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One day in a Romanian village

  Karen and I are flying to the Ukraine today for our final World Race debrief of the year with our squad of 32 (the first time an entire group has stuck together for the duration). After landing in Kiev, we fly to Yalta for a few days. So much has happened in the year.  So many …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Karen and I are flying to the Ukraine today for our final World Race debrief of the year with our squad of 32 (the first time an entire group has stuck together for the duration). After landing in Kiev, we fly to Yalta for a few days. So much has happened in the year.  So many stories to tell!
Marisa Banas is a Racer with a nose for a story. We all love stories and she finds them wherever she goes. Here's a good one.

Waking up all I saw was pitch darkness. I heard some voices coming from the floor below me. Who the heck is that, I remarked to myself as I rolled over. The cushion beneath me was quite a surprise, a stark difference from what I had been used to. The voices continued blabbering sounds that I couldn't comprehend. Was I in Ukraine, a train, Guatemala? Suddenly I realized the darkness was due to my red eye covering that was banded around my head. Lifting the shade from my eyes, a bright laser beam coming from a box in the middle of the wall zapped me. All at once it hit me; I was in Romania.                 

"Don't look at the dead chicken….don't look at the dead chicken," I chanted to myself as I lugged a wheelbarrow full of sewage and a disintegrating chicken up a hill. Earlier that morning we had a meeting with our new contact, John. He asked us what kind of projects we were interested in, and I felt led to led to do two things:  Lead a Bible study twice a week, and find service projects to do every day. John seemed excited because he feels that the best way to reach his community of gypsies is to serve them. Within the hour my squad-mate Ben came flying through the door, "Marisa, I found a 500 year old woman cleaning her gutters." I was on it.

Grabbing the closest person to me, Katie and I went on a search for our 500 year old Grandma. We found her in a ditch digging out a backed up sewage line. She was wearing all black, which only means one thing…someone recently passed away and she was in mourning.

She obviously didn't speak our language so we simply grabbed her shovel from her deformed hands and started scooping the juicy turd pies into the bin. As we dug, Grandma insisted on helping us. Ben's estimate was close but I am going to say that Maria was closer to 80 than 500. Her face held so much beauty in every crease of her hard-worked skin and her white stray hair that fell out of her black head wrap.

We worked for a good hour when a familiar face came riding up on his bike. His name was Bogden, a 21-year old goofy guy that came to our campfire the previous night. Imagine a farm-hand kind of guy, class clown, southern football player who ONLY thinks about girls and drinking beer. He watched us for a good five to ten minutes before he came up with the idea of helping us.

Now, Bogden only speaks Romanian, and despite the fact that he knows we don't, he talked constantly, only stopping a time or two to pull out a fake rose that was in his pocket as he made over-exaggerated smooching noises. He gave the rose to me so that I could smell it and then quickly took it back. A little while later he was getting kind of dirty so he gave it to Katie to hold onto for a little bit.  Soon it was Katie's turn to take the next load up the hill. About the same time as she got to the top, a pretty gypsy girl walked past us.
The scattered Bogden said something to her as he reached in his pocket. He looked down in disbelief-where was his smelly rose? The moment was priceless as I yelled to Katie to hurry up and give his rose back to him. Unfortunately, the gypsy girl didn't feel like waiting. She turned around, whipping her hair in the wind, walked a bit and then turned around one last time to give him goose bumps all over. His stout frame slumped over after she turned back around. He had been planning giving her that rose all day, and now he was stuck in a ditch with two Americans and old woman who's false teeth moved when she talked to us. I did my best to console him as Grandma rolled her eyes and laughed.
I am still laughing. I love this life, and the opportunity to serve these people. There is much work to do here and we are THRILLED! 

Comments (11)

  • that lady does not look gypsy, they have a darker complexion.
    i guess u have to NOT live next to them everyday to get to like them. rasism sux, i know, but MOST of them are a pain(at best).
    just 1 small casual example: i live in a 10-story building, some sunday morning i get woken up by the yelling of a woman riding a cart begging for iron. she does not look like the lady in your story, and love is not what comes to mind as i wake up. see what i mean?

