The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Hristos a înviat!

Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

April 24, 2011 Posted by | Christianity, Romania | Leave a comment

Hristos a înviat

Hristos a înviat. Adevărat a înviat.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! This is the resurrection greeting and response in Romanian. To say “Christ is risen” beats “Happy Easter” any day.

Grace and Peace

P.S. On the Orthodox calendar, Easter is next Sunday, and Protestants in Romania conform to the eastern church calendar rather than to the western calendar.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Christianity, Romania | | Leave a comment

Granite tables and countertops

McDonalds restaurants in Romania are superior to McDonalds in the U.S.A. The food is better, the service is better, they ask which Happy Meal toy your child wants, and… the tables are made out of beautiful SOLID GRANITE!

If it weren’t for “Super Size Me,” these tables would be enough to make any geologist eat at McDonalds every day. I didn’t eat there every day, but occasionally I would be there with students, and I would be sure to point out the granite tables. I would point out the potassium feldspar, quartz, amphiboles, and accessory minerals. I would show them the zoning in the feldspar crystals, and tell them that each mineral grain had a story to tell. I’d also point out that the table was probably somewhat radioactive, but at a level low enough that they really didn’t have to worry about it.

Earth Magazine has an article on this same topic: Granite Countertops: NOT Silent Killers.

Granite does contain elevated levels of uranium and thorium, and it releases tiny amounts of radioactive radon gas, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco. But the radiation emitted by granite is generally at a level well within safety limits, and it is good to test your home for radon whether or not you have granite in the kitchen, as naturally-occuring radon seeping up from the ground is a greater risk than granite countertops. I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on a granite slab in an enclosed box every night for twenty years, but you are far more likely to die from the Big Macs and fries that are served on the granite table than from the radiation that table emits.

Grace and Peace

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Environment, Geology, Romania | 4 Comments

Christmas tree recycling, Romanian style


This picture shows recycling on two levels.

First, some enterprising person stole the manhole cover—a common problem here in Romania—and likely took it to a recycling center to sell as scrap iron. That leaves those of us who drive with a problem: a deep hole in the middle of a narrow street.

The second type of putting something to a new use is Christmas tree recycling. Romanians have a way of recycling Christmas trees that I’ve never seen in the United States, but I’ve seen fairly often here. When a manhole cover is missing, the city doesn’t do anything about it sometimes for weeks, but local residents will put a tree or a large branch in the hole to warn motorists. Right now there is an abundance of discarded Christmas trees laying around, so there is no need to break a large branch off of a tree.

Grace and Peace

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Environment, Romania | 2 Comments

Unirii Day 2007

December 1 was the Romanian national holiday, Unirii Day, celebrating the unification of Transylvania with the rest of Romania at the end of World War I in 1918.

The biggest celebration in Romania was at Piata Unirii (Unification Square), a twenty minute walk from our apartment. The highlight was the lighting of the “largest Christmas tree in Europe,” a giant lighted metal Christmas tree outside of one of the large downtown shopping centers. There are lots of videos of the fireworks and lighting of the tree on the internet; the best I found is here. The lighting of the tree occurs at 3:28 in the video, and the grand finale (around 6:00) is also worth watching. With the entire area surrounded by high-rise concrete apartment blocks, the sound of the fireworks was almost deafening.

The best part: the lighting of the tree.

The worst part: the densest crowd we’ve ever been in. Shirley and I felt like we were going to be crushed at times, and it was the first time I’ve ever been in a crowd where if there had been a panic, people would have been trampled. We are thankful that this didn’t happen.

Grace and Peace, and happy Ziua Unirii.

December 3, 2007 Posted by | Romania | Leave a comment

Hot Hot Hot

The high temperature reported from Bucharest yesterday (Tuesday) was 45 Celsius, which is a scorching 113 Fahrenheit. It felt like an oven! It is quite a bit cooler today; about 97 F (36 C).

June 27, 2007 Posted by | Romania | Leave a comment

Hot Summer in Bucharest

It has been a hot summer in Bucharest, and it looks like it’s going to get warmer:

Psychologically, it helps to think of it being in the thirties outside. Ah, snow…

Unfortunately, this is just our Celsius forecast. Thirty-eight Celsius is just as hot as 101 Fahrenheit. It actually doesn’t take all that long to make the mental switch to metric, at least with units we use frequently, like kilometers per hour or buying potatoes by the kilogram.

