promised I would do fire eating (not inside during the service but afterwards outside. This was going to be the 3nd time for me to eat fire. In Varfur I did the fire eating and was rather challenged with the wind. I only singed one side of my beard. Then in Puciosa after the service I did the fire eating. At one point I push one of the burning rods on to my tongue which lights my tongue on fire so I can light the other rod. Unfortunately I did not have enough liquid on it and I had to push down very hard to have the flame burn on my tongue. It never is a good feeling when you take a fire and push it onto your tongue but I got through it.
Tonight Barbara and I and Russ and Tiffany went over to Solomon’s house and met his family. It is very strange to see a family over here all with strong Christian values and all getting along together . Solomon is one of 11 children of which one died at birth and the eldest died from leukemia 10 years ago. As Solomon talked about this brother who was about to die when Solomon asked him to teach him music, you could see the tears in his eyes. This was how Solomon got the passion for music but also the heart for Jesus. After eating, Solomon introduced his mother. With Solomon on the accordion and the mother either singing or playing the harmonica and the rest of the family singing, we were serenaded by them. Folks, I think we have found the Romanian equivalent of the Parkin family.
Philippians 3:13-14 – “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”