The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Posts tagged “prayer

Getting Sick and Getting Well in Bucharest

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve posted anything on here, so I’m a little out of practice, but here ya go…

Easter is the biggest holiday season here in Orthodox Romania. Seriously, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas, with offices and businesses shutting down from Good Friday through at least the Monday after Easter. Offices including doctors’ offices. Which means, it’s not a good time to get sick and need to see a doctor.

The Wednesday before Easter, I came down with a bad bacterial infection, not something terribly uncommon, but a worse case than I’ve ever had before. I fought through it with sleep, water, and Tylenol that whole day, started feeling better the next day enough to take Paul in for his doctor visit. When there I asked about getting antibiotics, but she said I’d have to see a different doctor. However, all the offices were going to be closed after that day for four days and only one appointment was left. When I tried to make the appointment, the computerized scheduling system wasn’t working, so I went back home (a one hour trek via public transport) with only a slight fever and no meds. I thought, “Hey, our prayers are working; I’m getting better, so I won’t try to snatch that last appointment and just sleep it off.”

An hour later, I arrived home and within fifteen minutes my fever jumped to its highest yet, I started shivering uncontrollably, and felt disoriented from the sickness. Now too late to make that last appointment, I weighed my options: try to see if I could get the antibiotics without a prescription, find an emergency room and fumble through with my poor Romanian and fever delirium, or wait it out. Feeling worse by the minute, I nixed the last option and started messaging friends.

I sent a Facebook message to a good friend of mine who I knew frequently checked her messages asking for advice. And I prayed. Within five minutes she called me back saying she would go with me to an emergency room, translate for me, and do whatever she could for me. She wanted to ask her mother the best place to go, and she happened to be right in front of her apartment when she got my message. She called me back saying she could get me an evening appointment for an hour from then at her hospital, that she would come with me and translate, and everything. Praise God! I fed Paul quickly, grabbed a taxi, and started the long trek through Bucharest rush hour traffic, sweating profusely in the back seat and eyes burning with fever. I prayed we’d make it in time.

As we got near to where I thought the hospital was, the driver turned the opposite direction I thought we should be going, so I called him on it. He argued with me, and I argued back, and he made motions with his hands telling me I was disoriented and sick and didn’t know what I was talking about. Sure enough, he was right and dropped me off exactly at 5:00 for my appointment in front of the correct place. Thankfully, he didn’t listed to the sick, American girl.

After having our baby Paul here in Bucharest, I had an idea of what the private hospitals and doctors were like. But the doctor I saw was so nice, very helpful, and genuinely concerned that I get better. She gave me very clear instructions through my friend and translator, gave me all the prescriptions I needed with very good instructions, and instructed me to return in six days for a free follow up appointment. Then, my very dear friend, purchased all the drugs for me, walked me to the metro stop (I wasn’t risking a delirious taxi ride in rush hour again), and agreed to meet me the following week at the hospital.

Fast forward to today, the doctor checked me again, offered some extra services even though it was a free visit, and had her colleague perform some ultrasound therapy on me. I was amazed at how pleasant and nice everyone was and how I wasn’t even charged for the visit. And she wants to see me again, also for free, to make sure that I am completely better!

Maybe it’s not such a cool story for everyone, but for me it was a blessing! I love how generous and helpful my friend was to take her evening on such short notice to help me find a doctor on a busy holiday break when I wasn’t sure what to do. I love the concern the doctor showed when often doctors (not just here but also in America) generally just try to get you in and out, especially if you aren’t paying. I love that God answers prayers. And I learned, never argue with a taxi driver in a foreign language when you’re deliriously feverish and don’t know where you’re going. Driver knows best.

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A Million People to Thank

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 – “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

When we arrived in Bucharest exactly one year ago, we didn’t know anyone in this city.  Well, we had e-mailed and skyped with Filip a bit, but we didn’t really know him.  Now, a year later, we’ve got a million people to thank for helping us make it this far.  I will never forget how we’ve been shown so much love and hospitality by people who barely knew us.

Some of you read our blog posts, and some of you don’t, but I’m not writing this for you.  This is for me and Jesus, because I never want to forget you and how God used you in our lives.

Because we have so many people to thank, I’m limiting myself to thanking only those people we’ve met since moving here, and I’m only allowing myself to mention the one thing that meant the most to me, or this post will never end…

Filip, thank you for everything, from our first email exchange to meeting us at the airport to challenging us in our Romanian.

