|SWAT REPORT # 12
The photos attached show Christmas with Romanian friends and one view of our church on Sunday afternoon.
HOLIDAYS IN ROMANIA
We spent Christmas evening with Romanian friends and had a wonderful time. Many of them spoke no English at all and we are speaking Romanian like a 14-month-old baby. But charades and sign language were the fun games of the evening. One lady plays the comb wrapped in plastic as a musical instrument and I did a duet with her whistling. We all laughed until our full tummies ached speaking of full tummies, we pigged out on Romanian pig in many forms. The traditionally prepared food was DIFFERENT some I really enjoyed and some I will need more practice. Our gracious hostess was sympathetic. The children sang carols some we were familiar with and others were new. We joined them on the chorus of Angels we have heard on high because the Gloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooria is the same in both languages.
LOST IN THE TRANSLATION
Speaking of language I made a diligent effort to learn how to say Merry Christmas in Romanian so that I could pass tracts with the proper greeting. I found out two days after Christmas that this greeting (Cratiun Fericit) means Happy Santa Clause Day. They have no greeting that actually expresses Merry Christmas. I swore I would never say that again and I wished I could go back over the past week and erase my many greetings, which I coupled with the gospel. This language business is all new to us. I never realized the immense problem that it is. We have prayed that the Lord would lift the curtain of language barrier that He put in place in Genesis chapter 11 but I suppose every missionary prays that. In discipling, my son in the faith Andrew, I was answering his question concerning the subject of wine. He asked me about John 2 where Jesus turned the water into wine. I answered with the pat answer and then he read it in the Romanian Orthodox Bible. He asked how they could get drunk on new wine. I said that the word drunk in verse 10 was the past tense of drink. He then told me that the Romanian Bible said after they got drunk. WOW this sure changes things if Jesus had given them fermented wine and made them drunk he would have been in violation of Hab. 2:15 and would have had to atone for his own sins and would not have been able to atone for ours. There are MANY places in scripture where similar problems arise. Pray the Lord gives us wisdom to handle these in our discipling and teaching.
WHATS IT LIKE IN ROMANIA???
I remember imagining what a foreign mission field was like when, at that point I had never been out of the USA. For most of you it is only possible to form a twisted image of the conditions. This is why Christians, and especially Pastors should take missions trips. Allow me to try to dissolve some of your distorted images of Romania. There is not foul odor as you drive across the border or get off the airplane. Many foreign mission fields do have that greeting those visiting from America. Although many buildings are old, in disrepair, and dustier than what we are used to I cannot say it is filthy like some third-world countries I have ministered in. Driving is crazy. You cannot drive subconsciously but then I have heard horror stories about driving in Mexico and India and I have witnessed driving craziness in Manila.
Shopping, at least in Brasov is not at all what we had imagined. We shipped a years supply of many things that are readily available here. We spoke recently with another missionary who has been here 13 years and he said it was NOT that way when he first came. They just had little shops and many things were simply unavailable. America stands in first place when it comes to variety in all items and no country I have visited or lived in can even come close. But, Brasov can boast of four huge department stores like Wal-mart, one huge store like Home Depot, a small, but modern mall, and hundreds of other shops in every category. We have an auto dealership for every European make and a second VW dealership is under construction. There is no airport at present but plans are being discussed. At present we would have to use the airport at Bucharest some two hours away. There are four universities, theaters for the arts, ice-skating rinks, an indoor swimming pool, plenty of classical music concerts, many good restaurants, cafes, desert and coffee shops, and nice hotels. They have an abundance of religion here, predominately Orthodox, but the truth of the gospel and salvation by grace through faith is very much not known. We are quite comfortable living here and we consider it to be a fine base of operations for our future ministry into all of eastern Europe. Pray that we can take full advantage of the freedoms and liberties that are somewhat common and expected here so that we can freely publish the gospel in the regions beyond.