Sleepless in Padureni

As Rafael, the leader of OM Romania, lies awake in the middle of the night, he shares about the OM outreach to the Roma people he and his family are taking part in. They’ve set up a mobile clinic in Padureni, and through games, sports and Bible stories, the community is learning about God’s love.

It’s the middle of the night. It’s so hot in the tent I share with my wife, Alice, and two children, Filip and Ruben. I feel drops of sweat dripping off my body. Dogs bark nearby, and roosters crow as they wait for the sun to rise. Across the street, neighbours play gypsy melodies on an accordion. Suddenly, someone screams, “Come here, or I’ll kill you!” A cry for help is followed by silence.

Thanks to the light that shines through our tent, I can see Alice breathing. I’m glad she is on this outreach with me, even though three days ago I was very close to returning home. She was sick in bed with no medical help. I’m glad that not only is she sleeping well, but that she is also boldly making appointments for 200 patients who will visit our mobile dental clinic this week.

I put in my earplugs, hoping to get a couple of hours of sleep. After a while I hear team members whisper to each other in a neighbouring tent, probably sharing about their difficulties with the unruly kids causing trouble at KidsGames.

Generator keeps mobile dental clinic open

I still can’t sleep. My mind wanders, remembering how we lost electricity yesterday. Praise God for OM Europe’s Bus4Life generator that will hopefully produce enough electricity for the clinic this week. A doctor from Romania and another from Finland have come to help us, along with medical students from Romanian and the UK and a Romanian dental assistant. They work eight hours a day for the Roma people here in Padureni. We are lucky that the Bus4Life driver is skilled and able to fix the bus and its generator whenever problems arise. I’m also glad for the 20 children who have come to the Bus4Life every night to watch Bible stories and hear the gospel.

Games, sports and Bible lessons

I need to sleep. Tomorrow, 75 children and adolescents will come to the stadium for games, sports and Bible lessons. I am thankful that only one of the 50 volunteers has experienced stomach problems so far, and even more so, I am grateful to see the Word preached to the Roma community.

At 21:00 last night, we projected the Jesus Film on a wall in a neighbouring village. We also showed the Magdalena movie in Padureni. About 30 people of all ages came. I was extremely moved when I saw all the children, as well as a couple of teenagers and several adults, lift their hands at the end of the movie, admitting they were sinners and wanting to become followers of Jesus. When I saw my son, Filip, lift his hand to receive Jesus into his heart, I was overwhelmed. It is impossible for me to explain.

Grateful heart

Filip is now asleep in the tent and is covered with red spots. They might be mosquito bites or perhaps spider bites, or they could be simply because of the heat of the day. Tomorrow Filip will receive a gold medal at KidsGames. He was very proud to be the team leader and he fit in very well with the Roma children. He might make a good missionary one day.

I look at the clock—it is 2:00 in the morning.

Ruben rolls in his sleep and falls down from the mattress. I pull him close to me and close my eyes. I must sleep because I need to wake up within the next four hours. Tomorrow morning I am on duty in the kitchen, and I hope there will be enough water left at the improvised shower in the garden.

Thank you, Jesus; it was a great day. Please help us tomorrow…I mean today.

Region: Europe
Country: Romania