Adiel, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to pick us six strangers up from the airport at midnight on a national holiday.

Peter, thank you for dropping everything to help us get our visas.

Sorin, thank you for talking to us in Romanian and putting up with our bad grammar.

Adi, thank you for refusing to leave Bucharest to see your family, preferring to “do what Jesus would do,” as you said it, and move all our luggage into our new apartment for us first.

Simona, thank you for showing us how to buy food at the market, instead of wasting all our money at Mega Image.

George, thank you for driving us to the big market and back, loaded with potatoes, onions, garlic, and squash for the winter.

Laura, thank you for introducing Jessie to her favorite bookstore / coffee shop.

Adela, thank you for helping us get our electricity back on when we popped a breaker.

Irina, thank you for your constant encouragement, prayers, and friendship.  And for the “bumpy cars.”

Adi, thank you for joining us for evangelism time and again.

Alex, thank you for calling and getting together for coffee after being out of the country for a year.

Cornel, thank you for leading your church into revival and for catering to the presence of God.

Costel, thank you for the best mashed potatoes and chicken ever.

Alina, thank you for meeting us at Immigration, grilling the workers there, and getting us the final final list of everything we still needed to get our residency permits.

George, thank you for allowing Jesus to use you to shine with His love in the midst of Bucharest’s homeless men and women.

Tiberiu, thank you for sharing food and songs with us in your home and for introducing me to iaurt de baut.

Cristiana, thank you for coming with our family for the Tour of Bucharest by bus last summer.

Sorin, thank you for giving up your life for 2 weeks last summer to serve alongside us in evangelism and ministry.

Dan, thank you for helping me get my photos from the Cora at Sun Plaza.

Paula, thank you for teaching us how to evade the police while picking Ben up at the airport.

George, thank you for giving our kids cookies when you popped into our house to pick up that form for Peter.

Peter from Immigration, thank you for giving me your self-made final, detailed, easy-to-follow instruction manual on what papers we needed to get our kids’ visas.

Andrei, thank you for spending time together playing bass and talking about the Bible.

Andreea, thank you for organizing Naomi’s birthday party after we’d been in Romania for less than a week.

Robert, thank you for Monday mornings with the homeless at Politehnica.

Sarisa, thank you for a day with the Zarnescus, eating Romanian food and playing Dutch Blitz.

Cosmin, thank you for joining me for a day of evangelism in Cismigiu last year.

Alex, thank you for getting us out on the street preaching.

Cristina, thank you for asking me all about home-schooling that day in Buşteni.

Laura, thank you for the home-made jam.

David, thank you for showing me your pictures of Brasov while we road the train together, convincing me that, yes, I need to live there.  🙂

Rick, thank you for joining us to pray and worship while you were here in Bucharest.

Estera, thank you for coming up to us our first time at Missio Dei, when we felt awkward and out of place, and introducing yourself, making us feel welcomed.

Emi, thank you for being our guide and translator when Grandma Susie wanted to take us bowling.

Gabi, thank you for that day in the mountains of Busteni, hiking and talking about Jesus.

Gianni and family, thank you for the amazing day climbing trees and swinging on zip lines at the adventure park.

Crabby man downstairs, thank you for cheering up after we gave you Christmas cookies.

Teresa and the kids, thank you for sending our kids home with stuffed animals.

Jason, thank you for working with us every week to reach the Gypsies.

Vasilica, thank you for not giving up on your family or all the drug addicts who gather in your home, constantly sharing the Gospel with them and never losing hope for their salvation.

Simon, thank you for smiling in the midst of suffering, separated from your family and your home, in a country whose language you don’t understand.

Rita, thank you for singing us the same song every Monday night, always full of passion, always with a beautiful voice.

Kaze, thank you for coming up and introducing yourself at 3DS.

Ştefan, thank you for standing strong in the word of God in the midst of a culture that doesn’t care.

Ioana, thank you for translating for Jessie her first time at Elim Church.

Sorin, thank you for taking off my glasses and wiping the dirt off with your shirt the first day we talked at Missio Dei.

Sebastian, thank you for introducing us to Genni Shoarma.

Emanuel, thank you for putting up with my terrible Romanian at Starbucks.

Mihai, thank you for taking hundreds of amazing photos at Râşnov last year.

Raluca, thank you for loving our kids so much and playing with them every time we visit Spiritual Revival Church.

Mikey, thank you for giving me all the inside information on hiking in Romania.

Rob and Camelia, thank you for crashing our place one evening to play with our kids.

