Our last day in Romania was an amazing day for our team. We started by going outside of Oradea to a home for pregnant women that is supported by Hope 4 Kids International. Michelle (the founder and director) and her husband were back in the United States this week, so we didn’t get to meet with them, but we did get to see all the crops that they’ve planted to feed their residents, and we spent time with some of the women and children in this home. This is an impressive ministry because not only do they provide temporary housing for women as they go through their pregnancy, but they also teach them parenting skills, provide a solid foundation of Bible study, and give them vocational training so that they will be able to provide a livelihood for their family when they leave this home.
It was at this farm where we saw a man demonstrating the famous Russian proverb that Tom likes to use: “The reed that doesn’t bend in the wind gets cut off by the sickle.” Tom even took lessons in how to use the sickle as he tried cutting some of the tall grass and reeds on the farm.
Pastor Teo had invited us to a picnic lunch at the farm/greenhouse property of one of his families from his church, and we were treated to the best barbecued pork we’ve ever had. The agricultural development of this property was impressive, and we spent several pleasant hours walking through the fields and greenhouses filled with bountiful crops of tomatoes, green beans, peas, watermelon, and many other vegetables. They provide a great deal of the food supply for this part of Romania, and it was an remarkable thing to see. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the countryside as we ate outside and were cooled by the gentle breezes.
We then went to the village where Pastor Teo’s church is planting a new church, and for many of us, this afternoon was the highlight of our trip. We walked through the village, creating pipe-cleaner flowers and glasses and hearts for the children, passing out beanie babies, playing soccer, and teaching kids how to blow bubbles with the bubble gum we gave them. Ben?s grandmother had knitted beanies for the babies and fancy scarves for the little girls, so Ben, Holly, Tara and Uncle Tom had a great time passing those out. Uncle Tom also had candy duty as he passed out Hershey chocolates to the kids, and he brought smiles to many faces.
We drove quite a distance to get out to the village of Ceica, where our translator, Adi, was playing in a Christian band at a Friday-night crusade. Adi’s band was excellent, and we were so thrilled to watch him perform.
Unfortunately, we have more bus stories. Just as Vasile was parking the bus, we noticed the smell of wire burning. In a very short period of time, Vasile realized that the alternator had burned out, which meant we would not be able to use any of the electrical things such as lights or air conditioning. So this meant that we needed to leave the crusade early so that we could get back to Oradea before it was totally dark.
When Vasile dropped us off at the hotel, we knew we had to say good-bye quickly so that he could get back to the church before it was completely dark, but it was so hard saying good-bye to this man that had driven us everywhere we needed to go throughout Romania. He had handled every challenge and crisis with strength and calmness, and we had been so blessed by his gentle spirit. Even though he couldn’t speak English, we developed a close bond with him, and we know we’ll miss him.
We also know that saying good-bye to Ema, Diana and especially Adi will be heart-wrenching. We have grown to love them as family, and they have made our time in Romania truly special.
Tomorrow, we leave for Budapest, and Sunday, we head back to the United States. We have had an amazing journey, filled with challenges, excitement, adventure, joy, laughter, tears and the assurance that God was holding us in the palm of His hand. Thank you for your prayers. We are now praying that God will begin to move in the hearts of others to be a part of a mission team like ours, so that some of you can experience the joy, excitement and contentment that we have experienced throughout our journey here.