Day Two here, but Day One of work … and we have been waiting so long for you! We were wide awake and ready for the day to begin. All the preparation. All the prayer. We couldn’t wait to see what God would do.
We arrived first in Simpetru, the small village where Cha Cha pastors a church. This village is home to us. The names and faces are familiar. They are friends. We were greeted with big smiles, warm hugs, and a kiss/kiss on the cheeks. Why we don’t have this tradition in America, I don’t know. It is a good one!
Everywhere we looked our eyes took in signs of life and hard work for the Romanian people. What was some cute pigs and bunnies to us meant food for them. The stalks of corn and rows of vegetables, hand tended in the hot sun, meant their families would eat… now and in the months to come.
Despite the heat and the hard work required, we repeatedly heard the people of Simpetru express their thanksgiving for God’s bountiful blessings. Their eyes did not see the struggle of working the land to scrape out survival for their families. Their eyes saw salvation – LIFE! – through these very tangible blessings of God’s love and faithfulness to them. This message was evident time and time again as we visited seven homes to distribute food.
In the afternoon we traveled to a nearby village called Baica. Baica is the home of Cha Cha’s newest church member, Mariana. She is a single mom with three children. Her husband was killed while working in Italy. Despite her devastating loss, Mariana’s eyes have seen His salvation, and she is boldly sharing her faith with others in her small village. Out of gratitude for what God has done in her life, Mariana is boldly stepping out to serve others. She connected us with four families in great need of food, but more importantly, in need of a Savior.
All of the families we met, but especially this young mother of four, with one more on the way, left us with heavy hearts. It would be impossible to witness these sights and walk away if our eyes had not seen His salvation… if our hearts did not know He is their hope and salvation… if we had not already seen repeatedly the signs of His faithfulness.
After distributing food, we gathered in Mariana’s home where she welcomed three friends and her own grown daughter – all of whom do not know Jesus Christ as Savior. Pastor Jeff shared a beautiful devotional on Psalm 23, and then we had an opportunity to pray individually for each woman. In those moments, we experienced the overwhelming presence of God and the move of His Holy Spirit. Once again, our eyes had seen His salvation, and we left praising God for what only He can do.
Mariana (left) and her daughters, Flavia and Carmen (right)
We wrapped up the night with men’s and women’s Bible study in Simpetru. Pastor Jeff and Marvin met with eight men inRadu’s mother’s home. Radu, a former atheist, accepted Christ three years ago. Cha Cha told us he was one of the most faithful students of God’s Word in their church. Radu wanted to have the men’s meeting at his mother’s house because she does not know Christ. His prayer is that her eyes would see His salvation.
Kele, Laura, Penny, and I joined our most precious friends… the women of Simpetru. It was a beautiful reunion of sisters in Christ. They did not have to tell us their names. We remembered! We have prayed for them so many, many times over the past several years.
Jeff asked us to study Luke 2 in preparation for our time together the following morning. As I re-read my favorite Gospel version of the birth of Christ, I tried to look at it through a new lens.
The shepherds saw a great light in the sky, and they went to see baby Jesus. Their immediate response was to recognize God’s faithfulness and to praise Him for fulfilling the promises they knew from the Old Testament. Simeon did the same, as did the prophet Anna. Simeon’s words echoed through my mind over and over and over again, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised you may now dismiss you servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”
For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
Oh that we might look at all of life, and instead of seeing despair and need and hopelessness, may we look and see His salvation… the hope that is Jesus… the life that is not here in this temporary home, but life everlasting with Him. May we believe and trust in every promise. May we live dependent on the miracles of God. May we be willing to place ourselves in His hands for His purpose.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation, and because they have, I know You, and I will make You known.