Luis, thank you for inviting us to play volleyball at Crangaşi.

Peter Pan boy downstairs, thank you for yelling out, “I can fly!” every time you see us.  Life in Bucharest would not be as fun without you.

Pardelion, thank you for your heart to give my family money to help us in this new city, while you had so little.

Gheorghiţa, thank you for joining us for worship and prophesying over us as the Holy Spirit led you to speak.

Ryan and Andrea, thank you for sharing with us your heart to end human trafficking in Romania.

Serena, thank you for being the smiliest, happiest, most joyful High School student in Romania, despite the bad things that have happened in your life.

Cristi, thank you for introducing us to the work of Campus Crusade in Bucharest.

Jacob, thank you for always walking in faith that God is ready to do miracles through you.

Oana, thank you for inviting us to the coolest, trippiest, artsiest movie either of us had seen in a while.

Daniel, thank you for bringing us to IKEA to get beds for our kids, and for introducing us to the best desserts in Bucharest (Paul and Zoomserie).

Bogdan, thank you for explaining to me your love for Orthodoxy.

Eugen, thank you for letting me practice my Romanian on you.

Gabi, thank you for allowing us to use your home for Gypsy church.

Kelda, thank you for laughing so loudly it scared my wife.

Mândra and the kids, thank you for giving our kids pillows.

Isabella, thank you for yelling at me at the park, thus beginning your friendship with my wife.

Marian, thank you for inviting us to your house for your son’s crazy birthday party.

Catalin, thank you for sharing your testimony with our group at Mihai Bravu.

Mirela, thank you for such a warm and welcoming reception in Sibiu.

Sorina, thank you for patiently and clearly correcting our Romanian, not just trying to understand us but helping us learn to speak better.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, forgive me!  We’ve been so blessed this past year, completely amazed at how many new people we’ve met and loved, how many people have opened their lives and hearts to us, people we never would have known if we’d stayed in America.

Sometimes, it’s frustrating because we’re so far from where we want to be, our work is so small compared to what needs to happen, but God is good, and He’s the one building this house, in His time, in His way, and He’s a really good builder.


Thursday Nights in Our Living Room

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Thursday nights, we invite English speakers to our home for worship, prayer, and Bible teaching.  It’s one of the meetings I’m most excited about, but it’s also been the slowest to get going.

Why am I most excited about this meeting?  Well, honestly, I’ve got a lot of selfish reasons – I get to speak in my native language, without a translator, and worship God in English, using songs that I like, with people who speak and understand the language really well.  Plus, I get really ministered to during the meetings, no matter how many other people show up.  The presence of God has been really strong at our little meetings, so I always leave encouraged and strengthened.

But beyond the selfish reasons, having a meeting in English should, by nature, draw young people who have a desire to change the world.  From what we’ve learned about Romania, if you want to go to a good college, get a good job, or travel anywhere outside the country, you learn English.  Understanding English is required to get into many universities, and most international businesses, the ones with the good jobs, won’t even consider you if you don’t have a minimum level of fluency.  If someone wants to come to a church service almost entirely in English, it means they’re already hoping to do something with their life that makes an impact.  At least, that’s the theory.

And I like the idea of God using our weakness to show His greatness.  We’re trying really hard to learn Romanian – we’re studying on our own, we have a weekly tutoring session, we talk with people in Romanian whenever we can – but our brains, cluttered with subway maps, grocery lists, Bible verses, new friends’ names, diapers, and dreams, refuse to get with the program and learn.

It’s not my fault.  Scientists have shown there’s a chemical in our brains that helps with language acquisition.  It’s strongest when we’re young, and by the time we turn 30 or 35, it quickly starts to plunge to nothingness.  So, by fact of nature, I have begun to enter that plunge downward.

Recently, a fellow missionary joked with me, “I tell people that those who speak three languages are trilingual, those who speak two are bilingual, and those who speak one are American.”  There you have it.  We’ve been cursed from birth.

Seriously, we’re committed to keep learning Romanian any method we can, but right now, it’s just a very slow process.  Many American missionaries here don’t even try learning Romanian, and some say we shouldn’t even try, it’s not important, but almost every Romanian we talk to says the opposite.  They all say they would be able to receive better from someone who takes the time to actually learn the language.  I think I’ll go with the Romanians on this one.

So, the process is slow, but we’re learning.  We tell people here, “Înţelegem mai mult decât vorbim.”   We understand more than we speak.  Often, we’ll find ourselves understanding a person fine, but we just can’t find the right Romanian words quick enough to communicate effectively.

