Romania - 2013
Monday afternoon, we left Braila and
headed for the city of Iasi, about 250 miles north, in Romanian Moldova. Along
with Marin and me, we were accompanied by Dan Marin’s brother-in-law, and by his
father, both of whom came to Braila by train on Saturday to help with placing
the concrete pad on the roof of Marin’s new construction home. In exchange,
Marin agreed to install a wall and door into the Iasi home owned by Dan and in
which are presently residing Dan’s parents on the upper level and his family on
the lower level. Our travels took us through Negresti but my friend Lydia
Rascol, who lives there, is away in Bucharest. Lydia visited us in Seattle some
years ago to thank Caleb for the containers we sent for her ministry. Negresti
is the poorest section of Romania and Lydia has dedicated her twilight years to
helping feed and teach gypsy children. She is about 80 years old, lives in a
tiny apartment, and receives support from friends in Detroit where she used to
live. She retired from city government and came back to her home village of
Negresti in 1999.
Arriving about 11:30 pm at Iasi
(pronounced “yoush”), we are greeted by Dan’s wife Camellia and his four
children: Teo, Robert, Lili and Samona, all under 10. I have an honorary uncle
status in this family and feel right at home. Living conditions are somewhat
tense. Their history reads like a sitcom! Daniel and Camilla hired Marin to
build them a home on a lot in the country, formerly an apple orchard which was
subdivided into various lots for new construction. Arle, the neighbor, had Marin
build his home as well, being made suitable for Arle (Camilla’s brother) and his
family and their parents (Christina’s mother and father). Before Dan’s home was
finished, his parents moved in and took over the house! They remained there for
the last three years, having sold their former apartment and deciding they did
not want to live with Arle! This has been a big source of contention. Finally,
Camilla decided she had had enough and simply moved her family in too! There are
two sets of bunk beds in the former living room on the ground floor, a bed in
the dining room where Dan and Camilla sleep, plus a refrigerator and portable
cupboards and supplies. In the SMALL kitchen there is a couch on which I sleep.
Marin is upstairs in the in-law’s quarters. Marin is there to help build a wall
to separate the two families within the same house!
Monday morning construction begins
and by nightfall we have a wall and locking door, creating a duplex and bathroom
and makeshift kitchen on both levels. However, the water system is not working
downstairs so Marin and I stay a second day in Iasi while he re-routes the water
Meals are makeshift at best in the
very crowded quarters. Tensions are high as one can imagine and Marin and I are
literally the only ones communicating with everyone else. I am very pleased when
Wednesday we are at last free to leave, the wall being complete and debt paid
for the help with Marin’s house roof. Staying out of the way and having no
computer access, I managed to read my kindle while preparing bread, cheese, and
lunchmeat sandwiches for the group at designated intervals. (There is no other
food in the house and no one seems to be interested in going to a store.) I
Leaving mid-afternoon once the kids
are home so I can say good-bye, Marin and I headed west toward Bistritsa,
knowing we will not make it by nightfall. We stop at Barland and Vaslui to visit
friends in orphanages. Here the police are very strict on enforcing rules
against photography of children so I keep my camera packed.
We continued on, it is minus 5
degrees and snow and ice are everywhere so we stop for a bowl of Chorba soup and
then get a motel room for the night at Toplani. Marin is pretty exhausted and
truly needs the rest. Our “two-star” motel had to work hard to get the second
star. It had no heated water, not much heat, and no windows but the two bunks
have sponge rubber mattresses and big down comforters. It had the feel of
At 6 am we left, heading north to
Suceavea to see Dan Danut, the Caleb Ministry representative for the Suceavea
and Moldova districts. He is a Suceavea policeman and sadly cannot secure leave
to be with us, so we continued on west.
