Gene and I spent part of today driving to and from a village with two of our IM missionaries. There’s a single middle-aged pastor out there, serving in this village of about 200 people. He invited us into his humble home. It had three rooms – one was quite new and nicely furnished for meetings but unheated and therefore useable only in the summer.
It had a kitchen about three feet by five feet with a teeny hot plate and tiny fridge. His oven was about a foot square and made of cast iron. The other room was his bedroom and living room combined, heated by an old woodstove. He had a table, two chairs, a TV on a stand, and a small two-tier bookshelf. His library of pastoral resources consisted of about 15 books. His Bible was open on his desk; I got the immediate sense that he is a very godly and committed man.
Two rows of houses faced each other. A grassy field and a little (unfortunately, polluted) creek separated them. Chickens, turkeys, and horses wandered around. What a beautiful scene!
One view of the village we visited.
There’s a handful of believers out here who meet regularly in a house that’s been converted to a church.
Across the way in visible sight looms a fancy Orthodox church building. Quite a contrast between the two structures, and between the two faiths. One is based on religion; the other is based on relationship.
We’re staying at River of Life – a crisis care home founded and operated by IM missionaries Doug and Roberta Moore. Presently, the home provides shelter for four women and their six children. Two of these women spent their childhood years in orphanages. Their voice boxes are permanently damaged from screaming as babies left unattended in their cribs, sometimes fed intravenously rather than by bottles just because the orphanages were understaffed and overworked. All four have difficulty reading and lack understanding re: how to interact with their children because they had no proper nurturing themselves. Here they perform daily chores and are encouraged to develop work skills and pursue their education so they can someday become self-sufficient. A fulltime Romanian Christian social worker helps them move in that direction.
As North Americans, I don’t know if we fully realize how fortunate we are. Even though our government assistance programs aren’t perfect, they far outshine what’s available here. Without programs like The Joshua Project and River of Life, these teens and women/children would be on the street and doomed to die without a shred of hope or of knowing what it means to be loved and respected.