Monday, March 13, 2017

Homes Away from Home

I'm trying to think of a clever way to start this blog entry, but the cheerful conversations of the teens in my room are a bit distracting.  Thankful, though, for sweet teens and cheerful conversations...but not feeling like the best of writers at the moment.

Students on my team today
I loved today.  The morning was very laidback - breakfast and devotions with the team, a time of prayer for the ministries here, and then most of the group headed to the city of Craiova while 3 of the students stayed behind with me.  We got to eat a relaxed lunch, talk with some of the people from the church, and then meet with one of the missionaries, Dorothy.  Dorothy works primarily in children's ministry here, but has also taken on a second area of ministry, with the neediest of people in the nearby communities.  Once a month, she brings groceries to them, and we got to be a part of that today.  We helped Dorothy pick up food at the market, then we drove from village to village and saw 4 different women.

the first woman we visited
The first was mostly blind and mostly deaf, and living alone.  It was cold and wet outside, but warm and cozy in her tiny home.  She talked to us, and we tried to talk to her, and we prayed for her, and it was sweet.

The home of the second woman

The second woman was very eager for conversation.  She also lives alone, though her youngest son was home briefly from working in Spain.  They had no electricity until recently, and now they have a single lightbulb, which works only at night.  I served as translator for the students as best I could, so that Dorothy (who is pretty perfectly bilingual) could focus more on the conversations themselves. Her son spoke too fast for me, but I could understand her and Dorothy, and it was fun.  It was also so encouraging to see the sweet relationships Dorothy has built with so many in these towns, and how easily she speaks with them about their lives, their families, their neighbors, and the gospel that she faithfully brings to them.  And once she got to the gospel part of the conversation, my work as translator got so much easier - these are the Romanian words that I've most rehearsed!

our team with the 3rd woman
The third house was the most emotionally charged of all.  This dear woman lives alone.  Cancer has affected her lips and nose, which have been replaced with skin grafted from her arms and legs, and this affects her voice and makes her sound almost like a toy.  Cancer also recently took two of her adult children, and we arrived on one of their birthdays.  She cried as she told us that our being there was a reminder of her girls and that she was glad to have us there. We all cried together, and when I hugged her I didn't want to let go!

I was especially looking forward to the last house - where an elderly woman lives with her son, who has a developmental disability.  I love when all my passions land in one place - praying, in Romania, with a person with a disability.  If we'd started making music my life would have been complete :-) Her son reminded me so much of one of our clients at TCH (JN, for any TCH people reading), and it was such a cool collision of my worlds. 

We all kept reflecting today on the passage in James that says that pure religion includes visiting widows in their affliction.  Dorothy's sweet service and cheerful friendship with these women, and the way that she seeks to meet both their physical and spiritual needs as best she can, were so refreshing to witness and to be a small part of.  And to top it all off, she took us out for snacks and coffee afterward.  I almost managed to not spend any Romanian money (I haven't spent a single leu yet!)...but then I saw in the shop the car air fresheners that are Romanian flags...and that streak was quickly broken :)

We got back and joined our team at the church in the evening.  Dinner, as usual, was delicious, and it was fun to speak with my team, and to speak with Romanian friends who are helping me with some nuances of language.  I'm glad we moved from them only complimenting what I do know, to helping me learn what I don't.  So thankful for these friendships.

I'm sure I have much more to say, but bed is calling once again!  We are hoping for less rain tomorrow so that we can see widows whose homes are too small to invite us in.  Another of these widows has 3 siblings with developmental disabilities, whom she cares for alone, so I am already looking forward to loving this sweet family...and to whatever else tomorrow holds!

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