Anyway, this is the article I’ve written for the Codnor Chapel magazine about Romania………………………………
Mr Huffy~Puffy was for the umpteenth time making it clear to me that he wasn’t at all happy with some aspect of the air flight we were both engaged in, en~route to Romania. The Stewardess had kindly suggested that he might like to put his hand luggage in the appropriate compartment as we were due to take off, and he indicated with a mighty sigh that this was a ridiculous request and why should he listen to a `mere woman ?` For the rest of the flight this was the pattern with my exasperated neighbour huffing and puffing at the least thing, and he was the first Romanian I ever met ! I remember thinking as we entered Romanian airspace that if the rest of the people were like him ,”What have I let myself in for ?”
No doubt over the next few weeks and months many of you will hear stories about my time in Romania but one of the consistent threads throughout it all will be the wonderful generosity and hospitality of the Romanian people, despite the poverty many of them are living under. Not all were like my first Romanain encounter.
I will always remember Angela (pronounced Ann-gela) who gave us all drinks of Fanta orange and biscuits despite not having much money and five children to support. I’ll remember Angela and Tanta Lena giving of their time and energy so freely to come and cook us a genuine Romanian meal. To folk like these they counted it a privilege to show us true hospitality at whatever cost. Very humbling.
Other things I will remember are things like the long days digging out a basketball court (and now waiting to see the finished product in a photo), mowing a field, repairing and refurbishing chairs and I’ve now become an `expert` on Romanian soakaways ! I even preached to a small group of Romanian men and women, translated from Geordie into Romanian by a Scotsman who had ministered in Wales : hows that for cosmopolitan ? It also means that I can now truly be described as an international speaker !
But most of all I’ll remember the children who faithfully came to the holiday club each day and to the Church on Sunday. Leo, Coce (pronounced co-cay), Bubu, Dodo, and many others who turned up with beaming smiles, open minds and welcoming hearts. All they wanted was for adults to be interested in them and show them love. On my last day Dodo came up to me, took my hand and simply said “Mike”. I could have melted. I’ll hold in my hearts the tragic difficulties of young teenage pregnancies and abortions, of children having to wear the wrong size shoes because that’s all they had, and of ill~fitting clothing on some children. The children were not only welcoming to us but welcoming to God at work in their lives. These were children with so little, but whose spiritual walk went further than mine does at times. Children who thought nothing of asking God to heal their friend, who would pray out aloud at the end of the holiday club, and children who sang “Light of the World” with such passion in church.
What have I gained from this experience ?
I feel that my faith has been challenged and also enriched. I feel that I’ve learned so much. I feel that I’ve been encouraged to see the wider picture of what God is doing in his Church within this world, and its exciting. God has called all of us to bless our community and we don’t have to go to Romania or wherever to do it. We need to be engaged in his work right here, where we are as well.
Having said that, I’m going back to Romania next year. Anyone want to go with me ?
The above picture is one taken of a `house` that a family used to live in up until last year. I use the word `house` carefully as it was actually two metal storage containers welded together ! As we experienced heat of 53 degrees you can imagine how hot it must have been inside such a container !
“Eric” on mission as part of mission team week 2
(See my website to find out who Eric is)
If you click on the picture you will see more of Eric on mission,
courtesy of Heather Chalmers (Pastor)