never go hungry…

Kelley and Cheryl teach the gypsy children in Lupoaia about God’s faithfulness through the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den.
Ben, Jean-Michel and Jason encouraged pastors and provided training for them in Simleu.

Top: Kelley, Penny, Cheryl and Trae held a ladies’ meeting in Lupoaia. Bottom: The team plus ChaCha and Dina… fed once again.
Penny and Trae shared God’s love with the older gypsy girls in Lupoaia.

Today was a day of feeding and feasting, and it had far more to do with hearts than stomachs.

For the men on our team, the day was spent feeding others in Simleu. First, they served God’s Word through pastors’ training, encouraging those who lead and serve within the churches that form Maranatha Missions. These pastors have little, if any, formal training. Their resources are extremely limited. They came so hungry to hear and learn, and through the obedience of Ben, Jean-Michel and Jason, they were fed. The men also spent the evening in Simleu “leading”feeding” the youth at a special youth night.

Cheryl and Kelley spent the morning in the village of Lupoaia feeding the gypsy children. From ages 2 to 10, these precious children often come because they are physically hungry, but through puppets and lion crafts, they were fed a meal on the faithfulness of God as seen in the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. A young boy named Mihai asked Cheryl to keep the bottle of glue they were using to make their lions so he could glue his shoes together. Cheryl immediately served God’s love to him by giving the bottle to him, only later to find out he gave the bottle to another child who likely had a bigger need than he did. That’s because those who are filled feed others… even when its glue on the menu.

Penny and I were also in Lupoaia, and we served nine mostly-teenage gypsy girls. Prior to coming, ChaCha had told me these girls were hungry for Jesus, especially one girl, Francesca. Cha Cha had sent me a picture of these girls, and I had been praying for them for weeks. Every day I kept telling God this trip would be worth it if He would just save Francesca. Today, Francesca, Catalina, Denisa, Larissa, Delia, Adelina, Denisa, Lilia, Narcisa, and Geanina – all NINE of them – gave their hearts to Jesus. If you could’ve seen their hungry faces as we talked with them about God’s love for them. I am certain I will never forget. Today they sat at His table and feasted on His goodness and mercy that will follow them all the days of their lives. It broke my heart to leave them, as I would so love to share God’s Word with them daily and watch them grow and mature in their faith. But I am confident that one day I will see them again when we dwell in the House of the Lord together forever. And after praising God all day for His immeasurably more, I have told Him repeatedly and expectantly: Nine is not enough.

In the early evening, Penny, Cheryl, Kelley went to ChaCha’s house in Lupoaia where we hosted a ladies’ meeting. Uncertain of who would come, if any, five of the sweetest women came and joined us, along with ChaCha’s wife and Dina. Kelley began our time together by leading us in hymns on the ukelele. To hear them sing along with us was such a blessing, and I am beyond thankful for Kelley’s gift and generosity in leaving most of the room in her suitcase for her ukulele. Penny vulnerably shared her testimony, and the faces of the women clearly showed they saw God in every word Penny spoke. As if that wasn’t enough, when I began to teach on Psalm 23, two of the women (sisters) said they knew a song on the psalm. I asked them to sing it for us, and we were all fed through their joyous voices.

Our team ended the night gathered around the table, yet already full and overflowing because the entire day we had feasted at God’s table. Jesus made a seat for us, and He invited us to come. He has used us to feed others. And yet, we also have been filled.

“Then Jesus declared, “ I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” ~ John 6:35

{ One last note: Dina took us girls on a quick “field trip” to Zalau so I could see Lily, the precious Romanian woman I stayed with on my first two trips here. I have prayed so many prayers for her, and my heart was overjoyed to see her again. It’s been eight years. Although she has not yet given her heart to Jesus, I remain confident she, too, will one day feast.}