We ate Mamelica and talked about Jesus.
Daniel, one of our former students at the Carensebes Bible Institute, now a graduate ministering in the villages, had met Petros (Peter) in the village of Glim Boca through a family contact. Daniel introduced us to Peter and Peter invited us, Danny and his wife, to his home to meet his family.
We accepted his invitation and shortly after that traveled over three hours to a small Romanian village in the mountains where he lived. We had a wonderful time, enjoying the Romanian foods that his wife prepared, which included Mamelica, a spice less, tasteless “mush” and a dish of a very savory sauce. We learned that day, to the great delight of Peter that you do not eat the two items separately, but you mix them thoroughly. His pleasure was undeniable as he watched us consume the Mamelica with a smile on our faces, knowing exactly what we were thinking. He very graciously waited until we cleaned the plate. Then he explained that you always eat the Mamelica with the sauce because the Mamelica, his words, “is so tasteless it is like eating a piece of wet cardboard”,
I would have smiled at his humor, but at that moment, I could not part my lips because of the sticky nature of the Mamelica. However, a glass or two of water later, I was able to lose my lips sufficiently enough to carry on a conversation.
As we talked, Peter was excited about the possibility of our returning to show the “Jesus Film”. He told us that when we came back, he would invite all his friends and the community into his home. He explained how he would re-do his front room and kitchen so that we could show the film to over 60 people at one showing and then to 60 more the next night. We became as excited as Peter at the prospect of the opportunity to share Christ with that community.
We stopped to talk with them and one of the girls shared with us how the Romanian priest had taken her Bible from her that week and made her watch as he burned it in the school’s classroom stove.
Sunday morning, one month later, Daniel and his wife along with Lorretta and myself, were returning to Peter’s village. Our purpose was to set up the arrangement to show the first installment of the Jesus film to Peter and his family. We left at 7:00 A. M. for our journey, hoping to arrive about ten o’clock. We were travelling in a four-wheel drive vehicle, the blue ARO, which was the workhorse of the Romanian Outreach Ministry. We needed this vehicle to cover the terrain over which we would be travelling. It would take us a minimum of three hours to travel the 65 Kilometers. We would be on trails that also served as creeks in the rainy season. The ARO was great on the trails but without a rudder or propeller, it was not as reliable in the creek part of the travels. However, that four-wheel drive dug into the terrain beautifully as we traveled into the hills.
Danny was able to maneuver the ARO through the waterless trails and we were able to navigate that morning, though not easily, through the mountain climb avoiding the washed-out trails, arriving shortly after ten thirty. We had a brief delay on our journey because we met two teen-age girls, ministry friends of Danny and his wife, walking on the trail.
We stopped to talk with them and one of the girls shared with us how the Romanian priest had taken her Bible from her that week and made her watch as he burned it in the school’s classroom stove. He had seen it on top of the books she was carrying. We were able to give her a new Romanian Bible and her eyes sparkled as she held it in her hands. It did not matter how long the trip would be that day, because our blessing was beyond words at that brief, encouraging encounter on the trail.
The Priest who burned Bibles
When we arrived at the shepherd’s home, we walked across some planks of wood; a makeshift bridge, leading to the entrance of Peter’s home. It also served as the entrance to the sheepfold, the pigpen and the dairy portion of the farm. The straw spread on the planks helped to keep one’s feet from slipping off the “bridge” into the small stream running down the trail upon which we had traveled to get to the farm.
As one is crossing that plank-bridge, one’s concentration must not be diverted by the movement of the various animals with whom one is sharing the plank. The other diversion is when your wife suddenly realizes that her “Sunday go-to-meeting shoes” are no match for the slippery planks upon which she is endeavoring to remain. The only “hand-rail” handy to her was the arm of her husband, yours truly, who was also concentrating on remaining upright on the plank/bridge.
Any items that had found their way to the planks were now clinging to our shoes, so as we entered the home, a custom in all Romanian homes, we removed our shoes and deposited them on the porch with the other shoes from the family. Peter’s wife gave us very comfortable slippers from the collection available in every Romanian home. We would tend to the shoes later.
That was sufficient information for him to “head to the hills” with his sheep
Upon entering the parlor, Peter’s wife informed us that he had taken his flock of sheep across the hills, looking for pasture for their nourishment.
We also learned that we were no longer welcomed in the home. The same priest who had burned the teenagers Bible in the school heater that week, had come into the shepherd’s home and warned him not to allow us to show the Jesus Film in his home. If he did so; His position as a shepherd, eliminated, His children, not educated, His family, cut-off from the community, His purchase of food at the piata (market), no longer possible and His home? On fire some evening.
That way he would avoid confrontation with the priest for allowing us (the repenters) to “holding church” in his home, and he would not have to explain that situation to us. We took off our slippers, said our good-byes to Peter’s wife and children, put on our shoes, walked across the planks, got into the ARO and drove for almost four hours back to our home in Otelu Rosu.
Was the nine-hour trip worth it?
- We gave a Bible to a brave teen-age girl who faced persecution from the religious authorities who have control over her future education.
- Danny and his wife will continue their contact with the shepherd and his family through their family’s ministry.
- The Gospel message, through the tracts and printed word previously given to Peter, and left in his home that day will continue to infiltrate and win that small village in Romania.
- We had almost eight (8) hours of sweet fellowship with Danny and his wife in the confines of that small, uncomfortable four-wheel ARO on creek beds serving as roads.
- We also determined to look in the different out-door markets to find some “village shoes”.
Our Lord’s Word will not return without His results.
He promised that!
YES! It was worth it!
It is always worth it!
The goal is evangelism and growth
The fruit is eternal
The experience is “PRICE-LESS”