May 2024

It takes courage!

It takes courage to live in Bucharest. To thrive and not just survive. It takes courage to get in a vehicle to run the gauntlet of traffic and movement, to create a half-hour of margin if you want to arrive at your destination on time. It takes courage to brave the tangle of bureaucracy, to continually battle the communist past and the current political corruption. It takes courage to not grow weary in well-doing.

We are so grateful for the men and women who have chosen to live in this city and continue to faithfully serve the church congregation and the community. We have had meaningful and purposeful conversations with many and are inspired by their passion and determination to make advantageous changes within their circles of influence.

Courage to stay true to God’s calling

Pastor Cristi of the Bucharest International Church comments: “C. S. Lewis in Screwtape Letters says: ‘Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point.’ It takes courage to reach out to people rather than to enjoy one’s own comfort. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to take risks, to share life together especially considering past disappointments. Ministry is about doing things with people, not for people; dreaming and crying together. That takes courage.”

Courage to fight human trafficking

We hosted our Eurasia director’s wife, Patti, and her assistant from Slovakia, Slavka, as they met with Iana Matei of Reaching Out Romania. Eight of the ten girls in the shelter home have now chosen to entrust their lives to the Lord and have been water baptized. Another called her mother to ask permission while we were visiting. “If it changes your life,” said the mother, “Then I’ll get baptized as well!” The atmosphere in the home currently is one of greater harmony and cooperation.

Saturday at noon we purchased twenty-one single pizzas and had a pizza party for the girls, social workers and four visiting volunteers. One of the most touching moments was when *Diana raised her hand after Dan had given thanks for the food and asked: “Can I pray as well?” Two months previously, Diana had attempted to take her life. Now she has faith and is so eager to pray.

We concluded our afternoon with the girls sitting together and singing songs of praise.

*name changed for privacy

Courage to live despite war

As the war continues relentlessly, Ukrainians are forced to make hard decisions: to return to the Ukraine, to move further west, or to create a life in Romania.

Courage to live in a non-receptive foreign country

The Nepalese make up the majority of the work force doing many of the menial jobs no longer desired by Romanians. They choose to not speak out against the injustices of their work conditions so that they can keep their jobs and send money back to their families in Nepal. Sunday mornings the group now fills the Activity Center to capacity and sit on the staircase leading to the next floor.

Most Nepalese in Bucharest are alone while their spouse and children remain in Nepal. Allen is the first baby born in Romania within our Nepalese church community. The parents were told he would not survive until birth, yet he was born healthy, and has just celebrated his first birthday.