We live in a large, concrete apartment block, with no air conditioning, but we’ll make it. We are on the first floor (which you would call the second floor in the States), and we have large trees outside our south-facing windows, so it doesn’t get totally unbearable. Still, we will be looking forward to fall weather.

Grace and Peace

Forecasts from

June 19, 2007 Posted by | Romania | Leave a comment

Predator-Prey Relationships

What happens when the street dog population decreases? The cat population increases. Here are a few of up to fourteen cats we have counted behind our apartment in Bucharest. We still have a few street dogs around, but they are old and lazy, and don’t seem to bother the cats too much. We don’t really want the cats to go. Unlike the dogs, they are unlikely to bite us, and I suspect they keep the rat population down.

Grace and Peace

February 16, 2007 Posted by | Biology, Romania | Leave a comment

Romania in the EU

As of January 1, 2007, Romania is a member of the European Union. Living in Romania is different than any living anywhere else in the EU. Romanian culture is Latin, so being here is somewhat like living in Italy. For a little fun, watch Europe and Italy, and then remember that Italy is a rather calm place compared to Romania, at least when it comes to automobiles.

Grace and Peace

January 4, 2007 Posted by | Fun, Romania | Leave a comment

Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Gifts

At the end of our Christmas program (see the previous post), gifts were distributed to the children in attendance. These gifts came from Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization. The gifts were wrapped in shoeboxes, and were marked for boys or girls, and with an age. I saw many children who were really excited about the gifts they received. To those of you who participate in such programs, thank you.

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2006 Posted by | Missions, Romania | 1 Comment

O ce veste minunata

Tonight (Sunday night) our church in Bucharest, Biserica Evanghelică Liberă Trinitatea (Trinity Evangelical Free Church), had its Christmas program. It was much like many Christmas Eve services I’ve been at in the U.S., with traditional Christmas carols and a short message. The candlelight carol was an old, traditional Romanian song, “O ce veste minunată” (“O what wonderful news”), and has an absolutely beautiful tune.

Here’s the lyrics, with my rather unpoetic translation:

1. O, ce veste minunată,
Din Betleem ni s-arată.
Că a nascut prunc
Prunc din Duhul Sfânt
Fecioara curată.
2. Mergând Iosif cu Maria
La Betleem să se-nscrie.
Într-un mic sălaș
Lâng-acel oraș
S-a născut Mesia.
3. Ce Domnul cel din vecie,
Ni l-a trimis ca să vie,
Să se nască
Și să crească,
Să ne mântuiască.
1. Oh, what wonderful news
Is shown to us from Bethlehem.
That a baby is born
A baby from the Holy Spirit
From the pure virgin.
2. As Joseph and Mary were going to Bethlehem,
in order to be registered.
In a small shepherds’ hut,
Close to that town,
The Messiah was born.
3. Whom the Lord, who is from old,
Sent to us, so that He would come,
To be born,
And to grow,
To save us.

Please let me know if the accented characters don’t display on your computer.

I’ve never heard this song in English. For those of you who are iTunes people, the song is available there for $0.99. Just search for “O ce veste minunata.”

Historical note: It was illegal to sing this song in public under communist rule in Romania, 1948-1989.

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2006 Posted by | Christianity, Missions, Romania | Leave a comment

Back in Bucharest

After seven months on home assignment (or furlough) in the United States, we are back in Bucharest, Romania, where we serve with the Evangelical Free Church of America International Mission at Bucharest Christian Academy. We had a number of answered prayers as we traveled, and are excited to be back “home.”

I am also very thankful to be on cable internet, as for the most part we had had only dial-up service for the past two months.

Thank you to all who prayed, gave, and loved us back to Romania.

Grace and Peace

August 14, 2006 Posted by | Christianity, Romania | Leave a comment

All we are is dust in the wind

According to the English-language newspaper Nine O’Clock, our adopted home city of Bucharest, Romania is one of the dustiest cities in Europe. This not only makes our apartment dusty, it is a health hazard as well. Soils in and around the city have high levels of heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Restoration of green spaces (trees and grass) in and around the city would help considerably.

While I’m on the topic of pollution: according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Bucharest has no wastewater treatment facility (actually, it is a little unclear on the various EBRD pages whether there is no treatment at all or just seriously deficient treatment at present). This means that raw domestic and industrial sewage is dumped into the local rivers, which empty into the Danube River (not the blue Danube by this point) and eventually into the Black Sea.

Back in the US: be thankful for the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act!

Grace and Peace

May 2, 2006 Posted by | Environment, Romania | Leave a comment