At Bistritsa we stopped to see Eli,
the man with 12 children living in the remote countryside. He came down the
mountain to visit as the road is not passable in the winter. He tends sheep for
others to earn a living for his big family. We gave him the Caleb Van several
years ago and a computer system to teach his kids. Last year he brought me a pig
as a gift to thank Caleb for our help. I had to participate in butchering the
poor pig, not my proudest moment! Eli is doing well. The children were all away
at school so I unfortunately I could not see them. They have a new home as the
old one burned down! The church gathered and built a long cabin style mountain
home and they feel very blessed by this kindness. The house has no conveniences
like running water or plumbing but they are used to a rugged lifestyle.
From Bistritsa we journeyed north to
Saintsghroeghe Bai (Saint Georges Bath) to see two of my favorite people,
Sisters Titsa and Mary. These beautiful ladies are the most spiritual and loving
people I have ever met. It is energizing just to be in their presence! We
arrived with gifts of bags of apples, potatoes, and jars of honey for them.
Climbing the cumbersome stairs to the old apartment house, we found Sister Titsa
with Bible open, instructing a neighbor man on scripture. Without missing a
beat, she prepared a basin for foot washing, and started pronouncing prophecy
upon me. In her late 70’s, this awesome instrument of God emits love and caring
in her every motion. I feel so treasured and safe and valued in her presence.
She and her sister were deeply involved in the raising of Christina, Marin’s
Following many readings in God’s
Word, she then tells me God has many more years’ work for me! I wanted to say
“Thank you,” but she then goes on scolding me not to waste a moment of it! She
told me God is opening windows on the world and it is my job to draw back the
curtains and let His love in to these dark places. She sees me as a torch that
simply will not burn out and that I have not been critical enough of others who
are lazy in their walk, disrespecting God and placing themselves first. She
then gives me a string of Bible verses (too fast for Marin to keep up) and says
I must ….MUST….bring His Word to more as it is the only comfort they will
receive in this heathen world. She asks me who wrote God’s Word? Men or God? I
say God through the Holy Spirit but she says NO! It was written by imperfect
men. The Holy Spirit inspired them but corrupt sinful man penned the word which
is why God’s Word is not truly worshipped and adored as it should be. Man cannot
truly reflect the purity of God, the righteousness of His Kingdom, or the
importance of our place in His heart.
This lovely lady spends all her time
teaching everyone who will listen. She and her sister visit stores, plazas,
shops and churches all over to play their guitars, sing their spiritual songs,
and to pray for healing and give God’s Word. As we depart, she gives me the
passage Daniel 8:13-14 and said it has been wrongly interpreted through the
ages…and its message is more critical now than ever before.
13 Then I heard a
holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was
speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the
transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be
14 And he said to
me, “For two thousand three hundred days;[a]
then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”
I have received
this message many times before but hearing it from this lady gives it special
significance! She warned that when we stop sacrificing (worshipping, serving
God) the bad things come and steal from us so we must continue to always work
for God. She says this is why she looks forward to our visits, because we work
for God. She reiterates that without God we have nothing and are nothing. It is
only what God gives us that counts. She asks what I think of what God gives and
I say it is two things: Sufficient and Frumose (beautiful). She is pleased by
my answer. (Thank you, Holy Spirit!) It is like being in school to be with
these ladies and yet one comes away enriched and feeling like one has not done
In parting she
gives me 1 Corinthians 4:
8 You are
already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and
indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! 9 For I
think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death;
for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We
are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you
are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour
we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.
12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being
persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the
filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
And 2 Corinthians 6
4 But in all
things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in
tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in
tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by
longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word
of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand
and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as
deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold
we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always
rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing
Sister Titsa says
do not judge yourself for the world does enough of that. Look forward to the
only judgment that matters and count yourself righteous as Christ does already.
So, just “shut up” and “do your works to His glory.”
In the afternoon, we visited Sister
Maria in her home. This is indescribable. It reminds me of the little cabin St.
