Thursday, September 10, 2009

From Romania ... Crossing Cultures

She was trying to lean over and give me the traditional kiss on each cheek as we embraced and she blessed me with the English words, "God bless you." In our cultural awkwardness, my Romanian sister and I ended up missing the kiss on the left and the right and landing a big smacker right in the middle! :) (And this after hearing on the BBC news last night that the French have suspended "kissing" to prevent Swine Flu spread. :)) Oh, well, this was a holy kiss!

Crossing cultures can be a challenge. I need some time to clear my head to share more about our time here, but let me give you some glimpses that are filling my heart ...

- I loved holding hands with a circle of believers this morning, praying in my language for their families and hearing them pray in Romanian for ours, all the while knowing God is not bound by language. And though my language makes them shy, the brothers and sisters in the Lord here firmly held our hands without hesitation. The hand of fellowship feels wonderful.

- My heart was full to hear the story of a former member of the Secret Police share how God changed his life from dirty to clean, giving grace to one like Paul, "chief of sinners." Amazing story, and I'm thankful for a translator so I could understand it. I loved watching the wife of this man, now a pastor, look at him with love and admiration for the man he has become. The man who led him to Christ sat beside him, with tears running from his eyes.

- How beautiful this morning when the women of my session asked if they could sing a song to begin our 2nd hour. With only the sound of their voices filling the room and floating out of the glass windows through the pines, it was heavenly. My translator, Cristina, leaned over to tell me what the words meant, and she seemed moved to tell me the message of the song. I had wondered if my messages had made sense, yet the song was a response, an overflow, an agreement, an affirmation of the 5 sessions that had gone on before. I felt a little of what Paul said when he said that the believers were his "joy and crown."

- All 5 sessions led up to the last, and my heart was full with thanksgiving to God for His work when I realized that despite the language barrier, jet lag, and my own flesh, the eyes of the women shone with understanding and joy and conviction. God's Word landed firmly in their hearts and minds. The final session was just .... sweet. So sweet.

- "Scarves for Romania" is a story of its own, and I will save that to tell.

Among the pastors and wives here, when someone says something they all want to agree with, they loudly say, "Amen!" Here, it sounds like "Ahh - mean." I hope that as you read these glimpses you, too, will say, "Amen" with me!

4 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

namartinez0503 said...

Thank you for sharing your funny moment with us Julie... God truly has a sense of humor :) Your descriptions of the sweet moments with our Romanian brothers & sisters brought tears to my eyes. I continue to pray for you all that Jesus would be glorified in everything that is said and done and that He would continue to open the doors for ministry that will bring glory to Himself!

Missy said...

smiling right now...:) i can just picture that "holy kiss"

thank you for sharing your heart and ministry. it's a blessings.

Ann said...

Your story made me smile :)
I pray you have a blessed time while you are there!

Lindsey said...

That is so neat, wow! God is awesome :)