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Whoever you are, wherever you're from, whatever you believe, whatever you've done
You are welcome
Sunday 6th September
Went to Providence Baptist Church. About 150 there. They have a choir who sang a couple of pieces. I preached on the parable of the 10 minas.
Then we had communion. I helped Sorin break the bread. After the service I shook hands with people and exchanged the traditional greeting of 'pache'
(pronounced 'patchay') which means 'peace'.
After this Sorin and I went over the road to join the Roma church for the end of their service, so that Sorin could lead them in communion.
I brought greetings from Winslow.
Then we went to the house of an elderly church member so Sorin could give him communion.
After that back for lunch. Monica cooked a delicious 3 course meal. Chicken soup (Romanian recipe) followed by lamb steaks in a sauce with spicy potato wedges,
mixed vegetables and sweet red pepper, and finishing off with a large portion of tirimasu. All home made.
I felt stuffed, but there was little I could do to prevent the overload.
For the evening service I went to a gypsy church in Mezil. Sorin didn't go because he was preaching at Providence Baptist.
I was taken by Steven, who drove the minibus, and Pavel, who is a student at the seminary. Pavel was to be my translator,
but was nervous as he was not as confident with English as Sorin (though as far as I could tell he speaks very good English).
So Pavel and I sat in the back of the minibus so I could go through my sermon with him.
It took 1 1/2 hours to reach the church. It was in a rural part of Romania, where there is no running water, just a village well.
In the front row of the church was a teenage boy wearing an 'only fools and horses' t-shirt. The keyboard player wore a union Jack t-shirt.
These reminders of home were surreal because everything else was so foreign. The music was traditional gypsy music which sounded like middle Easten music.
There was a keyboard player and singer, both being amplified through a full PA system at full blast and with echo turned up to the max in what was a tiny room.
I could feel the singer's voice reverberating in my chest. No one else was singing. A couple of times during the service everyone started to pray at the same time,
praying their own prayer. Both Steven and Pavel were asked to give a mini sermon, which neither of them were expecting to do.
Then I preached on Psalm 1 and everyone seemed to listen well. Steven then talked for another 10 minutes and appeared to be rubbing in what I said.
After the service everyone shook hands and said pache. A couple of people wanted to talk to me. One was a blind man whose wife died recently.
He seemed to still be grieving. I wasn't sure what I could or should say, so I said 'God bless you' and his face lit up as if it was the greatest blessing ever.
Then a man who had a stroke 5 years ago and lost all movement in his left side spoke to me. I said the same thing and he also seemed more pleased than I would have expected.
Maybe us brits are held in high esteem?
Before we set off I decided I would have to use the loo as my bladder wouldn't cope with the hour and a half journey. This part of rural Romania doesn't have plumbing, so that meant the facility is a hole in the ground. I'm just glad I'm a dude.