Francis lived in at Assisi, but smaller. It is the back porch of a big house
which is enclosed into a tiny living space. It has a bed, four cupboards, a wood
stove, and literally that is all! No refrigerator or heater or radio or anything
else! The one electric light is a plug in she rarely uses! She speaks in nothing
but scripture! Everything is asked and answered by quoting the Bible, making
conversation very difficult. She is speaking blessings and warnings and then
repeating prophecies. Most people look after her to see she is okay but she is
living in a different world than most of us now. You will never find anyone who
has more peace than these two ladies! What a treat to visit with them on our
From Saint Georges Bath we headed
west, arriving at Lugos around 1 am. It is 6 degrees below zero, snowing, and we
saw no point in arriving at Timisoara, just 50 miles west, in the middle of the
night. We again found a two-star motel, this one for just $31 for both of us for
the night. Awaking at 6 am, we are advised the “free breakfast included” did not
start until 10 am, so we decided to journey on into Timisoara, the second
largest city in Romania.
The time in Timisoara was very
short. It was now Friday and we needed to get to Petrosani in the mountains by
Sunday and back to Braila by Monday. That is over 800 miles in the winter snows!
The first three years I visited Romania, I spent time with the family of Nicoli
Ianos. I traveled with him into Moldova, Bulgaria and Hungary. He taught me much
of what I do now as a missionary. I have seen his children grow and mature. I
lived with his family for three months in Australia in 1997, 1998 and 1999. They
are family and whenever I am in Timisoara, they are my family. I conducted the
wedding of their youngest son in Detroit, Michigan, in 2003 and of the youngest
daughter in Timisoara in 2012. My purpose in coming this year was to hold
evangelisms in Serbia and distribute 28 boxes of supplies, food and candy packs
we shipped from USA for the poor Serbian Christians living about four hours from
Timisoara. These Serbian Christians are the subject of Caleb Ministries
outreach conducted by Ianos family.
But the Serbia trip fell apart
before my very eyes. The intended Serbians will still receive the items in time
but Diane Ianos and her new husband, Daniel, who is Serbian, were behind with
the program. She met him at University in Timisoara and they got married last
year. They devised and designed the Serb outreach as it is to his home pastor.
In OCTOBER I wrote and confirmed that all was set for bringing in the goods and
holding the evangelism. I was told yes, the goods were in Serbia waiting and
all was ready. When I got to Timisoara I found it simply was not true. When
Daniel and Diane graduated from Timisoara University in June, Daniel found he
could not find work in any European Union Country and Diana was not comfortable
with their living in Serbia (wise girl). So they both took jobs in ENGLAND.
Diane was pregnant so they moved to England July 30th so the baby could be born
there as it gives them a host of benefits! So our program was left in hands of
Andre Ianos (33 yr. old brother of Diana). When he took boxes to the border,
Serbia wanted $300 duty for each box. A Serb can take them in free but European
Union members cannot since Serbia has set up protectionist legislation. So I
went to the border, with the boxes and two big sacks of potatoes (about $250
pounds each!) purchased here to supplement the food, and presented our European
Relief Agency credentials endorsed by Serbia. They still refused. The weather
was very bad so our Serbian brothers from Partos could not get there to help
take things across. So the Serbia program was put on hold for better weather.
Saturday evening we attended the
five-hour Pentecostal service at Isus Lumina Lumii church. This was a great
service. It reminded me of the enthusiasm for Christ Romania had during the post
revolution era when the underground church started appearing openly. The pastor
introduced me but apologized because he had not made preparations for a
translator. There were seven Romanian pastors to preach plus musical interludes,
songs, and prayer time--truly a rich service. A man about 25 years old came and
sat with me to translate the events for me. Andre’ Ianos gave a very
impassioned introduction to prayer. Usually four or five short meditations or
scriptures are given following about 15 minutes of concentrated prayer on that
subject in each service. Andre’ called for prayer for all those who have broken
their mother’s heart by making them cry as they walked away from God. He then
confessed to the church and publicly to me his regret for leaving us in
disobedience in Melbourne, Australia in 1998. At age 18, he chose to disobey his
parents and leave the family at the Sunshine Church, electing to run off with
friends his age. We knelt in prayer in the parking lot and asked God to keep him
safe. Ten years later, while drinking at a bar, he received a vision of our
praying for him and the vision then rose before his eyes and he saw us praying
in the spiritual realm in heavenly garb. He dropped his drink, left the bar, and
returned to the family, serving Our Lord ever since! His confession had a
profound impact on everyone there!