So, back to Thursday nights.  I love Thursday nights, but every week is a little different.

Week to week, we never know who all is going to show up.  It’s in our home, so I know we’ll have at least 4 kids and 3 adults.  🙂  But beyond that, we never know.  Some weeks, it’s a bunch of Americans, a Canadian, and an Australian.  One week, no one came but a Baptist youth pastor.  Other weeks, a handful of high school students showed up.  Or sometimes we’ll get a few college students, missionaries, and business men together.

We’re praying that God speaks to some people, “Get involved and make this part of your routine,” but right now, a lot of people are cycling in and out on an irregular basis, which makes it hard to establish any sort of normal rhythm but keeps us trusting God.

One week, the clock reached 7 pm and no one was here but our family.  We were expecting at least a few people, but none of them showed up.  “Well,” we decided, “we need God, so let’s worship Him like He deserves anyway.”  So we worshiped like there were thousands gathered with us, and by the time we finished our first song, our friend Jason from Canada had shown up.  We were still small in number, but God showed up strong that night, ministering to each of us on a deep level, convicting our hearts of sin and covering us with His love.  That little meeting with four people worshiping together was the most intense sense of God’s presence I’ve had in Romania yet.  My heart aches for more people to know this God who speaks so deeply to our hearts.

Another week, a handful of us had gathered together, including a High School student who had never come before.  After the “official” meeting was done, she asked if we could pray for her because she couldn’t sleep at night.  So we prayed, and she came back a few days later with the report, “Now I’m sleeping great!  Thank you for praying!”  She also asked us to pray for her legs, which were constantly in pain.  Doctors said she was just growing too fast and would have to put up with it.  Well, Jesus had a different diagnosis.  He came not just to heal our sins but to heal our sicknesses too, so we put our hands on her legs and commanded them to be healed, and Jesus healed them!  As far as I’ve heard, she still hasn’t had any pain in her legs.  That’s just what my God does.

Another week, all the “regular” attendees (if you can call them that) were either late or just didn’t come, but 5 new people came who had never come before, and God’s presence was so strong that we could have spent hours just worshiping Him together.  When we finished the time of prayer and worship, I shifted gears to teach on the fear of God, and I was so overcome by the weight of it that I don’t know if I made much sense at all.  If any of you who came are reading this, I apologize for being so tongue-tied.

Pray for God to grow the Thursday night group at our home, and pray He continues to bring His presence to encourage, strengthen, and free His people.  We love opening our home up and having people worship and pray and look at the Scriptures together with us, but I want so many more people to know this God who ministers to us deeply in ways that only He can do.  So many of us only know a God of religion, a God who did the impossible during Bible times but now just speaks about nice, understandable truths through His Word and preaching.  But God is bigger than that.  God is a God of mystery and depth, a God who wants to reveal His glories to His people.

And I think it’s this impossible-to-understand God that we all, deep down inside, really yearn for.  We don’t want a God who’s easy to explain, a God we can hold onto and put in a box.  We want a God who’s big enough to fix our problems, strong enough to reach into our darkness and pull out His light, bold enough to do and say what no one else can.


What 59 Cents Will Get You in Bucharest

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Picture above taken from Google StreetView.  The real photo would have a lot more snow around it this time of year.  🙂

 

Yesterday, I started posting about the calamity that occurred between Matei and Geta, two new believers who have been coming regularly to our Monday night meetings and growing a ton.  Thanks for everyone who has been praying.  We don’t know anything more about Matei, but Geta’s situation has improved, and family friends are taking care of the kids.  Keep praying, though, because the whole family still needs God to do a lot for them.

We hope to visit Matei in prison soon, but no one seems to know where he’s being held right now, but we were able to visit Geta yesterday at the hospital.

We were a humorous-looking troupe. Ben and I, already identical twins, happened to be both wearing hiking boots, blue jeans, black jackets, and black snow hats, carrying black Romanian Bibles.  Jason, with his dark beard, black coat, and gray backpack, looked like a cross between an Orthodox priest and a homeless guy.  And we were all three following Teresa and Rita, two short, round Gypsy women dressed in flowery dresses and “Christmas sweaters” as Jason described their outfits.  But we were going to see our sister, a member of our church family who had been attacked by the one closest to her.  She was hurting and scared and she needed us.

When we got to the hospital, Jason warned us, “They may not let all of us in.  Usually they’re pretty strict about only one or maybe two visitors being allowed in at the same time.”

