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Christian Wilderness Press  -  this is Missionary Trips 6    Romania

Go on missionary trips several times a year with Jim Durham...email  Jim:  ville1960@yahoo.com


             In July, I completed my sixth mission trip to Romania .  Like all the others, it was a wonderful experience.  The people in the villages of Romania are so cordial.  They want you to come in, have something to eat, and to give you something.  Maybe it will be a jar of honey, a bottle of rhubarb juice, or a hand made towel for decorating your wall.  I received these among other things as I visited Romania . 
            This year, like the others, we went from village to village, setting up a clinic, a kids club, and witnessing teams.  I normally work with the witnessing teams.  For some reason, they don't want me doing medical procedures in Romania . (Or anywhere else.)
            I have the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with the patients as they come in for medical treatment.  They are very patient and listen carefully as I share with them.  Most of them who have not had a salvation experience pray to receive Christ as their Savior. 
            We ministered three days in Batar, a Gypsy village, like we had the past two years.  The Gypsy culture is very unusual.  They are on the bottom of the European social list, and at the top of the police list.  Some are wonderful people; many are not.  Some will steal from you while you are watching them.  Some will beg.  Some will demand.  Most houses are slums, but some are so large and ornate, Michael Jackson would have coveted them. 
            The good news is that Batar has a wonderful Gypsy pastor who was raised in the village.  He is young and works hard.  You can see it as the people come in for counseling.  In April 2008, we (Partners in Mission , International) built them a new church building.  This year our construction team put in a ceiling and put down a laminate floor.  Hopefully this will help the church to stay warm in the winter.  Last winter they had to go outside in the sun sometimes to get warm, it was so cold in the church.            
        Last year I had taken about 150 photos in the village.  I had them printed and took them back this year.  Many Gypsies would not have a photo of themselves or their children.  I knew not to start giving them out in the clinic, or it would have started a stampede.  So, at lunchtime, I took my translator, Annie, with me into the depths of the village to give them out house to house.  They spotted me coming and started mobbing me, wanting the photos.  It did not matter whose picture was in the photo, they wanted it.  It was chaos, like throwing meat into a shark tank.  Annie, who is a native Romanian and a college student, was traumatized by the event.  But I just soaked in the culture.  I could not understand any of them and she had to translate.  She wanted to get out of there but I insisted that we continue.  Soon we had given all of the photos, hopefully to the right people.  Then they wanted me to take more “pose” – photos.  So I took a lot more, but Annie assures me she will not go back with me next year.  One photo I took was for a lady who said she was ill and might not live, and she wanted a photo of her with her husband so that he would have something to remember her by.  That was a touching scene, but remember that it was a Gypsy – kings and queens of con artistry.
            Needless to say, the Gypsy kids clubs were real challenges. It took a lot of determined and energetic workers to conduct them.
            We also had a clinic in Beius, our home base church, and another clinic in Grosi (Grosh) which was my first time there. I went door to door with Bianca a 17-year old local Baptist who translated for me.  We told the people about the clinic and the kids club.  We visited one very gracious family, and the father’s name was Vlad. (Maybe you remember Vlad Dracula.)  He showed me around his nicely landscaped house and gave me a jar of wildflower honey.  Later I ate it with the Popa family.
            Our last clinic was in Baleni, a village that had no church of any kind three years ago.  There had been only one Christian lady in the town, and she wanted a church.  So we helped start a Baptist church there.  There is no building yet, but it meets in the home of the grandparents of Oana Baidoc, a young lady I led to the Lord two years ago while witnessing door to door.  I visited with the Baidocs while there and had a good time of  brief fellowship with them.  The grandmother insisted on giving me a handmade towel that is used to decorate the walls in Romania .  Last year, I had received one from the Toma family, and three from the Popa family. Like all the gifts I have received, they are treasures to me.  The towel was a little more fun than the yogurt she gave me two years ago.
            On one Sunday, I had the privilege of speaking at the Cefa Baptist Church and sharing about my Amazon mission trips.  The next Sunday I did the same at the Gurani Baptist Church .
            After the mission part of the trip was over, I stayed some extra days in Romania.  In Columbus, Ohio, at a June wedding I had met a young lady named Manuela serving at the wedding who was Romanian and at that time she had invited me to visit Bran, the home of “Dracula’s” castle in her home town...and she would show me around.  My good friend, Pastor Nelu Glitia, and his twin daughters, Debora and Rebeca, drove me 250 miles from their home to Bran.  We saw the castle and a lot more and met Manuela there.  If I get a chance, I will do a separate report on the castle trip.  (Hint:  It is part true and much fiction.)  The Glitias are a great family and the girls have translated for us for the six years that I have gone to Romania.  Both girls are working on masters degrees now.  The father pastors three churches.  You think that is a lot?  His father pastured 28 churches.  And he did not have a car.  In Romania , you do what you have to do. 
            Like last year, I then went to the Popa’s house, the home of translators Emily and Adina, in the town of Gurani (Gudan). To get to Gurani, you go to the middle of nowhere and take a left.  It is right at the foot of the mountains and is a lovely village.  A river runs through the middle of it.  The homes are equipped with outhouses and it reminds me a little of my roots in Arkansas, except that it is a little more advanced.  They have electricity and normally running water, but at the time of my visit the village pipe had been broken for two weeks.  So we bathed in an ice-cold river, and got our water for cleaning in buckets from the river.  And after the clothes were washed, we rinsed them in the river.  It is a clean river with a nice rocky bottom.  In Romania you do what you have to do.  One day we hiked up into the mountains.  The next day we went to Bear Cave, a fabulous cave (which will be the subject of another photo report if I ever get it done).
            Mr. Popa, “Nutu”, works at an electric power plant for 24 hours and then is off 24 hours.  He sleeps some and works in the fields and around the house in his “spare” time.  Mrs. Popa works 12 hours a day every day of the week in a bakery.  It is very hot work in the summer.  She gets paid about $200 per month, a little more than 50cents an hour. She does it so that Emily can go to college.  Next year, Adina starts also.  But Mrs. Popa does go to church on  Sunday along with the girls.  Pray for Nutu. He is not a Christian.
            Finally, I came home via Zurich, Switzerland.  I spent two nights there and did quite a one-day-tour of that part of Switzerland.  There, the only thing higher than the Alps are the prices.  That tour also will be the subject of another Photo report, if I have the time.
            My next trip is to Guatemala, Oct.3-10.  If anyone wants to go, the total price is $1,100, including airfare from Orlando, food, and lodging.  We will also have a second team going on Oct. 10-17.


