i do believe…

^ Romania Day 5 (Tuesday): These pics above are from the gypsy village of Almasu where we brought food parcels to families. There are not words big enough to express the need these families have, particularly the ones with children. The first picture is just one of many that break your heart the minute you see them. The second picture is of Ilus. Her physical circumstances are not much different at all from the family in the picture above hers, but her life is vastly different because this precious woman has a fire in her soul for Jesus! She “preached” the most encouraging sermon to us and sang a powerful hymn of praise to God because He sees her and she feels in presence even in her tears! She hared how she trusts Jesus to heal her feet, and she holds steadfast in her faith that she will be able to walk to her husband’s upcoming baptism. I am confident she will, as her faith in God is great! She believes. There is no room for unbelief.

^ More pics from Almasu… The top left is Esther (left) and her sister. Esther is a 16-year old gypsy girl in the village, and she translated for us as we visited families. She was here in this village in 2012, and she did kid’s camp with us. I was certain I remembered her, so I asked her if she remembered me… and she did! We had the sweetest reunion as we served alongside one another sharing God’s love and grace with the families. Esther is now helping in church and Sunday school with the children in the village. With God’s tender nurturing and care, tiny seeds planted by the FBC team in 2012, and I am sure many, many others, have brought forth beautiful fruit in the life of Esther. I know God has immeasurably more in store for her as she has given her life to serve Him! She believes. There is no room for unbelief.

^ Romania Day 6 (Wednesday): Today we first traveled to the gypsy village of Romita. I so wish you could see every single child’s face. As we saw bare feet in the cold, cold mud… bare-bottom babies without coats… children grabbing for the food we brought because they were starving… homes without windows and doors and floors… conditions no one should live in but especially not children, I grasped every ounce of faith I could muster with the belief God created them… and He sees them… and He sent us. I knew the food we brought would be but a drop in an ocean of need, except we were also sent to share the Bread of Life… the love and hope of Jesus which will feeds and sustains life eternal. As I saw each face, I prayed believing the seeds we planted today would one day be Esthers in this village. I believe. God, help me in my unbelief.

^ The top picture is a precious gypsy family from Lupoaia who is in the process of building the home behind us. They have opened this home to the church, and it is where we met the nine gypsy girls who gave their hearts to Jesus on Saturday! Florica and her husband, Vaseli, are strong Christians who deeply love God, and they are raising their children to know and serve Him. Despite their extremely difficult circumstances, they generously share what very little they have and they do so with great joy. They believe. There is no room for unbelief.

The bottom picture is a gypsy family from Lupoaia. The young girls in the picture are Adelina and Geanina, two of the nine who gave their hearts to Jesus. Their mom and dad are also strong Christians. Their mom talked with us about how their lives have changed since they began following Christ, and I pray others in the village will see her strong faith and hear her beautiful testimony of God’s goodness, and they, too, will give their lives to Christ. She believes. There is no room for unbelief.

^ From Romita to Lupoaia and then on to Ruginoasa, another gypsy village in the country. We met the family and friends of Claudia and her husband, who opened their home/porch to us for church. Despite the cold, we gathered for ladies Bible study; a lesson with puppets and ferocious lions, as well as football (soccer!) fun for the children; and a sermon for all. Claudia gave her life to Jesus, and we praise God for the beautiful reminder He gave our team that church is the people and not the place! We believe. Help us in our unbelief.

^ Our last stop of the day was in Bozolnic, another gypsy village not far from Ruginoasa. There we met Anamaria and her husband, Alex, along with Anamaria’s mother, aunt and cousin. Again, we had “church,” but not anything like what we experience on Sundays. This church was about honesty and vulnerability, about seeking and searching for God, about singing and praying together… it was communion with God and community with one another even though we had all just met. Jean-Michel and Jason powerfully shared their testimonies with Alex to encourage him to continue to seek Jesus despite the sin struggles he has. Penny and I encouraged young Anamaria who is expecting a baby next month. She has miscarried previously, and this pregnancy is high-risk due to a heart disease she has. She wants so desperately to put her faith and trust in Jesus, but she is struggling to overcome her unbelief He can love and forgive her even with her sin struggles. When I knelt to pray for her, she immediately got down on her knees beside me, her heart tender and humbled. Lord, help her believe and help her overcome her unbelief.

I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t have words. Tonight, I have struggled again to put words on the page. Nothing seems to capture what God has done and is doing in my heart… in the hearts of my teammates… and I pray, what He will do in their hearts of every single person we’ve encountered in the last two days.

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

I do believe;
Help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

2 thoughts on “i do believe…”

  1. Beautifully written! I still struggle to write after 2 weeks of being home. Our whole team is rejoicing in the eternal fruit your team is reaping for the Kingdom. “Some plant. Some water. Some have the increase. ” Hallelujah for the girls in Lupoaia, especially! Praying for your strength and endurance. Blessings!

    1. Thank you, Gary! We were blown away by God’s goodness, and we are so prayerful for the discipleship of these young girls in Lupoaia! Bolding asking God to raise each one of them up to be a mighty and faithful builder in His kingdom!

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