Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 9 - The Toughest Day

Day 9 – The Toughest Day

I know yesterday’s blog wasn’t really a blog but for the first time in the two years of coming to Romania I really was too tired to function. And so tonight I will try to cover the last two days in a little more detail.
Yesterday was the wrapping up of VBS. Both Puciosa and Fieni had about the same number of children (40-50 at both locations). From what I could tell the children had a great time. Some of the children really touch your hearts. One of the boys at Puciosa has been a royal pain for the last two years and nothing changed this year. After about 30 minutes of his acting up you are ready to beat him. But this year for the first time I heard more of his story. He comes from a gypsy family and is one of 8 children (I think – it may be 14 children but that seems way too many). And his 14 year old sister is in charge of looking after all of the young ones including a young toddler. When you start to realize that this boy has essentially no guidance it is not difficult to understand why he constantly acts up. This year Russ decided to show some tough love and discipline him but do it with some guidance. Today as we said our goodbyes he was there with his elder sister and he wanted his picture taken with us and loved the picture he had with Russ.
For the roving Brittoners we began and finished up in Vulcana Bai. VBS was in a field, on a hill, in wet grass – the program had to be cut down from 4 hours to 2 hours and so essentially we used the accounts of Moses and Jesus to give the gospel message. Talk about difficult conditions to do crafts and even act out some of the scenes but I am proud of my family and the job they did to pull off another great VBS. Here we had 27 kids and again this was after handing out flyers one day before. The toughest thing for me was the fire eating. In Varfur the wind posed a problem with fire eating and having learned from that when I faced the same windy conditions in Vulcana Bai I remembered to face so that the wind was blowing away from my face. But now I had a new problem – when I faced with the wind blowing in the right direction and put my head back the sun was shining straight in my eyes. As I lowered the fire into my mouth I had to shut my eyes for the last few inches. When I came to the part where I light my tongue on fire I literally shut my eyes and hoped I pressed down on my tongue and then was able to find the flame with the other stick. This was by far and away the most difficult fire eating I have ever done and frankly makes think twice of whether I will ever eat fire if there is even the slightest breeze.
Niku and I spoke and he was so happy that at the 3 locations we reached almost 70 kids. One of the goals of this year’s trip was to expand our outreach and that was done. There are already ideas afoot of expanding the time in Magura, Varfur and Vulcana Bai and even sending a team to Rimnicu Sarat.
Today was the toughest day of the whole trip. The goodbyes. After breakfast we headed to the church where we began the painful process of saying goodbye to both the Puciosa and Fieni churches. Dani won the prize for most time spent crying but frankly everyone pailed in comparison to the deluge Izzy produced last year. In fact I am sure Izzy has shed several tears this year and she wasn’t even on the trip. Again the tears shed between the youth were very touching but for me the most touching was the 14 year old girl who came to the church with the trouble boy and the toddler so they could say goodbye. She had spent 4 days at VBS where she had been able to actually act like a kid, singing songs and doing crafts, and had help looking after the toddler. She was walking up and down the street by our vans bawling her eyes out.
The drive back to Bucharest was uneventful except for Stuart, who was leading, once again having a desire to make a right turn from the left lane of a roundabout (traffic circle). After a traditional meal at Hard Rock some decided to visit a Museum of Houses, some took a water ferry to the hotel and Russ and I drove to the hotel. One of the biggest changes this year has been the police presence wherever we have been and today in Bucharest it was even more the case. We had road stops, police cars and ambulances flying up and down roads and at one point Russ almost had a head on collision with a police car. I do have to say that this was not Russ’ fault at all. He made his way on to a roundabout going the right way and suddenly a police car appeared out of nowhere going in the wrong direction. Both Russ and the police car completed diversionary maneuvers and I put my money I was going to use to bail Russ out back in my wallet.
We rounded out today with a devotion and then dinner at the hotel. Just like last year there was a group singing in the restaurant and just like last year the lead male singer blew us away with his 1970’s look. I am not sure any photo could do justice to this guy’s outfit.
Well just to finish off this blog here are some random stories or thoughts from the trip.
Food has been a main topic of conversation and controversy this trip. From the first meal here with Hannah unable to order anything she liked, to the wonderful food we had at people’s houses, to the joy of being able to turn up at breakfast, lunch or dinner and have it prepared for you by Chrissie, Tiffany or Daniella. Stuart finally changed from only praying for the hands of the person who prepared the meal to praying for their whole body. Dani had a saccharin disaster. With Hannah needing a sugar substitute Dani picked up a saccharin dispenser for her. The one-by-one dispensing didn’t work and so Dani prized the top off the dispenser sending hundreds of tiny saccharin tablets all over the table including over the Papanosi.
Last year we were all surprised by the listing of Crap on the menu. Now this is a fish and the only debate is whether it is Carp mis-spelled or actually a fish by that name. Hunter finally couldn’t take it anymore and ordered Crap to share with Michelle. They really didn’t like it and so Russ and I tried it and both agreed it lived up to its name and that it left a horrible after taste in your mouth. Depsite this proclamation Holly and Savannah seemed to determined to disprove us. I am not sure why you would run the risk of the proclamation being right but they didn’t find it quite as bad until the after taste set in. So take note if you make next year’s trip, do not order Crap or Mushroom soup at the hotel restaurant.
Some people make lasting impressions. When I turned up at Fieni to do my fire eating Marian asked the children if they could remember a special person from last year’s VBS. The answer was not George Bush but “Miss Isabelle”. This year it was Hunter who made an impression. Before VBS on the last day a little girl named Maria cam running up and gave Hunter a picture of herself and had written her address on the back. As she walked away she professed her love for him. What these 8 year olds will do for a boyfriend. I must admit it was not hard to be attracted to her especially with her Mickey Mouse slippers on.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Tomorrow we head home and so have an early morning leaving the hotel at 5:45 a.m.

1 comment:

  1. Gretchen BertucciniJuly 2, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    What a beautiful blessing to hear how God used our friends to minister the gospel to the Romanian people. I am so proud and happy for all of you. I know there are several sad people (Isabelle, Sara K. and Michaila) wandering the halls of HBC wishing they would have been with all of you, but praying for your time there. Come home safely---much love from us--Gretchen