The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Taking it indoors along Mihai Bravu

The weather suddenly dropped the past couple days, which meant we had to pull our normal outdoor meeting with the Gypsy families along Mihai Bravu indoors last night.  We started meeting every Monday night with a small group of Gypsies near our house, they’ve been telling their friends, a few people have given their hearts to Jesus, people are growing closer to God, and the meetings have grown to about 10 families and 35 people, including us Americans.

We don’t speak Romanian, we don’t really know what we’re doing, and sometimes the Gypsy culture really, really confuses me, but God is building something here and we’ve been put in the middle of it.

When we came to Romania, we had no plan other than to follow where God led us.  Well, one of the places he’s brought us is here, to these Gypsies who live along Mihai Bravu.  We didn’t know what would come of the meetings, and they kinda’ just came together out of nowhere when Jason, a fellow-missionary and now a friend, met a Christian family and mentioned we would be interested in doing some prayer and teaching at their place.  They said that’d be OK with them, but they didn’t seem really excited or anything.

So we met with the Gypsy family but still weren’t pushing to “start something” there.  Well a couple weeks later, Irina, a young Romanian woman who goes to Missio Dei Church told us, “I want to work with Gypsies, and I see that you’re working with Gypsies.  Can we talk about all you’re doing?  I need to get involved.”

At that point “getting involved” meant nothing because we were still just meeting people and following God’s leading day to day, so there really wasn’t anything solid to “get involved” with.  So we invited Irina to get together with Jason and us and brainstorm a plan.

A couple weeks later, we had regular weekly meetings going with the Gypsy family along Mihai Bravu, and now that group is pretty solid and growing in both numbers and maturity.  There is still so much work to be done, but God is building something here and I’m humbled to be a part of it.

So normally we’d been meeting outdoors, but with the drop in temperature last week, we were welcomed into Lali and Mandra’s house for the rest of the fall and winter.  It was warm and cozy, heated by a glowing hot spring attached to bare wires coming out of the wall, coiled inside a brick.  Less people than normal came because it was cold and rainy, but we worshiped and prayed together, we shared some food, and Ben taught on baptism in the Holy Spirit.  When we asked who wanted to receive more of the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives and be prayed for to be filled with the Holy Spirit, every person came forward.

So we prayed for everyone, and honestly I was hoping for a replay of Acts 2, tongues of fire, people speaking in unknown languages, people falling on the floor or starting to run around crazy, filled with the joy and life of the Holy Spirit, but it was a pretty mellow affair and I’m not really sure what all happened.  Pretty normal for cross-cultural ministry.  🙂

I left a little frustrated because nothing much seemed to happen on the outside, but then God reminded me today that every person in that house came forward for prayer to receive more of the Holy Spirit, and that there were maybe 20 people gathered that night despite the rain and cold, and God had built a team of 3 Americans, 1 Canadian, and 1 Romanian all devoted to reaching the Gypsies of Bucharest, and it all started by random chance encounters and following His lead to take a step when He showed one to us.

Please pray for the Gypsies along Mihai Bravu, that God would build something solid and lasting among this group.  Gypies are transitory, they come and go as they please, but pray that God would anchor them down and build a community here that can change Bucharest for His glory.

Also pray for another meeting we’ve started with Valentina and her family, in another part of Bucharest.  She’s the only Christian in a really dark area, but she’s got a huge heart to reach the drug addicts, prostitutes, and thieves living around her, so she’s been inviting them to her house to worship, pray, and hear from the Bible with us.  Who knows where God might take this meeting?  He’s a big God, and He’s got big plans.

I’m just really humbled to be wrapped up in what He’s doing, and I can’t wait to see what He does next.

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