When the service was nearly
completed, Ianos Nicolai was called upon as the last pastor. He told the church
they were not blessed or receiving God’s full blessings because they were blind
to God’s gifts by their own comforts. He said they had passed up the opportunity
to hear the words that have transformed thousands elsewhere. He then recounted
how, during the revolution in Romania, he met me and drew from me the strength
to rely upon God for power to preach the Word in a communist dictatorship. He
told of our praying in gypsy camp meetings, Jurasislava prison, at the Moldovan
border, and in Fantanelli village. He recounted our work in Bulgaria, Ukraine,
and in Australia. The young man translating for me stopped, pointed at me and
said “This is you?” He then drew closer to me and literally stopped talking
completely. I do not know what Ianos Nicolai said from that point on but
clearly it had a big impact. I was embarrassed but also amused because Marin
learned much he had not known of my adventures as well. After the service the
pastor had all of the pastors and my party up to his offices for refreshments. I
never realized how strongly Ianos Nicolai felt about me until that night.
When we returned to the house, Sammy
Ianos gave his testimony of coming to Christ while imprisoned in Italy. It was a
very heavy evening but blessed indeed.
Saturday we visited many sick people
with Andre’, spent time with my friend Daniel Beleano who now lives in
Timisoara, and had an evening service in Ianos’ church. Afterward, Marin and I
left as the weather was very threatening and we could not risk getting
snow-bound in Western Romania. We stayed the night in a small motel in Terjiu
Jiu and then headed back to Braila Sunday, arriving just in time for evening
service. I spoke on Isaiah 54:2-3 and the Prayer of Jabez on enlarging our view
of God in our lives. It was well received as several shared after that it
altered how they thought about God working in their life.
Monday we shopped and gathered
supplies for The Colony where a long night service was held. It became a full
evening as Marin and I visited the shut-ins first, had dinner with his parents
and then went to The Colony (gypsy slums). Marin’s father came with us. I
preached on the continuing involvement of God in our lives, using the text in
Acts 17:19-34 of Paul referring to the monument to “The Unknown God” in
justifying his argument about Jesus to the Athenians. I then told of how God
used my visit in 1980 to a village in The Philippines to give me entrance in
2013 to the same village to preach about Jesus 33 years later! They were all
excited to see God working in our lives by this example. We brought cookies and
pop for the kids, bottled water and cakes for the adults. It was a very good
night and the gypsies were pleased we did not “overlook” them on this trip.
Tuesday is the last full day here as
tomorrow I leave for Bucharest to start the trip home. Today Marin and I will
visit the grave of his brother, and will gift food that I purchased in bulk plus
some turkeys to poor families in various villages. Tonight, I preach in Braila
and will give the talk on Honoring Church Leaders (Pastors). Thank you all for
your kind support, prayers and encouragement. God Bless.
Jerry Brian Riess
First Report -
Leaving Seattle November 5th at 4:15
pm, I fly to Paris and then to Bucharest. Marin arrives 45 minutes after I clear
customs, due to very heavy rains in the Bucharest area. We drive to Braila,
enjoying one bowl of beef Chorba and tolerating one flat tire on the journey,
arriving at the church apartment approximately 40 hours since my last sleep.
Christina, son Paul and daughter
Elisha remain in Bucharest hospital as Elisha is having her annual Downs
Syndrome evaluation and Paul is being treated for dizzy episodes at a
neurological clinic. Anna greeted us at the apartment and we picked up Michael
and Stephen at their grandparents house on the way here. Claudio (Marin’s
nephew) is in school and working as a waiter so he will be home on weekends as
he has his own small apartment.
