My travels back to Romania went without problems, thanks be to God. My fellow Missionaries, Floyd and Ancuta Frantz, were hosting me for several of the days that I was in Cluj. On the schedule for Palm Sunday was a food/clothing drive for the Protection of Theotokos Family Center (PTFC) at Holy Annunciation Romanian Orthodox Church which is located near the Center. We parked the van in the courtyard of the parish. . The priest came out before the service to ask how we were doing and blessed us to have a van full of goodies for our mothers and babies of the Center. At our location in front of the church, people of all ages came to the van to give their donations. We caught peoples’ attention with our presence in the neighborhood. It was humbling and yet wonderful to see the grandmothers and the elderly bring in a bag of flour or cooking oil to us. That was all they could afford to give. Many of the elderly are barely able to survive on the low pensions that they receive, but they came to us to sacrificially give and participate with the Center in this effort. I learned something very special from this event. Once we acknowledged people’s gifts with a ‘thank you’, many of them responded by saying, “May God receive.” In other words, they are saying that they do not deserve the credit; but rather that the credit belongs to God.
This is an example of the community taking responsibility for their own people. The priest of the parish started a relationship with the PTFC. His heart was touched by the services offered to the mothers and their babies. Through his leadership, he was able to gather and encourage his parishioners to participate in taking care of their people.
OCMC’s goal is to help local churches be the Church to its own people. The PTFC has been receiving boxes of generous clothing donations from many parishes in the USA. Through their prayers and holy action, which enable these shipments, seeds of Christ’s love are being planted in the fertile soil of Romania. The director of the PTFC, OCMC Missionary Ancuta Frantz, said that she did not expect such a strong response. There have not been many parishes that have jumped to action like this parish in the history of the PTFC. The outcome was a full van loaded with food and clothing essentials for the PTFC to assist the mothers and their babies that God has brought to them.
Glory to God for all things!