July 24th, 2011

...now browsing by day

 

Sunday July 24th. Braila, Romania.

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

It started raining before sun up and lasted for several hours. Like a Northwest summer vacation, I could imagine all those vacationing Romanians, I saw the last days swimming, boating, barbecuing, on the river banks, now sitting locked up in their little orange and blue tents, waiting for the rain to stop. So, what better to do than go find shelter in a Baptist church? Just like that winter Sunday, the day of the Martin Luther King holiday, in Bellhaven, N.C. in January 2008. See : http://cometosea.us/albums/albums/ICW.pdf

Yesterday, searching for the Catholic Church I came upon a church with a regular cross, unlike the Orthodox churches, it turned out to be a Baptist church. Christi, a young man who spoke good English and today was the designated interpreter at the Sunday service, helped me on my way to the R.C. church. The service this morning started at 9.30 and I sat through it till noon…. Yesterday I used the word “duty” for having gone to mass. Bad choice. And with all the hours I have spent in many different churches, in more than 40 countries in the last 6 years,  these two and a half hours were also well spent.  The service was all in Romanian. The building, as you can see from the below pictures, was impressive. I estimate that there were about 150 to 200 people in attendance and it had a capacity for 5 times that number. It definitely had an American design and I doubt that this was done without financial assistance from the US brethren. The hymns were projected on two screens and I can read Romanian well enough to sing along. About an hour through the service a delegation of about twenty 10 to 12th graders, with their leaders, filed in. The younger boys, typically for Americans, with their hands in their pockets. They turned out to be of the Prestonwood Baptist Church near Dallas,  Texas. They are here to give sport clinics for the Romanian children and to conduct Bible classes.

Prestonwood is one of those  Mega churches, 30,000 member, with three different “campusses” near and in Dallas, under handsome looking young pastor Jack Graham (no kin to Billy). I tried to start a conversation with a couple of the members of the group after the service but they appear to live in a cocoon I am not a part of. I do not mean this in a derogatory way. They happened to have been raised in these suburbs and even when they travel away from it they stay connected to the hive and the queen bee. My guess, is that, the majority of these young suburban Texans have no clue what Braila has gone through in the last 20 centuries and if they even know that it happens to be located on the Danube.

One of the leaders, Chris, gave a testimony about his conversion at age thirteen. It was just a little too familiar, the football coach, parents with alcohol abuse, etc. But for this audience a great inspiration. And I did get a good jolt from it to start back to my Bible readings which, I have, frankly, been slipping on. His message was on Romans 12, 1-2. So, thank you Chris!