Thursday morning Marin and I
purchased the fence and marker for his brothers’ grave site. Vasile died two
years ago and I have been saving my personal money ($800.00) to honor his memory
in this way as Marin’s family did not wish to “reward” his alcoholism by
spending family resources on his grave.
In the afternoon I unpack and rest,
preaching Thursday night at Braila Pentecostal Church on Psalm 138.
Friday we visited families and the
sick, and had family time Friday night as Christina and the kids arrived from
Bucharest by Maxi-Taxi (van) about 9 pm.
Saturday we cleaned the apartment
and cared for the 107 Turkeys while visitors arrived to greet me throughout the
day. A gypsy friend visited and advised us that his young daughter is in the
hospital with an ear infection and he had no food to bring his wife and
daughter. Hospitals do not provide food or linens in Romania, so a family member
or friend must bring them food and personal items each day. We prepared food and
Christina took it Saturday evening to the hospital.
Sunday morning I preached in Braila
Pentecostal Church in morning service on Discipleship, at Gypsy Colony in the
afternoon on the Virgins ten oil lamps, and at outdoor evangelism in Chiscan on
Sunday night, about the Mars Hill encounter of Paul. In between, we brought food
from the apartment to the family whose daughter and mother are still in the
hospital. We are advised that the 9-year-old and 5-year-old are alone on the
weekdays because their father must take a job as laborer when it is offered.
Consequently, we inherited the two additional children until their mother
returns home. It would not be safe to leave them unattended in the Gypsy
After the Evangelism, we took dinner
to the lady and her daughter and to another man also in the hospital. It has
been a full day!
In the evening we learned the house
across the street from Marin’s new home construction, was burglarized in the
afternoon, the neighbors losing $2,000 in funds saved to pay for natural gas
installation on the street. The home was vandalized with nearly everything
inside destroyed. Christina offered to get some of the Tiripa family
furnishings out of storage to give as replacements and Claudio and Marin went to
help clean the house in the morning. Marin’s home is ready to install the roof
but had nothing of value inside to be vandalized.
The apartment we are in is on the
Braila church grounds, being above the Caleb warehouse. It has two rooms, a long
hallway to a tiny kitchen, and a third room where all the clothing and school
supplies are stored. Rooms do not have closets or dressers for clothes. The
“bathroom” is downstairs and outside and is an outhouse. The apartment has one
heater in the double room. I am in the clothes storage room a wood stove given
me by the gypsies last year when we were here. The home Marin and Christina
built and lived in when Pastor Dan was here in July 2011 was surrendered to the
bank when friends of Marin purchased the adjoining home and then refused to pay.
Marin and Christina did not want to see them put on the street so gave up their
own house and moved to the apartment to give the other family time to regroup.
They have not paid anything in two years and now finally the matter is in court.
Christina and Marin sat and again
gave me the lecture on why I should move to Braila, promising to keep me within
their family or, if I wished, to provide a small house for me near them. They
worry about me and want me near. Each trip I get this invitation as the world
becomes more dangerous. I again thank them but say no and they promise not to
nag me more about it. Yeah,like that’s gonna’ happen!
Tuesday was very busy. Visited job
site where Marin is building their new house. It is across the road from the
one he built last year as they sold it instead of moving in to it, the offering
price being very good. The new lot abuts Marin’s’ parents farm in the back,
giving huge opportunity for garden and joint management of both properties. The
8 men working there are all men I have baptized in past years so it was great
fun spending time with them. They are now preparing to install the roof. The
home should be ready next summer.
