Spending My Birthday in Romania

Spending My Birthday in Romania - Grace Fox

How many Canadian women get to spend their 51st birthday in Romania? I do, I do! And what a day it was!

How many Canadian women get to spend their 51st birthday in Romania? I do, I do!

And what a day it was!

Visiting the Orthodox cathedral

Gene and I left the hotel for an early morning walk and decided to visit the Orthodox cathedral a block away – the one where a dozen or so children were executed in 1989. We noticed that people walking or driving past the structure “cross” themselves.

When we stepped inside, we heard a man’s voice singing. Actually, it sounded more like liturgical chanting. His voice echoed through the cathedral, drawing people in and leading them through formal motions of worship.

One priest stood in the front; ten people knelt before him. Another priest entered a room swinging an incense holder before a table covered with burning candles. Nearby was a wooden box nearly the size of a casket, with its lid off. People took turns kneeling beside it and gazing into it – it contained the bones of a supposed saint. People lined up to kiss golden images of saints. Other than the man who sung, no one even whispered.

Eating lunch at McDonalds

After taking the team souvenir shopping, we ate lunch at McDonald’s. You read it correctly. It’s the fanciest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen, and it has a European-style outdoor eating area right on the main square in Timisoara. Plus, it has salads. My system is craving fresh veggies and fruit as the diet here doesn’t include much of those.

As we ate, a beggar boy about nine years old came to us with a fist full of slightly wilted red roses, perhaps stolen from someone’s garden. Gene gave him the equivalent of $4 and then gave them to me for my birthday! Now that’s a dozen roses I’ll never forget! You should have seen the kid’s face when he realized he’d actually made a sale!

Moments later, another beggar, this one about fourteen years old, approached. He stood directly behind me whining in Romanian. At one point, his voice sounded like a high soprano, and then he meowed like a cat. We tried hard to ignore him but he wouldn’t leave us alone.

A McDonald’s employee asked him to leave several times, but he’d return seconds later and repeat his whining. Suddenly two police officers appeared from a side street. That’s all it took for the boy to run away before stopping to light a cigarette.

Visiting River of Life

We spent the afternoon driving to the River of Life project – a home for abused women and children. We’ve stayed there on two occasions in the past year, so it was sheer delight to visit again. The women all gave me huge hugs and kisses. Even their kids came running to us. Three-year-old Emma, came directly to me and cuddled with her head on my shoulder for several minutes.

Enjoying fellowship and birthday cake

The day ended with dinner at an outdoor restaurant with the team and our IM missionaries. We debriefed by discussing how the ministry time went with the young adults, and then we prayed for our staff. Afterwards, we enjoyed tiramisu birthday cake.

My life is so rich with family, friends, and ministry. I’m so very, very blessed.

Know you are loved,


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One Comment

  1. Happy birthday, Grace! How wonderful for you to celebrate it doing things that are so dear to your heart. May our Lord continue to bless and increase your ministry both in Europe and here in Canada, and may He continue to be with you each and every day of the year to come.


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