As we awakened to morning in Romania, we were greeted with the honking of cars down on the streets, a cool breeze from the open window and the neat realization that my hair appliances were not going to be working on this trip. Before you think I’m too much of a traveling rookie, I must say that I did try to prepare for this. I bought a converter and adapter before we even left the states. Then, just days before leaving I read the instructions only to be alerted to the fact that it was NOT to be used with hair appliances. Instead it was only good for small gadgets like cameras. Well my thought on this is phthttttttt! I don’t want to use my camera for pictures if I can’t do my hair! Hello! It’s not that I’m ultra vain, but I was born with naturally frizzy hair…and a lot of it. Not pretty curls, and not smooth and straight. It is the main reason, that I could never be on a reality show like Survivor, that and I get hangry if I don’t eat. They’d tell me to bring one thing I needed if stranded on an island and I’d be there with a straightener and no plug in sight. Anyway, my plan was to just buy one when we landed because we originally were going to go to a supermarket for supplies. However, with the flight fiascos, I thought I’d be smart and just buy one in the London airport while we were on our layover. Pretty smart huh? I’ll admit I was pretty pleased with myself for thinking ahead. Yet, to my chagrin, the plug for England doesn’t fit the receptacles in Romania, go figure. So, I spent the morning knocking on doors asking our group if they had anything with which I could do my hair. I did borrow a hair dryer from Tammy and Laura Kleinmann, and as I’m writing this I’m remembering that I need to go buy a new one for these ladies as I blew theirs up trying to use it with …you guessed it, my converter.
On a deeper note, we made our first stop at an orphanage that Manna is now constructing. The construction and vision for it was originally that of a widow woman from the U.S. who had moved to Romania to start an orphanage. She had already helped start it before the building of this facility. Some, who are still in the care of the orphanage, are adults with special needs. She, unfortunately, ran into some health and then financial obstacles that prevented her from finishing the project, so she passed it along to Manna Worldwide. It is going to be an amazing facility when finished. Their model for orphanages is called Bridge to Life homes where they have a married couple raise the kids as their own in a family setting. This way it is not a dormitory, uncaring, or impersonal atmosphere, but rather a close knit family unit functioning with responsibilities and raising of kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. There will be enough space for four family units to live in this facility with quite a few kids per unit. My only regret is that we didn’t get to meet the young people who will initially get to live in this building due to time constraints and our late landing and altered schedule.
After touring the home we loaded back into the bus for a five-hour drive to Severin, the home of Pastor Rica and his family. Pastor Rica, we noticed was a passionate and thankful man. Just moments into meeting him I realized, “oh we’ve got a hugger here!” He hugged 2nd Man probably a dozen times before we even got to his home. He definitely knew how to make a group feel welcomed. Upon arrival we were greeted at the church with a church tour and home cooked meal that was amazing! The church construction was only finished this past April of 2014. They had gotten the plans from our own church back in Ponca City, OK and adapted them to fit their needs. It was so warming to see this church with so many similarities to our own and know that we had gotten to be a part of the planning of this building.
At dinner we were informed that our leader, Manna Director Jerry Abbott, as well as 2nd Man and myself would be staying at the home of the Gonciulea’s and the Ciupuligas. My initial thought was, “oh no!” I mean, it was kind and generous of them, but my private shy side sometimes gets panicked in these situations, as well as my private want-my-own-bathroom side. However, we were here to serve and I quickly dismissed my hesitations and decided to roll with it. Imagine my glee when we rolled up to their house to find a huge, western world style home that allowed 2nd Man and I to have our own basement suite complete with private bathroom! Now, let me give some background on how these missionaries were blessed with these accommodations. I assure you it is not because they’re just rolling in the dough. While they lived in the states they were blessed with a beautiful home and were able to bring over the plans to Romania when they moved back. Apparently the construction workers weren’t adept enough to do the English to metric conversions correctly and they ended up with a much larger house than the original plans called for. This worked greatly in their ministry’s favor for the first fourteen years of being back in Romania, as the church used the great room as their church sanctuary and the basement for children’s’ ministries. As a matter of fact, they had only just finished redecorating and getting their American furniture out of storage before we came. It is pretty expensive to even get an apartment in Severin, so their Son-in-law Sammy, daughter Becky, and grandson Sammy all live there comfortably as well. What a blessing!
They were such hospitable people too. We were treated so well and enjoyed some wonderful conversation. I likened it to staying at the home of Jesus. I actually felt kind of guilty though in that we weren’t exactly suffering for the cause if ya know what I mean, that and the rest of our group was staying at the local hotel. I was later relieved to know that the hotel was quite nice and comfortable for them. They came over in the mornings on the bus after breakfast to meet up with us and go out for the day. But, best of all (well ok best is an exaggeration but roll with it) they had a hair straightener and blow dryer I could borrow! Yea me!
We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast every morning with eggs, and cheeses, salami and home jarred current and sour cherry jams on fresh bread bought daily. I was sure I would not go home hungry. Pastor Rica enjoys gardening. That sounds like a pretty generic sentence in context with the degree to which he actually enjoys it. Though they are in the city limits they have an entire orchard in their backyard with plum, apricot, cherry, and peach trees. Along with a garden full of tomatoes, eggplant, blackberries, raspberries and a farmers market full of other things. We were privileged to eat of his harvest and it was fabulous! 2nd man and I strolled through the garden one evening with Pastor Rica as he kept shoving berries into our hands. I would just get my mouth wiped and here came more! Gotta love a man who keeps shoving sugar in your grip right?
Truly God has blessed this family for their great sacrifices. I don’t dare presume that it isn’t without it difficulties. They, however, don’t choose to share those readily and those of which I am aware aren’t mine to share.
But, suffice it to say, we were humbled and honored to share their home and company for the short time we were there.
In my next post I’ll share the joys of the church services we experienced…