Kids Club in Grosi (Grosh).                               Vlad and family in Grosi gave me honey.

Grosi street, channel is for future flooding.         Medical clinic in Grosi Baptist Church.

Brass horns, Grosi Baptist Church.               One of the many Romania Orthodox churches.

Local water well.                                                           Wild flowers.

Local Gypsy village of Batar.                                             Part of the worst in Batar.

I give photos, mobbed by Gypsies.          Gypsy woman wanted husband to remember her by this photo.

Local Gypsies in Batar.                          Wonderful Gypsy pastor and his wife in new church.

Clinic in Batar has new church ceiling..          15-Year old has hole in heart, we hope soon surgery.

Sunflowers, big regional crop.         First Christian in Baleni (she prayed years for a church).

Baleni, Oana Baidoc and grandparents (good).         Baleni clinic, counseling / presenting Gospel.

Baleni, only one light fixture.                                          Lots of plums in the region.

Storks.                                                                 Bright and colorful houses.

Cefa Baptist Church, eating cabbage rolls.           Still for may farmers main transportation.

Yes, a Bank of Transylvania. No not a blood bank.           Typical scene in the countryside.

The Glitia family at "Dracula's Castle".               I sit by the river with local villagers of Gurani.

Cows return at evening. Get out of the way!        The Popa family, my wonderful host in Gurani.

Cold mountain river where I swam and bathed.      Flying into Zurich, Switzerland on my way home.

You have reached THE END..

    You can join Jim...or at least call and talk to him about his trips. He might be available to speak about the trips and help with advice about such trips by people of your church. Call...he is a great guy.

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