Our family is celebrating Easter back home today, but Gene and I will miss it completely this year. Romania is mostly Orthodox, and the Orthodox religion celebrates it a month later than the rest of the world this year. So, although we attended a church service today, it wasn’t Easter.
Last year we were in India for Easter. I wonder where we’ll be next year? Maybe at home, celebrating with our kids and grandbaby??? I can always hope.
Today’s highlight happened immediately after breakfast. Breakfast, by the way, is usually a thinly sliced cold meat (today’s variety was salami), cheese, and bread. We can make an open-faced sandwich with the meat and cheese, or eat the bread with jam. Items such as fruit, yogurt, and eggs are very costly here so they’re not a part of the menu.
Back to today’s highlight…Lavinia washed her hair last night and asked me to curl it again this morning. I encouraged her to try it herself. Her eyes grew wide. “Go ahead,” I said. “You can do it.” She took the curling iron and made an honest attempt. When it didn’t turn out as she’d hoped, she gave it back to me. “You,” she said.
Grace and Lavinia
Lavinia’s hair is very thick so it took about a half hour to get the job done. When I added a touch of hairspray, her eyes grew wide again. “What that?” she asked. She smiled approvingly when I told her that it would help hold the curls.
As I fussed with my new friend’s hair, I thought it would be nice to sing a song about the Lord. I chose “Jesus Loves Me.” Lavinia immediately joined in, singing in English. When we finished that one, I sung “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do…” Again, she joined me. This time I noticed that her voice was soft and pleasant-sounding. And before I knew it, she was singing in harmony. Beautiful. Sweet. A song of praise coming from a woman who has known extreme hardship such as I’ll never know. A song of joy coming from a new believer dearly loved by Jesus.
Gratitude for this moment suddenly overwhelmed me and choked my words. As I listened to Lavinia finish the song, I sat in wonder at having the opportunity to meet her and the others, to share a few words of encouragement with them yesterday, to hold their children on my lap, to be a part of their lives for a few days. I feel blessed beyond measure to be in this place at this time. And I feel the weight of responsibility, for now it’s my task to communicate the needs to others back in Canada so they, too, might consider God’s call to get involved in caring for the poor.
“God, in six days my feet will touch North American soil once again. I’ll enjoy reliable hot showers, easy phone and email access, nicely paved roads, electric heat in my house. I’ll fall back into a demanding speaking schedule and the business that goes along with it. I fear forgetting all I’ve seen and experienced on this trip. Please don’t let that happen. Instead, burn these memories deep within my heart and memory and make me an effective mouthpiece for You back in Canada, Lord. Take my words and use them to motivate Your people to wholly follow You regardless of the cost to personal comfort and convenience. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.” Village scenes around River of Life