Today we traveled to the small mountain village of Simpetru. Of course, we made our stop at the grocery store first and purchased food items for five families.
Simpetru was absolutely beautiful, tiny cottages with huge gardens, horses and donkeys pulling carts, chickens on the side of the road, women walking while holding hands with their children. Provencial is the first word that comes to my mind. Simple is the next.
We began our morning at the church that Cha Cha pastors. We welcomed 14 children for kids club, and we all fell in love with these kids instantly. They were so incredibly well-behaved, yet so fun! They listened intently to the story of Jesus walking on the water, and they were able to answer every question Jeff asked. This just amazed me, given that Jeff was speaking through an interpreter. They loved the games, and they had the best work on the crafts that we’ve seen all week. They were also so excited about the gifts from FBC’s GAs! They had fun picking out a friendship bracelet, a cross keychain, a bookmark, and a sign – all made by our GAs. We had the opportunity to pray with five of them at the close of the program – five who wanted to follow Jesus! Our hearts were full of praise for these precious children of God.
Next we went to the home of Florine and Rodika, a couple who are members in the church. Rodika cooked a wonderful lunch for us! Everything we ate came straight from her garden or a pen in her backyard. Our stomachs were full of praise for our God who provides such bounty from the earth.
After a short rest, we loaded up in a horse and cart to deliver the food packages. Talk about a cultural experience! We traveled about just as the people of Simpetru do, and it was amazing what you can see from that vantage point. We delivered to four widows and one single mom with three children. While the homes we visited today were not near as deplorable as the ones we visited the past two days, the need is still beyond what most of us could ever imagine. Cha Cha shared that his church takes an active role in caring for the widows and the poor. We saw the food pantry at Florine and Rodika’s house where they store food to help the villagers. Our hearts were full of praise for a church were God’s command to love others is so evident. (Note: We did not deliver scarfs today because we are saving the remainder for the women’s Bible study at the church in Simpetru on Tuesday night. Hopefully these women will all be there, and they’ll be able to receive a scarf then.)
We returned to Florine and Rodika’s house for dinner before going to church. Florine had barbequed pork chops for us, and we had mashed potatoes right from their garden. The food was delicious, but the ultimate was the cremache we had for dessert. Our hearts and stomachs were once again full of praise for God’s faithful servants, Florine and Rodika.
We ended the night by leading the church meeting at Cha Cha’s church. I wish so much that you could have been there to see these humble people worshipping their Lord! Although they were small in number, they lifted their voices loud in song and prayer. They worshipped boldly, and it was so beautiful to see! We were blessed to hear an amazing woman from the village sing, and let me tell you. She had the strongest voice, and she lifted it straight to the heavens to God. Laura and I shared some of our favorite praise songs with them, and Marvin brought tears to their eyes with his testimony of God’s love and grace in his life. Pastor Jeff again preached a sermon that spoke right to their hearts, and the closing prayer time was just beautiful. Once again these people lifted their voices in prayer to their heavenly Father. Our hearts were so full of praise and thanksgiving for the way God is working in Simpetru!
As I reflect on our day in Simpetru, Psalm 100 is on my lips:
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
What we experienced today in Simpetru reminded me once again of just how good God is. I think we often miss it because our attention is not on God, but on the things of this world. Perhaps if we lived the simple life like the people of Simpetru, our voices would lift boldly in songs of praise and prayer, too.
Thank you, Father, for once again showing me your ways! Lord, you are good and your mercy endures forever.