We then shopped for groceries and
supplies and returned to the apartment to prepare dinner. At 5pm I went to
church (next door) and I preached on “How God equips us for this Life and the
Next”. Returning home at 8:30, we got a phone call that the doctor in Bucharest
Hospital wants Elisha and Christina in Bucharest hospital for another evaluation
9 am Wednesday. Marin rushed Elisha and Christina to Tulcea (30 miles) to get
the night train to Bucharest but found it was cancelled for the evening. (Not
enough passengers) So, we got up at 5 AM and drove them 150 miles to Bucharest
in the morning. (3 hours each way) Doctors are very lofty here about such
inconveniences. Their threat is that if Elisha is not there for the meeting they
will cease state paying her medical and special schooling expenses OR move for
state to become her guardian. It is very cruel so Marin and Christina always
respond when demanded by the doctor.
Marin and I got home again from
Bucharest about 2 pm and we purchased construction materials for the three
houses he is building. Elisha and Christina returned Wednesday night by train
about 6 pm. Marin and I were preparing for church which was foot washing service
tonight at Chiscan. But abruptly daughter Ann (13) stood straight up in a short
doorway of the apartment, cracking her head. Marin and I looked after the
children while Christina rushed Ann to the hospital. She returned by 9 pm with
shaved head and 4 stitches on top. (I agreed NOT to take her picture).
Thursday turned out to be really
strange indeed. I awoke feeling queasy and by 10 am my body exploded severely.
It was very embarrassing as there are few conveniences for being sick here.
Twice I did not make it to the toilet, soiling most of my clothes. Christina
helped by cleaning up after me (as if she hasn’t enough to do!) and putting me
to bed with hot tea and stoking the fire in my wood stove. She declared my room
off limits so children did not disturb me and later she brought me a towel and
basin so I could bath while she washed my clothes. I felt so sorry for
troubling her but there was nothing I could do. Very uncomfortable with no heat
in my room, toilet being downstairs and very cold weather outside. (About 30
degrees) It was reoccurrence of my sickness last April with dizziness and hard
time breathing. By late afternoon I was better but by no means well enough to
go out. Meanwhile, at Marin’s’ building site they were “raided” by police on a
tip claiming they had undocumented workers. (Meaning workers for whom they are
not paying labor taxes like our social security and Labor and industries).
Christina provided all the correct documents but still Marin and the 8 workers
lost a day’s work and must appear tomorrow in court to prove his proper worker
documentation. It is harassment and annoyance at best. We believe the man who
vandalized the home across the street made the complaint to suggest an
undocumented worker was the thief, taking heat off him. He has now been
apprehended in Bulgaria but the money was not restored!
Thursday night I stayed in and had a
bowl of Chorba for light dinner. Friday was shopping and paying bills at local
utilities, visit to lawyers office regarding house transactions, and watching
the kids while Marin and Christina attended to their various chores. Friday
afternoon the Timisoara Caleb people advised they are trying to arrange the
Serbia Evangelism. Diane Lanios, who spearheaded the project last fall, is now
suddenly living in England with her husband, a Serbian, who set the plan in
motion. They have a two-month-old baby boy requiring full attention and cannot
come back right now for the evangelism. Diane’s brother Andre’ Ianos has
assumed responsibility for the project but has to go to Germany next week for
two days' work. The Serbian government will not grant a visa to Marin to enter,
wanting more time to consider his application. (He served in jail under
Ceaucesceau Dictatorship for being a Pentecostal Christian)
Meanwhile, Marin and I await word on
arrival of our 10,000 Christmas Shoeboxes so we can catalogue and distribute
them to the local villages. As I have barely 18 days left in Romania for this
trip, plans are up in the air.
Friday night was family night with
people coming to enjoy popcorn, baked pumpkin and prayer time.
Saturday the Tiripa Van broke its
alternator so we were without a car until at minimum Monday when parts might
arrive from Vienna, Austria. So we did laundry, cleaned the Turkey area, and
did household chores while Marin and Christina did errands on the bus system and
trolley. Sunday we had service in the morning at Braila church, mid-morning
service at Chiscan and evening service at the Baptist Church, a multi-faith
monthly meeting of about 350 people. It was a long day. Transport was provided
by trolley, bus, and a gypsy boy with an Opel (always late!) Exhausting day! At
Braila I preached on The Temple, at Chiscan I spoke on Priesthood of Believers,
and at the evening service I repeated the Mars Hill teaching of Jesus being
author of history!
