It is very normal in Romania for young children to be left with their grandparents for long periods of time. Some parents even leave their kids with the Grandparents for months on end as they travel to other parts of Europe for work. This has had some very destructive results to the family, marriages, and also to the kids themselves. We are seeing more negative results here in Romania as time moves forward.
Death of a Child
Mihaela’s cousin was no exception to this common practice. She left her daughter with her parents who lived about an hour and a half away from her & her husband. One day this past summer, their little girl was discovered dead in the grandparent’s backyard, she had fallen into a stream and drowned. As you can imagine, this devastated the family. We felt ripples of it all the way in America before we left to return to Romania.
As God is the master architect of life, He had additional plans to come out of this tragic story. You see, the story didn’t end with her death. The family held a funeral at their church in Timisoara. Mihaela’s little sister Anne lives in that city. In fact, she had been attending that church recently. The family asked Anne, who owns a wedding coordinating business if she would do the flowers for the funeral. The impact of the death, the funeral, the family, their faith, and God’s amazing grace sank deep into Anne’s heart.
Tears began streaming down Mihaela’s face as she listened to Anne, “I trust Christ as my savior and I want to follow Him by being baptized.” Over twenty-five years ago, both Mihaela and her older sister placed their faith in the Lord. Since then, Mihaela has been praying for the rest of her family to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It has been a long road with a lot of waiting and begging God to work in the hearts of her family.
Shortly after we arrived in Romania, we drove across the country so that we could be there for this momentous day. Mihaela’s parents, to my surprise, not only attended but had tears in their eyes through different parts of the service. I know because I was sitting up on stage with the other three Pastors. That’s a story in and of itself, you can read it HERE.
Baptism in Romania is closer to that of baptism from the early church in that by being baptized, you are separating yourself out for the “normal” part of society. In Romania, Evangelicalism is considered a cult. It is somewhat ostracized from parts of society. For Anne, it was even a bigger step due to the fact that her in-laws are heavily connected to the Romanian Orthodox church which is very much against Evangelicals. A handful of priests from the area arrived at Anne’s house to talk her out of it, or at least convince her husband to stop her from it. She constantly faced pressure…still she took a step of faith!
Conversations with God (prayers and praises)
We are praising the Lord for the work that He has done, and continues to do in Anne’s life.
We are praying for Simona who lives in Germany, that she will return to the Lord with the fire she had when she first placed her faith in Him.
We are praying for Ovi, Anne’s husband, and their two children, Richie & Sara – they too need the Lord. Ovi actually stood up to the priests who came and tried to convince Anne not to be baptized. Ovi’s reasoning was, if she feels good at the Baptist church, what is it to you. Let her worship God how she wants to. Not the perfect reasoning, but what an amazing thing to hear that he stood against these priests for his wife. He has attended the church a number of times now and continues to support his wife as she follows God.
We are praying for David and Gabi – Mihaela’s parents. God has been gracious in allowing us to have a favorable relationship with them, which has allowed us to talk about spiritual things.
We are praying for Dani & his family who live in Italy. He isn’t open to talking too much about spiritual things.