The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Day 25 – “Right now, I don’t want God. I want to live my life.”

We took the kids to Bucharest’s Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History for a few hours today, to get them out of the house and do something during the rainy, cloudy weather.  They’ve been getting really stir-crazy lately with all the rain we’ve been having.

On the way back, we had to get a cab, and we found out the driver spoke English really well.  I told him we had just moved to Bucharest and he asked how we liked it.  When I told him we loved it and the people were great, he said, “I do not think so.  I do not know how people are in America, but the problem with Romania is the Romanians.”

“What do you mean?”

“I wouldn’t call the Romanian people very good.  That’s what I mean,” he answered.

“Well, that’s really why we’re here.  We love Jesus, and so we came to Romania to tell people about Him, because He’s the only one who can make a person good,” I told him.  “Are you a Christian?”

“Yes,” he said, “I am Orthodox.  But when you’re Orthodox, you only have to go to church twice a year.”

“Christmas and Easter?”

“Yes, you understand.  It is different in our country than yours.  Here, you can be Orthodox, but you never have to do anything.”

So I started sharing the Gospel more, but he interjected, “I’m a realist.  I believe in evolution and science and thought, not God.  Evolution is the idea that makes the most sense.”

When I challenged his view on evolution, he told me, “I know, it has problems.  I don’t think it is the whole truth, but it is better than any other.”  Then he continued, “And right now, I don’t want God.  I want to live my life.  I want to work.  I want to party.  I want to have fun.”

I wish I could give you a happy ending to the story, that our cab driver got saved and gave his heat to Jesus, and now he just wants to love others and live for God, but he didn’t.  I continued speaking the truth and we kept discussing the Gospel until he dropped us off, but nothing all that miraculous happened because, like he said, he didn’t want God but just wanted to live his life.

That seems to be the general prevailing attitude among the younger generation in Bucharest – church is for old people, it’s irrelevant, why would I waste my time there, I’m just gonna live my life and have fun.

This city needs people sharing the Gospel, and the really crazy thing is that we’ve been here over 3 weeks so far and we haven’t seen anyone anywhere preaching the Gospel, except for in churches.  There are churches here, and ministries, and we’ve heard of stuff happening especially in the Gypsy areas, and I know of people who are witnessing to family and friends, but we haven’t seen anyone passing out tracts, street-preaching, holding out signs, singing worship music, or anything else, out in public and on the streets.  We’ve had people hand us coupons, free magazines, political leaflets, etc. but nothing about Jesus.

In Milwaukee or Chicago or any other American city, you’d see guys out all the time doing some sort of ministry, but we’ve encountered nothing here, in this city of 3 million people.  Nothing.  When we went out last Saturday for Night of Museums, there were a few hundred thousand people milling around, and in all the wandering and people-watching we did, we didn’t see a single person witnessing.  In Milwaukee, if you had an event that big, there’d be people out doing all sorts of stuff.

People here have told me, “Street evangelism just doesn’t work here anymore.”  Well, yeah, when you don’t do it, it’s not gonna work.  We gotta get out there, church.  We gotta bring the Gospel to the streets, where the people are.

Pray for us, that we’d learn the language well, get our tracts translated, and then just get out there and meet some people who need to hear the Gospel.  There’s plenty of them out there.

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5 responses

  1. Jay

    Id say with the cab driver it was a happy ending he’s doing what he wants and he’s ok with it to each their own

    May 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  2. Gabriele

    Jake..as always I enjoy your posts, thoughts, etc. One comment though that might help you understand European culture a little bit better. I grew up in Germany and Italy where our religious training began at home, at church and sometimes in school if it was taught in a religious school. There was never any preaching, or witnessing going on as far as I know. It was quite a sock to me to find this happening in the USA. There seemed to be a church on every corner and every church practiced their faith differently. Being raised in the Roman Catholic Church the practice was always the same no matter where you went…..nothing changed…sermons and readings were and still are identical all over the world. So, coming here was an eye opener because people quoted the Bible continuously and with authority. That was very unsettling to me because my faith continues to be a private affair. And, I suspect that this is the case also now in many communities. I believe many people have a rich, interior prayer life with God but don’t feel comfortable talking about it with strangers. Just food for thought:)))

    May 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm

  3. I wholehertedly disagree with the prevailing thought of the Romanian Church evangelism in public will work when one is consistent maybe not in the thousands but people will repond. As they did last year in Arad…. ‘” How will they hear without a preacher.'” I speak no Romanian was never called to Romania specifically but i have preached many times in the open air, in parks, and in tents in Romania and have seen people saved, healed and delivered…. May God give you a few converts and or some already daved people you can disciple so you cab see great harvest.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

  4. Mama Beach

    Just remember, you are planting seeds. Something will happen to the cabby one day and he will remember what you said. We will keep praying for him and fasting for the people who do not yet want to accept the gift of faith. As a child, St. Teresa prayed for a man who was to be executed. Just before he died, he converted and asked for forgiveness. Your example and faith goes much further than you can see, but one of these days, if it is only in heaven, will you see the work you have done. Stay encouraged. Love you!

    May 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

  5. Now Im really eager to learn the language fast so when I come we can all just go out sharing the gospel! all your blogs are awesome Jake. praying for you and your family and for Romania. God’s going to do such incredible things there.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:01 pm

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