Monday we got news Christina was
again required in Bucharest with Elisha. It was off to the train at Tulcea by
taxi. I looked after the kids in the daytime until Marin could get home (still
without car) from the construction site! We usually visit sick on Mondays, but
without a car this was not feasible.
It is now Tuesday morning and still
no word on the alternator. We borrowed a small Dacia car and are visiting the
sick this afternoon and have church this evening.
Service was prayer time and a short
teaching on the necessity of daily devotions and Bible reading and prayer. Marin
translated for me.
Wednesday was very busy day with big
wind storm here. Marin was busy at the construction site making sure things were
safe so I missed church as had no one to translate for me since Christina
watched the children. Braila Church has no program for children apart from the
regular service and the influx of seven children from the Tiripas into the
service with mother busy translating is too inviting for disturbances. Michael,
Stephen are too young, the two gypsy children we are watching even younger and
Elisha with her Downs can be big distraction in a service.
Thursday Marin and I were invited
to Sister Johanna’s home for a late luncheon. She always has a big dinner for me
on my visits. Her husband , a ship’s pilot in the Merchant Marine is at sea for
18 months as is the oldest boy Lorenzo, a ship’s navigator in his own right. The
second boy Michael just graduated from medical school and is interning. The
youngest boy Cornel has now obtained his aircraft pilot’s certification and is
in British Airways program! All three boys have served as translators for me
through the years.
Friday the church came together to
clean the winter sanctuary, scrubbing all the walls, furnishings and washing the
curtains. A small room is used in winter as it heats efficiently as compared to
the big church. Friday night was Long Night Service at Braila with many Gypsys
and Romanians coming together at 9 pm until 6 am. Much singing, preaching and
prayer with break for sandwiches and tea. Marin had to attend a Pastors
Conference in Galati so I wandered in and out of the Long Night service, not
having a translator.
Saturday Marin got the car fixed for
our trip and Christina and the kids planted fruit trees, grapes and shrubs at
the new house worksite. I conducted a Skype conference call to several Pastors
in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, being close in the time zones. We covered
the material Caleb used in Romania a year ago on recognizing child abuse and
spousal abuse in the congregation and sheparding through it. (This area of the
world tends to ignore it as a problem)
Saturday evening following bath time
in the Tiripa apartment, some gypsy friends of mine came by about 10 PM asking
prayer for a man named Viral. He had just returned from England where he worked
as professional keyboard man and had accepted Christ two weeks ago, and decided
he had to flee worldly employment. We met in the little “winter church”, and I
prayed for him and we talked. Had nine gypsies plus Marin, Paul and myself.
Prayed for most of them. I had Viral repeat his confession of faith to be sure
and had him memorize Romans 10:9-10 for his peace of mind as he seems still
vacillating between two worlds. It was interesting and I believe very productive
Big surprise Sunday morning. I awoke
to find Pastor Julian Chelu and his wife Maria came all the way from Bucharest
to visit with me and preach together! Pastor Chelu is old friend from Bucharest.
He has 5 children, all now married. The two girls are married to pastors and the
three boys are pastors! Anna and her husband are missionaries in Bihor, India.
Sammy, the youngest, is serving as youth pastor in Llonca, a gypsy village.
Pastor Chelu is head of over 100 Pentecostal churches in Bucharest District. We
have preached and traveled many times. Caleb shipped him several containers. We
enjoyed a good visit and reunion before church.
Sunday I preached with Pastor Chelu
at Braila and then traveled south to Slobovia as Marin’s father got Christina to
translate both occasions. Sunday night I may be at the Baptist Church. Tomorrow
we leave across the country so this will end the first report for this trip.
Thank you all for making this trip
possible, for your prayers and your support!
Jerry Brian Riess
Caleb Good News Ministries
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