Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reaching the Marginalized in Romania

"Jesus was all about the lost, the last and the least. This is good news for the poor, the blind and the needy... There is much in Scripture about God's concern for the marginalized, the orphan, the widow, the elderly, the broken. We cannot confess the centrality of the Word without embracing its major themes." ~Gary Walter

This past weekend had some interesting moments. The third was on Sunday morning. Our pastor was in Colorado with his family and instead of a stand in, we watched an excerpt from a longer message by the president of the Covenant Church International. The quote above is a passage from his message.
The second was the night before. We had visited the home of Silviu and Tirzah Pop, founders of an outreach to forgotten and marginalized children in the village of Poiana in Northeast Romania. Silviu is from this region and is painfully aware of the great need there.

The major issue is widespread AIDS. In the 1980's it was believed that blood transfusions to children would improve their health for minor and major surgeries. Untested, contaminated blood and the lack of hygienic practices helped transmit HIV to inordinate numbers of children there. Some were already orphans while others were abandoned in garbage containers, parks or apartment buildings.

Silviu and Tirzah have land and a small run-down building. Their desire is to create an orphanage where these and other outcast youth can be cared for and loved.

On Saturday evening we looked at photos from Silviu's recent visit there. We saw the need and we saw their dream. The special power of their outreach is that it originated in the hearts of two very ordinary people. There is no bureaucracy. Just a pair of young people responding to needs and striving to do something good.

The first "interesting moment" of the weekend, and the trigger event for this sequence of thoughts, was seeing again the film About Schmidt, which I wrote about here.

How is one transformed from self-preoccupation to selflessness? In a culture which preaches "me" and publishes bestsellers like Looking Out for Number One, where do the Mother Teresas come from? Silviu and Tirzah give evidence that it can really come from anywhere.

For more information, visit their website at http://www.romanianhopesprings.org/

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