“Let’s pray for favor then,” I suggested, and we all gathered together in front of the hospital to pray for a minute.

We walked into the hospital, went through one corridor after another, and eventually got to the security guard who made sure only one person was going in at a time.

Teresa explained the situation and asked if all of us could go in to pray for Geta, because she was desperately hurt and we were her church family, so she needed us.  “Well, I don’t know…” the guard hesitated.

So Teresa reached into her pocket and pulled out 2 lei and flashed it at him.  “OK, fine,” said the guard, grabbing the equivalent of 59 cents from her.  You can’t get much in Bucharest for 2 lei, so I don’t know what he was thinking.  Maybe he just decided to have pity on Teresa and let us pass, realizing that anyone who would offer you a 2 lei bribe was probably really desperate.

Rita looked at Ben, Jason, and I.  “Dumnezeu lucrează, frații,” she said with a smile.  Indeed, God is working.

We passed the security guard, walked down some more halls, and began the hike up the stairs.  One old man passed us and asked Teresa, “Where are you going?  Are you here for surgery?”

Finally, we found our way to where they were letting Geta rest and heal.  Before entering the large room filled with hospital beds, mostly empty, they handed us hospital gowns to put over our clothes.  When we tried to put our arms in the sleeves, the nurses corrected us, grabbed the gowns, and draped them around us like Jewish prayer shawls.  Now our humorous troupe was even more bizarre.

As we walked into the room, we felt like Medieval Orthodox priests with our robes hanging about our shoulders.

We found Geta and learned her situation had improved greatly over the previous day.  She could move a little, she could talk, and she seemed very awake and aware.  Doctors said she would be eating regular food soon and should be fine to leave after she has enough time to rest and recover.  She had lost 50% of her blood from the attack, but a blood transfusion was holding well and infections seemed to be held at bay.  She said her body hurt everywhere, but at least she was going to live.  Praise God.  He’s already been answering the prayers of a lot of people.

What broke our hearts the most, though, was to hear her blame herself for everything that had been done to her.  The first thing she said to us was, “I need to repent.  I have done something terrible.  I must have committed some great sin for this to happen to me.”  It was awful to hear her blaming herself for what her husband had done to her.

We told her she wasn’t the one to blame, that if she had sin in her life, God would never punish her by doing this, that he simply demands repentance, not torture.  We shared the Scriptures with her, encouraged her to believe for healing, prayed for her and commanded her body to be restored, and let her know that we and many others would be praying for her.

As we finished up, we told her that many Gypsies were praying for her, many churches in Bucharest, and that hundreds of people in America, friends of ours, would be praying for her because we would email them and tell them what had happened.  As we told her of the literally hundreds of people who would pray for her and her family, her eyes welled up with tears and she began to cry.

Suddenly, a doctor entered the room, scolded the nurses for letting all of us in at once, and told us we had to leave.

Just in time.

Please keep praying for Geta, Matei, and their kids.  We praise God for how He’s been healing Geta already, but we want to see God completely restore this family, robbing Satan from any and all glory that he hoped to achieve from this.  Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”


Two Bucharest Night Clubs Closed

Nearly every day, we have been praying for the collapse of the booming sex industry here in Bucharest. We’ve written of it before, but there are a plethora of night clubs with half-naked women, erotic massage parlors, who knows how many prostitutes, a growing webcam industry that recruits female students in women’s magazines, and human trafficking. We don’t know the extent of the industry, but it’s a big city, so I’m sure it’s relatively vast.

Anyway, I try to keep up a little with the news about Romania as much as I can, and I read on Tuesday that two of Bucharest’s most exclusive and posh night clubs were closed down this past weekend for financial fraud. Bamboo and Barletto are clubs in the northern part of the city, and I’ve heard they are difficult to get into, but they are notorious for bringing in lots of exotic dancers and catering to the elite and expat community of Bucharest.

Now, the clubs are closed down for only three months and many expect them to open sooner due to appeals in court by the owners, but I take it as encouragement to keep on praying for the crumbling of this offensive industry that markets women as objects to lust over and use for profit rather than as people created in the image of God for His glory, and that lures men into the addiction of pornography for the sake of making money.

Keep praying and keep exalting righteousness! God is big and He is good.


A Dream of Unity

The other night I had a really cool dream, and I’ve been thinking about it off and on since then. Like most of my dreams, I don’t remember how it started, but I remember that, at some point, our family and a few others with us were going to engage an enemy in a battle. The dream was not specific about who the enemy was, but it was characterized by this intense darkness.

