I’m tired tonight, so I promise that today’s post will indeed be short.
Short recap of the day: Filip and I dropped Susie off at the airport so she can visit our friends in Arad for a week, then we spent way too long trying to email forms to our insurance agent so we can get insurance here (it’s required before Romania will grant us residency). While driving around with Filip, we ran across a handful of people who were most likely modern-day slaves. It makes me sick that people can be so cruel. Pimps will force others to go out on the street begging, washing car windows, or prostituting themselves, then they’ll pocket the money for themselves and send their slaves out again tomorrow. Only the power of the Gospel can ever change the hardened heart of a pimp or heal the brokenness of a slave. I read this article today about a Romanian sex slave who recently found her freedom. People need the Gospel so bad…
To shift gears a little (OK, a lot), Jessie and I did some Romanian language practice for a couple hours, which was really good and much-needed. I wish we could just download the language into our brains and know it instantly…
We found out about a good tutor today, but she charges way too much – $15 / hour / person if you do at least 2 sessions a week. So that’s at least $60 / week, $240 / month, for only 2 hours every week with her, if we were to go with her. We’re looking and praying for better, cheaper options. We’ll go with her if we have to, but it just seems like a convenient way to take advantage of “rich” Americans coming to the city and in need of language training. I’m sure she’s a great person and a really good teacher, but at that rate, if she worked full-time with just my family, she’d make over $60,000 a year. Sorry, but that just seems ridiculous to me. Especially when a typical senior software engineer only makes $20,000 a year in this city (see here).
Enough grumbling. Just pray we’d find a good, affordable way to learn the language quickly here.
Tonight, Adiel and Simona Bunescu, the pastor of Missio Dei and his wife, had us over for dinner. They’re really awesome and have paid a heavy price to plant the church, in terms of criticism and controversy and lost friendships. We talked about revival in Romania, problems in the churches, Romanian history, how Communism affected the church, what was going on during the revolution of 1989, how to say Romanian words, theology, the Holy Spirit, evangelism, and way more stuff than I can bring up tonight. We ate castraveţi cu marar (cucumbers and dill), şniţel (schnitzel, fried chicken), porumb (corn), pilaf (a rice and vegetable dish), and clătite with gem (crepes with homemade jam). So good. Simona is an amazing cook, and we all enjoyed the time together very much. The meal was minunat (wonderful)!
I would like to say more, but I’m really tired and should get to bed. Adiel and Simona are amazing people and we’re really blessed to know them. They’re pioneering something new in Romania, paving the way for a future generation of Christians to live authentic lives before Jesus, without religiosity or empty tradition. Adiel has taken all his beliefs and laid them down before the Bible, only picking back up those that line up with the Scriptures. He’ll admit there’s still stuff he’s learning, but he’s ready to change if the Bible shows he’s wrong. I think that’s good. 🙂
I don’t think we’ve shared this story here, so I wanted to give a quick testimony of something cool God did for us a few months ago. We’d been working hard trying to learn Romanian, but it was a slow and grueling process because the resources aren’t as abundant as for the big languages like Spanish, French, German, etc. Even Chinese and Russian have more resources out there. With only 20 million speakers and no real worldwide influence (yet), Romanian isn’t much sought-after as a language.
So we bought all the books we could find, some audio lessons, movies, and found some free software online (byki), and we were slowly but surely working our way through everything. It was frustrating though, because we weren’t quite sure how our pronunciation was, and it was difficult to decipher some of the more complex aspects of the grammar.
We looked for classes, more software, anything that would work better than what we had, and nothing was turning up.
While doing a support-raising meeting, the person I met with told me, “Hey, you should give Vin and Jess a call. They just got back from Moldova, where they speak Romanian, and Vin and Jess got extremely fluent in the language. And I think they live a couple blocks from you guys.”
Turns out they did live just a couple blocks from us, so I tried calling them right away. No one answered. I tried a few days later and still no one. I tried at least once a week for a month, leaving voicemails every time, and never spoke with a person. So I just gave up and we went back to learning on our own.
One night, as I was calling people to schedule support meetings, I thought, “You know what? I’ll give Vin and Jess another call. It’s been a while, maybe I’ll reach them tonight.”
I grabbed the phone, dialed, and waited to hear the usual answering machine message. Instead I got a very rushed, “Hello?”
“Hi,” I said, taken off-guard that I was speaking to an actual human, “are Vin or Jess home.”
“No, you’ve got the wrong number.”
Then, rather than just saying the normal, “Oh, OK, sorry for bothering you,” I asked the mysterious rushed voice, “What’s the right number?”
“Hold on, I’ll be right back.” A minute or two of holding the phone and waiting in silence. “OK, here it is…” and then she gave me a new number to call.
I called the number, talked to Vin, and the next morning he walked over to our house to give us our first real, live Romanian lesson.
I love how God works. We needed a tutor, so he had one come back from Moldova for us, had him live a couple blocks from our house, gave us a wrong number to reach him, and then brought him right to our door. Praise God!