11 January 2009

Ethnic Church Day

Before I can tell you about Romanian church, I have to tell you about Hawaii.

When we learned to boogie-board in Hawaii, the biggest problem was the waves: getting out far enough to be able to ride a wave in, without being totally exhausted by the time you did. At first, I just let the waves hit me--and subsequently carry me back to shore a little each time. But once I start to dive under the waves, I found that it could actually be enjoyable, the bobbing motion, the feeling of being part of the ocean instead of fighting against it.

Being at Romanian church is a lot like learning the waves in Hawaii. It was overwhelming: 100 people praying aloud in Romanian for 20 minutes at a time; listening to long sermons in Romanian while sitting too far away to hear our translator; realizing that it was segregated by gender...and I'm on the men's side (again); realizing that I'm the only adult woman in the room without a head covering; trying to read the lyrics, wishing that some of the melodies were familiar; finding out that it started at 9:00 and wasn't over until 12:00--oh, and did I mention that we were the only ones there at 8:55? But once I started to roll with it, to just let it all flow over me instead of turning away from it, I actually enjoyed it. The songs were beautiful; even the language was interesting to listen to (we were trying to find cognates). And instead of trying to follow along or even look interested, I played with three-month-old Justice instead, whose daddy, Rodney, also had a translator. And no one cared: they knew I wasn't picking up much of what they were laying down and didn't blame me for it. I was the only one who felt insecure.

Afterward, we got to chat with some of the speakers. I say "speakers" because there were about 4 sermons in all, stretched out between worship and lots of prayer. Their devotion to prayer was something that challenged me--they never presented Scripture without extended prayer before and after. I often approach the word more hastily, expecting to get what I need in ten minutes or so. They were all very interested in understanding our work overseas and we collected several e-mails to keep in touch.

Please praise God with us for the fervent believers in the Romanian church.

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