In the dream, we knew the enemy and its darkness was great, but we were going to fight it anyway. At one point, I turned and looked and saw what I would describe as a parade of churches. There were people marching in groups and coming to fight alongside us. The whole scene reminded me of the scene in the second Lord of the Rings movie, “The Two Towers,” where there was a small army of men against tens of thousands of creepy warriors of Mordor, and then the elves showed up. The parade of churches was like the army of elves coming to fight alongside the army of men, reforging a unity that had been lost.

I don’t remember all the specific church groups, but the one that sticks with me was a group of very “religious” looking women. What I mean by that is that they looked like women from a religious, legalistic church, complete with long hair pulled back under white head coverings and long, plain dresses that looked like those worn by women from the Mennonite communities back where I am from in Virginia. They were standing tall and confident, carrying some sort of banner.

My first reaction to seeing them was a desire not to be associated with them because I didn’t want to be associated with legalistic Christianity and Christians. But almost as soon as I thought this, I felt an impression in my spirit that they, too, were of the Body of Christ, of the same faith, fighting the same enemy, and serving the same Lord. Despite doctrinal differences, all of us churches were fighting the darkness together in unity.

I was reminded after this dream of the words of Jesus to His disciples, “For he who is not against us is on our side.” And I was reminded to pray for unity among all believers so that we can destroy the works of the devil, be a light to the world, and glorify God in heaven.


Bringing Church to “Bunica”

Jake and Ben and our Canadian missionary friend, Jason, have been visiting a couple of Gypsy communities on the west side of Bucharest for the past couple of months, and tonight I got the chance to go minister with them since Ben volunteered to watch the kids for us. Taking Isaac along with us, Jake and I headed out around dinner time and met up with Jason.

We walked a short ways down the road and then turned off into a vacant lot  by the railroad tracks. Tucked back among some trees and bushes, we come upon a family huddled around a fire. In their little community, there were a few shacks with about three sides each to them, lots and lots of trash, and a bunch of kids.

While the adults there seemed very hardened to the gospel and were mostly interested in getting things from us (we brought some fruit and a bunch of bread, but later we saw many of them lighting up cigarettes, which are very expensive here), my heart broke for the baby, toddlers, and other children. How were they going to stay warm come winter time without four walls to keep out the wind chill? Do they get enough to eat or does more money go towards cigarettes?

But one little girl stuck out to me the most: Lavinia. She is nine years old, and in the third grade and came bouncing up with a giant smile about ten minutes after we arrived. She said she has faith in Jesus, loves going to school, and really wants a Bible to read with pictures in it. The hardness of those around her and of her circumstances had not broken her joy and innocence, and I’m praying it never does.

After we prayed for them, gave them some coats, hats, gloves, and bread, we headed out to visit Vasilica. I’d heard a lot about this Vasilica from Jake, Ben, and Jason, and I was excited to meet her. She recently decided to follow Jesus and is now crazy about following Him and seeing others around her do the same. She is the grandmother, bunica in Romanian, of about six little kids and several older ones. Most of her children are heroin addicts and don’t take care of their children, so it is up to this grandmother to raise them, feed them, discipline them, and teach them about Jesus in this tiny one bedroom little house.

Her living situation was definitely better than at the other place by the train tracks; she has electricity, a washer, a sink, and a refrigerator. But there is a lot of darkness there as well. However, she is a light. And I felt a glimpse of God’s love and delight in her while there ministering, praying, and sharing from the Bible. Before going, I felt like God wanted me to encourage her with the verse 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” Paul wrote this to Timothy who went on to do great things as a minister of the Lord. But Timothy did not have a family of believers growing up; he had a grandmother and a mother who loved God and imparted their faith to him.

We encouraged her to not grow weary in doing good, to be a light, to train up the children in the way they should go. She was visibly moved, crying and praising God. We also prayed for one of her granddaughters to be healed of a painful toothache. We prayed and nothing seemed to happen right away, but a few minutes later she went from groaning in agony and holding her jaw to smiling the biggest smile and praising God! What a beautiful God we serve!

Vasilica doesn’t have a church she attends regularly, and it is difficult for her to leave all the children behind to go, because she lives in a dangerous area filled with addicts and prostitutes. So, I felt very humbled and thankful to be a part of bringing church to her. My heart was aching with the love of God for the people of this city so many times today, and the burden to pray and intercede for it is even greater.