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

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

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

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

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