Friday, May 22, 2015

Jamie's Top Ten of Life in Romania

In less than a week we will have lived in Romania for three months.  As we have begun to get settled into life here, culture shock has begun to hit us.  But rather than dwell on all the reasons why I do not like living here, I try to follow God’s advice that “in everything give thanks.”  So here is a list of ten things that I am love about living here in Bucharest and for which I am thankful. 

10.  Shaormas
This Turkish version of our fast food hamburger is a favorite of Romanians and our family.  Fresh rotisserie chicken is shaved and placed onto a pita, which is filled with cabbage, pickles, French fries, garlic sauce, and sweet ketchup.  The best part is again all of this food is made to order.  We eat these about once a week.

9.  Organic Produce and Meat
I have been told that almost all of the food that we buy fresh is organic.  This is not because the country is super health conscious, but because farmers simply cannot afford to buy pesticides and hormones.  The result is some of the best tasting produce and meat I have ever eaten.
          8.  Public Transportation. 
Metros, trams, buses, and taxis have become the only way we get around the city.  I do not miss having a car.
          7.  Walking is a necessity.
Whether it is walking to a metro or going to the grocery store, almost everything is within walking distance.  I get way more exercise here than I ever did in the states.  In fact I have dropped a whole dress size since we moved here because of all of the walking.  Who needs a gym?
         6. Street Cleaners
Every morning cleaning crews go around the entire city cleaning out the trash cans, picking up litter, washing the streets, picking up the dog poop, and even cleaning up the pollen.  They help to make this city a much prettier and cleaner place.
           5.  Romanians love kids!
I know every society loves kids, but not like Romanians.  We cannot go anywhere without being stopped by an elderly person who wants to tell us how cute our boys are and express their excitement that we have kids.
           4. Romanians are helpful with small children.
Every time we get onto a bus, tram, or metro someone gives up their seat so we can sit down with our kids.  The metro even has pictures illustrating that the seats are reserved for the elderly and families with small kids.  If I am ever struggling to carry Roman and Beckham at the same time, someone will come by and help me.
 3.  Edible Beef!
When we came to visit the country over two years ago, we were shocked at how terrible the beef tasted to us.  We chalked it up to one of those things that we would just have to live without while we were here (which if you know Mark and I, it is a pretty big sacrifice).  Well…there are Arabic butcher stops all around town that only sell beef that is Halal, which translates into the best beef I have ever eaten!  Thank you Jesus! 
  2.  Parks and Playgrounds Galore. 
There are literally playgrounds in every bloc of this city.  Because there is not much grass, there were playgrounds built everywhere.  This is by far one of the biggest blessings to our family whose 22 month old has more energy than Mark and I combined.

1.       Fresh, warm soft pretzels stuffed with gooey chocolate filling. 
When the stress of language and culture study becomes overwhelming, these are my 50 cent treat.  There is only one word to describe these – YUM! 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Visiting a Roma Church in a Village

The church gathering to pray

 The church gathering to pray
The foundation for the new church
A typical Roma cart used in the villages

Inside their current church that is too small

This weekend we had a group of ReachGlobal colleagues and a couple pastors from the United States visit our team.  We were able to take trips to several part of town to pray for God to work and continue to open doors for our team to minister here.  We also took a 2 hour drive out of the city to visit a Roma village that has a strong, growing church.  They are in the process of building a new church that their building can actually hold them all.

The property was bought in the center of the village from a witch doctor who lived next door.  As the pastor explained it, "We felt God wanted us to be in the center of town and to fill the darkest place with light."  More recently though, the witch doctor had been killed (if I understood correctly) by a car accident on the road.

It was exciting to see a little of how God is at work around the country.  We have heard stories of revival and and once even an entire village turning to Christ.  We are excited to be here and see what God has planned for the Roma.  Please take a moment and pray that this church pictured above would receive from God all they need to finish their church, that their permits would go through and that God would bless and grow this church significantly in the days to come!