Did you know Tuesday was Mother’s Day in Romania? I believe it’s actually a Women’s Month, which honors mothers, aunts, grandmothers and sisters. We left our tea in a hurry to Bucharest Christian Academy, an international school for missionary (third generation), foreign dignitary and embassy kids, to help make crafts for Mother’s Day with the students there.
It was both strange and refreshing to hear English when we arrived and during our visit. We came prepared with our craft for the third graders there.
We all had a blast working with them, and we far outnumbered them, so each of them was able to get some individual and quality attention. After about an hour and a half, we had finished all our crafts and had some fun playing around and getting to know the students. We promised to return on Friday for a special chapel with them, and headed out for a walking tour of Bucharest.
We headed into the center of town, and gathered at Piața Revolutiei (Revolution Plaza), where the Romanian revolution took place in 1989. For years, Ceauşescu and his communist regime made empty promises, until they had had too much. Any time he would make a public address from the balcony of the palace, the government would fill the plaza with workers, schoolchildren, anyone, just to give the appearance of popularity and support. They would all stand listening, not daring to make a negative comment or sound.
(As a note, please let me know what I’ve missed or remembered incorrectly. It’s been a long few days, and I haven’t had the time to fact check.)
After hearing news of an uprising in another town, Ceauşescu decided to give one of his speeches. He went to the balcony and began to speak, assuring the people that everything would be fine, making more empty promises. One voice booed, and there was a stunned silence. The crowd started to respond, and like a wave, the plaza began to unleash years of frustration and revolted. Ceauşescu decided to make his exit, and fled to a helicopter on the roof while he ordered his officers to begin firing upon the crowd.
What he didn’t know was that the pilot was sympathetic to the revolution, and took him and his wife not to a safe house, but to a local village where he was picked up by police. The officers were also sympathetic, and they returned him to the very plaza where he ordered the murder of his own people.
A quick judge and jury were assembled, and he was found guilty. In Christmas Day, 1989, Ceauşescu was killed, and the communist days were over. Many of the bullet holes can still be seen in the walls of the buildings around the plaza. There are memorials in the center, and the main street running through it since been named Victory Street.
It is a tragic and very recent history for a country used to being invaded or overrun by Turks, Nazis and communists. Freedom and independence are very real now, but as we learned at the children’s homes, there is still much that has not yet changed. The communist concrete apartment buildings which now stand where historical and ancient structures once stood are always a reminder of a darker day.
But God has a vision of a brighter future for this country. Pray that His work continues here, and that there are workers to go into the field. Workers like foreign missionaries, but also like local pastors and leaders who have a deep love for Christ and an active commitment to His mission. We praise God for the people we have encountered and the amazing workers we have partnered with on this trip so far. Rick and Jan Cunningham, Tamara Henkes, Sarah Taylor, Grați Serban, Marius Gabar and many more.
It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through our trip, and it’s also hard to believe that just last week, we were sitting at our desk or in class rather than halfway around the world, traveling from place to place for tea, puppets and crafts.
Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers, and for the comments and encouragement you leave on our posts. I read them all to the team each morning (that we have Internet available), and it is always encouraging and affirming to know that we have a foundation of prayer at home.