Te[am] Iubesc: Sometimes by Step
Thursday, May 26th, 2011 : Tinca, Romania. 11:45pm
A strong Roma man picks kicks through the endless trash heap that fills the near useless space between collections of mud-brick huts. his smile flashes beneath a sweep of black hair flecked with grey as he comes up from the garbage with a small treasure. he swings the jaw bone of a horse in great arcs before the dome of his belly and laughs, crying, ‘sampson! sampson!’ they all have a good laugh and, the joke over, he tosses the bone farther into the field of garbage.
Justin and Robbie have had the opportunity in the last several days to be in the gypsy village working alongside an incredibly good man, father of two kids who frequent the Isaiah Center. they have helped gather the remnants of broken buildings (one being the Isaiah Center pig sty torn down earlier in the week) and are piecing the bricks together around pits to make new outhouses for the area. spending most of their time under a relentless sun in the heart of the village sloping mud and stone together has given them a cultural experience beyond what they had ever really imagined when signing up for this trip. they have learned some Romanian and taught some English (again the man points and says haltingly, ‘give me…..brick’). They have seen beautiful things and terrible things both. they have seen a man love his children dearly and some ridiculous moments in awful parenting. they have seen a community come together to take part in a project and have looked on helplessly as fights broke out across the garbage land. they have become some kind of presence there in the village, and that is something wonderful. but Robbie wonders much as he scans again the mass of trash heaped and scattered across the grassy gulch. there is endless pain crouched in every corner and screaming from the rooftops. and why? and what comes to help, to fix? but there is hope right? in all forget me not ministries is and hopes to accomplish and dreams, there is hope. in all the movements of the Holy Spirit. and this field of filth that someday will become a place for outreach programs and a playground and so much more. and in the brick in his hand, torn out of an ancient crumbling wall by the swing of his own arm and now being put to a new use, to help meet a need. in the strangest and worst places some form of redemption is still possible.
but this is sometimes hard to see when only here for two weeks, or beating a hasty retreat after a botched distribution of candy, or in a sea of a thousand needy eyes begging for attention and affection and love and there are only sixteen of us here now and only for a little while and with all sorts of our own projects to do and you all not actually being our first priority, you who are living people with minds and hearts and souls behind those tired eyes.
more mud, more bricks cracked and broken, more work. and the redemption of a million billion things and faces and people waiting, just waiting, and he looks up into a brilliant night sky and tries to make sense of much, far too much, and sometimes he thinks of Abraham, how one star he saw had been lit for him. Abraham was a stranger in this land, and he is that, no less than he, and there was so much work left to do, but so much He has already done. and so much left to do. and sometimes the night was beautiful…..