Here’s the bldg. Salem Church has built. It has dorms we’re staying in.
Hello from Romania. We arrived safely after about 27 hours of traveling. We slept the first night about 10 to 11 hours. It wasn’t enough. The young missionaries have been doing a little training here in country and tonight (Sun.) will run their first Vacation Bible School (VBS) event in two park locations in the city. We have two teams to do VBS, and starting tomorrow morning each team will run VBS twice daily in two different locations. One will be done in the morning, and one in the evening because parents generally will not let their kids out during the afternoon because of heat advisories. This evening we’ll see if all their training pays off.
As for myself, I have been busy running errands, doing administrative activities and trying to be helpful wherever I can. I am in the fortunate position of being part of what’s going on, but not being directly responsible for any young people. Today I got to do one of my favorite things while in a foreign land, and that is going to the store.
The market, which is family-run stands, is closed today because it’s Sunday, but the large department store is open. It’s always fun to see how these things run a little bit differently in different places. Here you have to rent your shopping cart for 50 lei (maybe 29 cents). You put the coin into a device with a coin slot which is attached to the cart itself and then it’s released from its chain. The store is huge, maybe the size of a Super Target and it sells everything from a drill press to women’s underwear to food. I had gone in first, without a cart, to scope out where everything was, or so I thought. When I was ready I went to the Information desk (like customer service) and got some change because I didn’t have any Romanian coins. I got my cart, looking just like I belonged there, I’m certain. After all, someone mistook me for a Romanian yesterday. I went and gathered up my items, including six big loaves of bread, for our daily PBJs. I got some red paper for one of the VBS projects.
Then I went looking for some personal items. Sunblock: Patience had hers confiscated because she put it into her carry-on luggage, mints, Kleenex. Why can’t I find Kleenex? I decided to ask a woman I saw wearing a store smock. I asked her first if she spoke any English. No such luck. So I acted out blowing my nose and she caught on right away and took me to the correct aisle. An aisle which I had already been down, of course, but the Kleenex weren’t packaged the same as at home and 90% of them aren’t the Kleenex brand.
Its great fun looking at all of the different products and packaging and I could spend a lot of time in here. I also came across an espresso stand so a bought a cup of espresso for less than 50 cents. It was interesting. It came from some kind of automated machine, not an espresso machine. It tasted ok for someone who hadn’t had any coffee in two days.
When I got to the check out I unloaded my items onto the belt, but the woman didn’t start ringing them up. She looked at me and said ‘you must have card’. I motioned to my stuff as if I wanted to leave it there and she indicated that was fine. Back at the information desk I gave them my passport. They made a copy of it and input some info from it into a computer. What in the world is this all about? They gave me a sheet of paper with my name (spelled wrong) and some other information and I gave that to the checkout lady and she rang my stuff up. Then I was stopped by security on the way out so they could match my purchases to my receipts. I know I look pretty suspicious. But at least I got my 50 lei back when I returned my cart.
It’s interesting how they track foreigners. They got my passport info when I exchanged currency earlier, and now they know what I did with some of that money. This is supposedly a ‘free’ country. Well, at least it’s no longer communist.