Scarlet Cord, Red Light District
Why Scarlet? The Blood of Jesus. We ALL need the saving Blood of Yeshua.
Perhaps, as the Scarlet Cord of Rahab was a plea for Mercy from the advancing Israelites,
Perhaps the “red light” of the prostitute is not merely an advertisement for clientelle, but also a plea for Mercy, for healing and relief from abuse.
May we always see the Blood of Yeshua offered to “the least of these”, and extend His Mercy to them, to us.
Monday, June 12, 2006 – Putting it together, Thinking it Through:
“The Barbarian Way” – Pgs 137-138, “But my favorite of all is the group designation for rhinos…” I read this book during this tour. It only reinforces my desire to be involved in missions.
Here is a general summation of what I have seen. Not every Gypsy has every situation described here, and those growing in the Faith seem to be better off… although I do not have any research to prove this.
Simplicity of Life ‡ Survival basis, demonstrated by o Asking for our things o Begging with learned, pitiful facial and body expressions that said, “please feel sorry for me & do what I want” o Taking items o Snatching & running
Hungry ‡ Every way – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually
Clothing ‡ Mostly second-hand or discards o Often old, torn, worn o Some shoes, but mostly socks and/or slippers or barefoot sandals, flip-flops o Weather seems to make little difference in what is worn o It appeared that the people wore their best clothes for us in most of the places we visited. I’m not sure of this.
Amenities of Life ‡ Homes o boxcars o handmade huts from scrap materials found in dump o small ancient ramshackle houses o small rundown (slum) apartment houses o often whole family sleeps in one room on beds and the floor
Sanitation services o field, bush, tree o outhouse-style squat-potty o squat-potty with a pitcher of water or a hose or a tap nearby o some measure of flush toilet
Water – none to limited availability o central water trough with flowing pipes o river o limited or no indoor plumbing o limited or no water service
Electricity – none to whatever is affordable o many gypsy families keep only 1 lightbulb in a socket in the whole apartment. This keeps the electric bill down.
Exterior Environment – run down buildings and dirty streets in the city, dirt paths in the country o Littering is common and without thought
HOWEVER, o Satellite TV is their ONLY luxury o Interior of home is kept VERY neat, & as clean as possible o Laundry is hanging on clotheslines o Bathing is evident in that the people don’t carry an odor
Transportation ‡ some cars, a few bicycles, walking, and horsecarts
Employment ‡ I only have observed these: o Run own small neighborhood shops o Shepherds o Sidewalk vendors o Migrant farm workers Drugs & Prostitution are reported to be continuing problems
Education ‡ In Turkey, school is mandatory through the 8th grade. o Kids are learning English & loved practicing on us o Government schools are not as good as the private schools, but obviously the Gypsies go to the government schools In Bulgaria, the kids can read our phoetically-spelled names, so they are getting some education.
Discipline ‡ is a firm smack on the head with a sharp word – no warnings, just swift correction.
Responsiveness ‡ “Instant in season and out of season” – smiles, hugs, hospitable, fighting, discipline, dancing, making music, and receiving God’s Wonderful Love and Grace in Jesus Christ!
Thursday, June 8, 2006 – Bus to Istanbul.
Approaching the border crossing, Bularia to Turkey, the sense of foreboding grew. Crossing the border, the atmosphere began to feel ominous. Granted, the weather is very overcast, raining, and lighting in the distance, but it is more than that. It reminded me that a few days ago I heard, “dangerous road ahead,” and Cathie Cotton said she had a sense, a knowing, that there are bombings. So we have a heads-up. No fear, no worry, just a heads up to stay alrert and pray. So Lord, keep me alert, please, and surround us, each person on this trip, the drivers and the bus with your angelic protectors and warriors. Help us to team with You.
The enemy is trying to insert strife into our team. We need to be careful with our tongues. We need to purpose to believe the best, not the worst, and to follow Biblical principles of conlict resolution.
Friday, June 9, 2006 – Photos: Carpet Factory #704-786 Ephesus #787-859 Izmir Gypsies #860-918
Nancy S., Judy and I prayed for some ladies today. One appeared to receive healing in her hand from a stroke. When Nancy & Judy started with her, her grip was very weak. When I joined them, it was very strong. We also prayed for her strength to stand and walk. Which she did a little. She has more healing to receive, but is well on her way! All three of the ladies ended up looking quite “happily wasted” in the Spirit! Thanks, God! J
Back at the hotel in Izmir, Lord, how do the Beatitudes speak to the Gypsy situation here? How do they apply to their facial expressions, and the snatching and running off? “They are still My kids. I created them. Some will come to Me. Some will not. Treat them like you want to be treated. Love them, hug them, respect them. (Trust them?) Be wise. Trust, but with wisdom.”
