Romania - 2008
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Thursday evening I actually did
not get to the Braila Church Service. Instead, at 4 we went to Marins’ parents
farm in Varsatura for an early dinner after which was scheduled to go to church.
It was Thanksgiving Day and they surprised me with a birthday dinner! The last
four Thanksgivings I have spent in Romania, usually in Greci Village with the
very poor farm families. Marin and Christina decided this year in stead they
would do a surprise birthday celebration for me by trying to prepare a
Thanksgiving Dinner. They bought a frozen 10 pound turkey which they took to a
“Pui Rotsi” on Thursday morning to be prepared. (It is Turkish cookhouse where
they cook your food on rotisserie and you take it home) The owner told Marin it
would take at least Saturday to unthaw the turkey and cook it. So he took it to
his wife who with aide of blow-torch got it thawed enough to cook. She split it
open, keeping the breast in tact, and cooked it! It looked wonderful. For
dinner, we had the Turkey, boiled potatoes covered in sour cream, and pickled
peppers. Christina also had small squares of birthday cake. Marin gave me two
small coffee mugs as a present to remind me of our morning coffee times. Mr.
Felfer came from Galati, about 60 miles north, and most of the church people
stopped bye for the evening party. It was a wonderful surprise.
Friday was spent packing and
saying goodbye to the families in Braila. As I had suffered a slight stroke Nov.
17th, leaving my left hand paralyzed, many felt this would be my last
visit to Romania. My good friend Nakutsa visited with Estera, giving me a gift
of a flashlight. As I was leaving, one lady shared with me that she had
considered for six years leaving her husband but had not because of my
continuous counsel and now she was very happy and content in her marriage. This
message gave me great comfort and made all the endeavors worthwhile in my mind!
At two, Marin came back from
his jobsite ready to travel. He had instructed the workers on his two
construction sites for the next three days work, gathered supplies and arranged
meals. We visited his parent’s farm to say goodbye and pray and then headed out
to Vaslui and Negreste to drop off winter food for Lydia and her feeding
programs. From there we went north into cold mountain villages. We stayed the
night in Toplita Village. It was -10 degrees. The Pensione House had wood stove
heat but no electricity. The next morning once we had scraped snow and ice from
the car, we ventured North through Bistritsa and Beclean to the village of
Talciue. There, we were unable to visit the house of our friends due to the snow
but they came down the path to the village center. The family have 13 children
and live on a small farm with a few sheep, cutting wood for income. Last year we
gave them the Caleb Van as they had no transportation. We presented them with
two computers so the children can have some schooling as they now have
electricity in the village.
From there, we drove to
Campalung where we delivered winter food from our Suceavea Warehouse. The USAid
boxes contain dehydrated foods for soups and stews. We acquired 2500 boxes of
the food last year for $1/box and now have distributed the last of them.
After Campalung, we went on to
Bucharest. Saturday afternoon Marin and I had lunch at McDonalds in the
Carrefour Foodcourt. Carrefour is the second largest store chain in the world,
with only Wal-Mart being larger. The stores are very big with most everything
you might find in a US super Wal-mart. Braila has two Carrefour Stores and eight
other similar superstores, all opened in the last 18 months since European Union
absorbed Romania. The pricing is in Euro and Romanian Lei but costs are same as
Western European stores so most Romanians cannot afford to shop there. If you
see the Carrefour photos you will notice not much crowd for 3 in afternoon of
the first Saturday of December!
Sunday morning we attended
Glive Church, a new Pentecostal Gypsy Church on the outskirts of Bucharest we
helped start two years ago. They distribute Caleb Clothing and supplies to the
poor on Glive District, operate a medical care program and are a growing church.
I preached on Isaiah 49 and Marin sang several worship songs. It was a wonderful
send-off for my last day of this 49 day journey.
Monday morning I flew out from
Bucharest to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Seattle, leaving Bucharest at 6 AM
and arriving in Seattle at 3 PM the same day but 23 hours travel time.
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Thank you as always for your
prayers and support! God is very good to each of us and it is always a joy to
Jerry Brian Riess
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