Please pray for the mission team who will come next week to continue what we have done. For Rev Diane who is holding back important dental work until after she returns and will be in pain throughout the week; For Rosie who fell and broke her arm last week, that she be up to coming.
Please hold in prayer Cornells Mum who is poorly; the pastors who leave on Sunday and are replaced by Alex and Heather; a lady who is facing a huge electricity bill for the `squat` she and her family are having to live in.
Please hold the whole Church in prayer this weekend in particular as it will be emotional for the leaving pastors.
We spent Tuesday evening stripping chairs ready for repainting. The plan is that as the week progresses we will paint the chairs and reupholster them so that the Romanian people can relax more in worship. It was interesting to find that the chairs were all stamped as coming from Remploy as far back as 1970. Quite how Derby-shire chairs got out to Romania we don’t know !!
While we did this others prepared crafts ready for the following days Holiday club.
What was really bizarre was while we were doing all this outside, a herd of goats was being driven down the street at 10.00 p.m. Really bizarre !
Over the road seems to be an abattoir of sorts; Very different to what we’re used to.
Wednesday Mowed two fields each the size of Ripley Chapel + more and as they had both been used previously as ploughed fields you can imagine the state they were in.
We were taken on a tour of the village; new housing built with incredible wealth alongside shacks; poverty alongside rich. I was particularly struck by 2 metal storage containers which had been welded together to form two houses which would have housed one family of several generations. A metal storage container !!
Holiday club started this afternoon with about 15 youngsters, lively and mischievous. Ages ranged from 3-14 years old. Apparently because it is so hot here at the moment parents won’t let their children come down to the holiday club. Disappointing. Played games (with water bombs) told a story about Paul’s conversion and sang Romanian children’s songs. I can now sign using BSL in Romanian (I think).
One of the sadness-es was when we were told that the 14 year old had had an abortion earlier this year. Its regarded as a form of contraception. Very sad as sex is often seen as a way out for these young girls.
Thursday. My wedding Anniversary. Spent most of today feeling quite down because I haven’t been able to chat to Alison. Found it hard to get involved in anything, but allegedly helped Andrew clean out a `spill-a-way` water disposal system which had got blocked and we fixed mesh over the water tap area. Began to dig out the basketball court. Hope to get a photo of that in a few weeks time.
Holiday club again focused on Paul`s first missionary journey and this evening I led a Bible Study group for the Church about love. 1 John 4:7-12. Cornell, a trainee Romanian Pastor, translated for me but it felt strange delivering it in stages. Alex thought it was spot on but Heather seemed to think it was too short. Maybe Alex was just being polite.
Here we are at the end of the day and I don’t really know how to feel.
Please pray for Alex, Heather and their family who work in Romania and who hav e given up their livelihoods and comfort to come out here because they feel God wants them here.
Please pray for our holiday club which begins tomorrow.
Well, after waiting weeks and months we landed in Bucharest yesterday (Monday). Flight at 8.00 a.m. landed at 1.00 p.m. their time (2 hour time difference). Bit of a bumpy landing but apart from that it was a decent flight. However I was sitting next to mr Huffy-Puffy ! Whatever happened he let out an exasperated sigh and this to be every 10 minutes. I nearly asked him if was having breathing difficulties, when I realised it was probably because he couldn’t see out the window and was bored !! We then had a four hour drive to Poiana Constanta along some very bouncy roads and avoiding many potholes. It was certainly an experience and made the incoming flight feel quite smooth.
First impressions of Romania is of a dry dusty country where there are many empty derelict buildings left to rot alongside new building work going up.
The family we are staying with are a fantastic group. Read about them on www.standrewsonline.co.uk (links). They have been so welcoming and hospitable, its remarkable. They’ve simply handed their house over to nine of us, only three of whom they’ve met before, and made us feel so at home. Frustratingly this computer I’ve borrowed is over seven years old and is slowing their work up enormously. I wonder if we could raise the money to get them a new one or a laptop, so that they have more time to work amongst the street children ?
Tuesday. Done the tourist bit today, going into the local town and visiting the wooden Church which had a Romanian Orthodox service taking place. Beautiful Church made entirely out of wood. However, the approach to it was spoilt by the number of children begging for money, and we’ve even got a photograph of Sam, Heather and myself with a begging child on it because he refused to move away. The really sad thing is that these children are begging and taking the cash back to men sitting elsewhere. Its a real scam which means that those in genuine need are not getting the help they deserve.
Afterwards we went to the beach and relaxed in the gorgeous sun, and `plodging` (paddling to the non-Geordie’s) in the Black Sea. It was beautiful, relaxing and peaceful. We had lunch in local restaurant and stopped off at Carrefours for shopping. The contrast of what we’ve experienced today, especially in the Carrefours shopping mall, and what we’ve already seen en-route is quite severe. Here, the well off really do seem to live cheek by jowl with the poor.
Feel quite humbled already.
Please hold the staff, residents and visitors of Maple Leaf House (MHA Care Home for Alzheimer’s and dementia care) this weekend as we hold our 6 monthly memorial service. In this service we name and remember those residents who have died over the last six months. A brief word is spoken about each one to make it personal and we light a candle accordingly (unless the weather is good enough to be outside).
It is always a moving occasion.
I was privileged to take the funeral service of Harry today in my capacity as Chaplain to Methodist Care Homes, Maple Leaf House. Harry had been one of our residents. His funeral was to take place at Bolehill Chapel, a place I’d never been to, set on the edge of the peaks as part of the town of Wirksworth. The view from the Chapel was simply stunning and I found myself praising God for his wonderful creation.
Harry had been a keen falconer and as I shared this with the congregation I could imagine Harry taking his birds and watching them soar over the hills with total freedom and yet secure in the knowledge of returning to Harry for protection and food. I could also imagine the pridce Harry must have had in knowing he had trained the birds well.
I think its something like that with God. He rears us and sets us free to soar in our lives. As we do so he watches with pride and delight as we discover the gifts and talents we have and as we live our lives to the fullest possible. All he asks of us is that we regularly return to him for feeding and protection; feeding spiritually and protection from the evil one.
I don’t think that its any coincidence that the Bible speaks of `soaring up as on eagles winds`. God created us to live this life to the fullest and to glory in that which he has given us. Sadly too often we don’t do that and we remain like caged birds bemoaning our lot or too scared to change for fear of the unknown. Harry’s birds never knew that fear; for them it was a life of soaring and flying. I pray that our lives may be the same.
Friday night; only Saturday and Sunday to go ! Yes, I’m getting excited; I think the realisation of what is about to happen has only just started to sink in.
On Wednesday I was given a gift by the local Church of Christ of £100 and loads of toys to take with me; Last Sunday my Ripley Church gave over £100 for me to buy some toiletries and toys with and instructed me to take the remaining money with me to use over there.
Peoples generosity is enormous and it has made me aware that I’m not doing this on my own or for myself. I really am tackling this with a larger team and on behalf of all my church members who cannot be with me in person. That is an awesome responsibility !
My hope is that I will be able to e~mail home during the week and update this blog as I go, but I don’t know what access I’ll have to e~mail so we’ll just have to wait and see. Wish I was there………………………….
Please pray for Rosie, a member of the week 2 team, who has fallen and broken her arm. She now requires an operation. Please pray that she will still be able to go. Please also remember her husband, Richard, and daughter, Holly (6 years) who are also part of that same team.
5 days to go !