Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greetings from Romania

If you drive the narrow road into the Carpathian mountains, past inns along the river, you would wait for sheep to cross the road with their shepherd. Finally, you come to a place where fog fills the crevices in the morning and again in the afternoon. Through the spires of tall pine trees, you see the smoke curling from red rooftops, around the mountains, and you breathe in clean mountain air. We are in Paltinis, above the valley where the medieval city of Sibiu is encircled by ancient walls of fortification. The rooftops sag, and small dormers look out onto the narrow streets like eyes onto the people below. In the center of the town, you see a large church guarded by the statue of a man known for boldness in leading the congregration through the doors of the Reformation period. Inside lie the bones and gravestones of men dressed in chiseled robes and armor, men who fought for the power of men on earth. We climbed the tower to view the aged city; I only made it half way! Around and around we went, up the stone steps worn down by generations of climbers, many who carved their names beside dates from centuries past. I rested where steps turned into suspended steps in air, and I watched as Jeff, Sam, and Mihaela disappeared into the bell tower darkness. Did I mention my fear of heights? :)

Sitting on the town center in a chair balanced on cobblestones, I drank a strong coffee and watched gypsies cross the square, alongside people in modern clothes and others dressed traditionally. Our conversations with our Romanian friends were valuable times to learn about the culture and people of Eastern Europe.

When the pastors and wives arrived, most communication was done through smiles and eye contact, sprinkled with bits of Romanian we had practiced. On the first night they introduced themselves, many sharing about the multiple congregations they pastor. As in any country I've been in, I loved the sound of singing in a different language, a language closer to ancient Biblical words than my own. As we stood in prayer, I loved the sound of brothers in sisters in Christ talking to the God Who knows all of our words, punctuated by the familiar word of agreement: "Amen" that all say in unison when one finishes praying.

In my first session with the women this morning, I found a good mixture of those young in ministry and those experienced; I was encouraged. Being on the "outside" of a language makes it hard to learn all that's conveyed through humor,"coffee break" talk, greetings, exchanges .... my translator is Cristina, and she has been a great help. She is the mother of 2, one less than a year old. Pray for the two of us to communicate effectively to our nearly 50 women. Tomorrow I will teach on the second and fourth chapters of Thessalonians.

Thank you for your prayers for us. I doubt I will get the treat of "updating" again before we leave for the US. All we hear tells me our children are well (PTL) and that they have been cared for so lovingly by our christian friends. God is good (And we all say together "AMEN"!).

There's SO much more I could tell, but the clock tells me I should TRY to make myself sleep before the alarm rings to begin a new day. We will start with a breakfast of eggs and sausages and salami and cheeses and tomatoes (Lots of tomatoes). Jeff will wish for a bigger cup of coffee :). And then we will open the Word of God that crosses all languages, applies in all cultures, and makes a difference in the past, present, and future of every nation. It will be rich. Enjoy a bit of the sound of the nations at worship in this video clip. It's a great glimpse of heaven.

7 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Kristi_runwatch said...

Oh, Julie - what a precious time!!
I love to hear your descriptions - I can picture it! :)

Thank you for the video clip - it brought a mist to my eyes. When I went to Haiti in high school I took a small tape recorder and taped the church services. We often sang "Shine, Jesus Shine" while we were there.

Truly, a glimpse of heaven. I'll be praying for you this week!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jul, Oh, you have been in my heart and prayers. I know the Lord is working in you and through you. I can't wait to hear all about it:-) Love you, Jenny C.

Lindsey said...

That's amazing! How exciting, God is so good!

namartinez0503 said...

So beautiful! I thank God that these precious brothers & sisters in Christ can worship our Lord like this. This true, simply worship makes all cares melt away :)
Praying for you all!
Nancy M.

Julie said...

Thank you for your prayers for us. God has been good in so many ways. For those who prayed for my voice, it has been strong, and I'm so thankful! The 3 of us have been healthy, and news from home says that our children are doing well. I should've asked for friends to pray that jet lag would be gentle ... :) My mind and heart have been so full that I've been "busy" at night thinking over all that we have taken in. Thank you for your prayers.

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

GREAT video clip - thank you for including that!!! It warmed my heart this morning!

Heidi Pocketbook said...

I recognized the song! I'm so glad you shared that clip.

Looking forward to reading all of these posts and catching up.