A Lesson Learned
"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:36
I know when I’m ill or suffering from a migraine, the Lord is usually bringing me to a quiet place of “surrender” because He has something to say. Well tonight’s family time brought it all together for me.
I'm so thankful because today, after a grueling episode of food poisoning complicated by a massive migraine, I was able to get out of bed. I’m slow, and not 100%; But I could still get up and get a shower and do some things for myself. I am so thankful to be in a much different place tonight. Thank You for praying. James 5:16 tells us the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous person avails much, and they do.
I came home to Romania from my trip to California about a month ago. My first day back I found out that some of our gypsy neighbors had begun to encourage one of their younger children to break into houses and abandoned properties to steal things and sell them. JeJe caught them at a home down the street from us during the week prior to my return. They are well aware that the law here states that a minor cannot be incarcerated, and there are no longer youth correctional facilities. However, the parents can be held responsible for the children’s actions and, if found a party thereto, be incarcerated for child endangerment and the children sent to a group home.
For over twenty years this particular group has been a sore spot to this community. We have known the mother, who is in her late thirties, since she was a young pregnant teen. At that time the man who was mayor gave her a shack of a home. In the years to follow, she repeatedly became pregnant, put some of her children in the baby orphanage--took them out--put them in--and it just continued.
Her children are now mostly grown. She, her daughter, her daughter's husband and their baby--along with several more adults and children--all live in that shack. There is no water, no plumbing and it’s a den of filth. Their dirt and trash are often spread all over the common street.
Thankfully, due to a discussion Jeje had with them a couple of months ago, they have begun cleaning the front area. She doesn’t want to work. She's maintained the attitude that we should all give her money--her son had to break into houses because they didn’t have food. The Mayor has provided her with lumber and tiles for her roof to make home repairs and she sells them.
I wasn’t happy to come home and hear that she was defending her son's behavior, and to also find out that we might need to brace ourselves for a break in.
JeJe assured me not to worry. He had an appointment with the Vice Mayor the next day to talk with him about the situation, and would be talking to all the surrounding neighbors (HOA meeting). The Vice Mayor said a written statement of the situation and hand signatures from affected neighbors would be needed.
JeJe went door to door, to each and every home (as he did for the trash dump, and the gas project) and came home stunned at how many people said “get rid of them.” Several actually suggested they should be sent to Auschwitz, which horrified him. This is clearly not the heart of God. We have been praying for wisdom from the Lord, and for JeJe to have wisdom in leading this situation.
He has personally talked with them about no longer having the attitude of “give me,” but to stop and think “what can we do to better our situation?”. He also offered them ideas to earn money, such as washing windows outside of people’s homes, yard work, etc. The twenty year old daughter got it and told her mother, “He’s trying to help us." Jeje explained to them that they need to take responsibility for their own improvement then the community would view them with a much better attitude. It’s not about the color of their skin, or the fact that they are gypsies. We have several wonderful gypsy families in our community who work hard, clean up and are well respected.
Elli shared this with us during family time: "it’s true that problems are solved when the Gospel transforms a person's way of thinking. There is much less cannibalism in the world today because of the Gospel, and Jesus can transform these people."
We ask for you to pray with us for them--that they will open their hearts to Jesus and allow Him to transform them from the inside out and renew their way of thinking. We will all get to stand back and watch as God moves through our prayers, as He did with the over nine thousand tons of trash and the natural gas lines (pipes were even free). He will move in the hearts of this family--and let’s not forget the neighbors whose hearts cry “Auschwitz” (oh dear).
The light dawned. These past two weeks I had been praying for JeJe to have wisdom in how he handles this situation, and yet I didn’t want to live next to thieves. The words God kept repeating to me while I was sick: "Be Merciful."
In reality, I’m just as dirty with sin as my gypsy neighbors are. But, I’ve been washed by the precious blood of Jesus and He shows me mercy every day. He reminded me that He commands me:
"Be merciful just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7
And my favorite:
"...Mercy triumphs over judgment." James 2:13
As we sat in the quiet evening of family time, JeJe read from a new book on leadership I brought back with me, "How Successful People Think." This is what the opening words were for him tonight:
Good Thinkers Solve Problems. They never lack ideas and they always have hope for a better future.
May God continue to give my husband His wisdom in leading our home, church and community. May the light of Jesus shine brightly from our home and into the hearts of the people here.
A final note. God often teaches us how to be merciful thru our own sufferings.
by Coleen Jejeran, Missionary to Romania
used by permission from Coleen's facebook posts