  • LOVE IT! A mom in our homeschool group is enroute tomorrow to adopt her son from the Ukraine…and he’s a gypsy! So I was thrilled to see this post today. All these people I know suddenly ending up in Ukraine at the same time. WILD!

    If you see Clinton White, tell him “hey” from Mississippi! He dated a friend of mine back in our college days.

  • Feeling nostalgic. This blog makes me want to be back in Romania. Love the Romanians. Love the gypsies. So glad for the workers there. They so much need to see the real Jesus in His people.

  • I really do love the Gypsies! She is a very beautiful lady. Thanks for a good story! Give Allison a BIG hug from her mom when you see her in Kiev!!

  • I tell you one thing: the lady in picture is not a gypsy! Gypsy don`t look and don`t dress like that. She is a tipical romanian grandma from village. Gypsyes are dark people, and dress diferent, they also speak theyr own language, don`t confuse them with the romanian majority. And one more thing: stay away from gypsy! They will still from you and they also can beat you especialy if they see that you are not local. They are a very bad and uneducated people, they cannot be integrated in society. Romanians and gypsyes are very diferent things.

  • You’re right, Andrew, Gypsies are people. Jesus taught us to love people who are different. The Romanian who posted the comment before yours is probably right that the grandmother is not a gypsy, but she lived in a village filled with them. And somehow the non-gypsies found a way to live with the gypsies.

    I love how Jesus reached out to Samaritans, tax-collectors and prostitutes. The gypsies of his day. If we follow him, we can’t have it both ways, we must love those who look and smell different than we do, whether they be gypsies or from some other culture different than our own.

    I am headed to Romania in two days. I hope I have the chance to meet and talk with people who are different than me.

  • Ok…first of all some of these comments are very NOT TRUE coming from some now who is a romanian GYPSY….and no that women in the picture is a gypsy, for most I am of olive skin tone and not white romanian gypsies are of olive skin tone…and further most not EVERY SINGLE GYPSY steals…I do believe I am a romanian GYPSY and I don’t steal its morally wrong…so before certain people open there mouths I’m pretty sure you should read up on your Romanian culture.

  • Gypsies seem to get a raw deal in just about every country .I’m not sure if they deserve it .I would imagine that they share with the rest of conventional society the same proportional …bad eggs …However due to a seemingly ongoing traditional persecution, some allowances can be made .Human beings feel threatened by those who fail to conform to their concepts of whatever type of ideology ..or non ideology …I could drone on ..but we live in a drone world that wants to produce more and more drones …and after all people believe..what it suits them to believe ….that means whatever their parent drone told them to believe

  • gypsies are people ..I am sure the share the same d.n.a as most romanians …I am english …i probably share my dna with norwegians irish ..and others ..i recently met a romanian woman on line ..she went on to tell me how terrible the gypsies and hungarians where????robbers and thieves she claimed …yet this woman stole from me and lied …and still was not satisfied …she tried again …Now I could go on believing all romanians where terrible …but i dont …to begin with weather you are religious or not ..there must only have been two …so we are all descendents of those two …so just let it be …and never forget what happened to 6 millon innocent jewish people …because some ignorant natzi pratts thought they where superior to everyone else…roll on the revoloution …

  • The samaratan was a parable …a story …you can make stories to suit each and any occasion…A long time ago a man long dead from motor cycle injuries said this to me ..If he was to receive a kindlness or favour he would much more prefer it from a non beleiver even a reputed bad person …that way he would be able to accept it for what it was …the giver would not be on a spiritual bonus trip …nor would he be seeking influence …for good or bad …while i dont wholy subscribe to this view …it does have merit…as for possessions and owner ship …who owns what? if there is a an all poweful spirit ..a creator of all …then surely it must own everything …that it created …so how can we give away that which belongs to it ? When christ was alleged to have said …render on to ceaser…what is ceasars …and to God what is Gods …he might just as well have left out the former …because like everyone else …ceasar owned nothing …the world is as it is today because to manny people are trying to get something they can never own …and others are trying to prevent them because they feel they already own it …how sad

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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