The filth and poverty are beginning to get to me, and I am so tired! The swelling of my feet and andles need to stop! I believe part of this problem is the mineral water we’re drinking that has sodium in it. But I’ve had absolutely no problem with food or digestive problems! Yea!!
Saturday, 10 June 2006 – 9:30 a.m. – I am learning lessons in interpersonal relationship… getting along with others. These are good. I hope I can be gracious on the receiving end of correction and admonition. I already had to deal with the fact that I snore and actually kept my roommate from sleeping!! When I realized that I could do nothing to change it other than stay awake all night, I had to let it rest. I did give her some earplugs…. Georgian’s mom sells jewelry made by a young widow who needs to put her college-age daughters through school. Elena is an artisan from the Art Academie of Moscow. She married a fellow student from Bulgaria. After he died, she has had to support herself and her daughters, Ani and Katya, now ages 21 and 22 years. I spent some money to buy some beautiful abalone and sterling silver earrings and rings. I will keep some for myself, give some as gifts, and perhaps sell some to support our South Africa mission trip.
Sunday, June 11, 2006 – Cruise on the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul, between Europe and Asia Monor. I baptized the Bosporus Strait with 1/2 bottle of water and prayer of declaration that Istanbul would return to the Lord, that the high places would be torn down.
Photos: Bosporus Strait, Istanbul #919-1012
o Pray for B’s continued healing. o Pray for Assim, from the Sultan restaurant last night (Last Night Celebration – restaurant manager). He said he liked the joy and the music we had, but did not want to accept Jesus as God. Pray also for the other waiter who listened to Winnie’s message with rapt attention. I don’t know how much English he knows, but he was paying attention! o Pray for follow-up for the 2 Beyaz Saray hotel restaurant waiters who came to know Jesus yesterday and received the Holy Spirit today on the boat. Such peace and restored innocence was on their faces and in their body appearance. J Bless You, Lord! Such precious gifts.
Last Night Celebration Dinner o Winnie preaching on Queen of Sheba – people watch us worshipping Someone greater than the greatest man. o It is Global Celebration’s heart’s desire to leave a blessing with the Gypsy pastors to relieve the Gypsy’s poverty. o Kazanluk city officials are giving the land to Global Celebration (GC) and the city architect will be integrally involved in building a training center – type building for the Gypsies. o Varna church’s Pastor Peter is preparing to minister to the Turkish Gypsies. He and his wife need a home of their own (currently living with her parents). Peter works a full time job, then every evening he holds church services. GC is buying a large plot of land, that cannot be subdivided or sold in pieces, for a church and his house. This must be transacted before the end of June or the land goes to the government and the price will increase tremendously. An offering and pledges were taken. Peter and his wife have been patiently working and waiting for three years for this location change. Currently, his church is meeting as several house churches. This will let them meet together and give Peter and Effize a home, too.
Monday, June 12, 2006 – Leave Istanbul – fly to Munich – and Home to D.C. –
On the flight home from Munich, I began making lists – of things for R and me to discuss concerning my/our involvement in missions, and of preparation for our South Africa trip less than three months away.
I also finished reading “The Barbarian Way”. I want to share a small excerpt from that in my church presentation of the Gypsy trip.
Tuesday night, June 6, 2006 – Photos: Kazanluk #398-467
I haven’t been able to find Tsina, my escort last year. Delka is my new escort, maybe 10 years old? She quickly tired of me taking pictures and showing photos from last year. She took Rosa and me out of the rain, then she noticed when the group was leaving and we had to run to catch up and get on the bus. Delka was not wearing shoes. She had socks on, and a pair of pink slippers that were too big for her. I met and took pictures of her family. I’m not sure if I saw her father or not. Wednesday, 7 June 2006 – Kazanluk all day – I ran into Lubcho today. J He had on such a big smile! I must come back and bring R to meet Lubcho, Mitko, Natasha & Icho (& kids Peter & Monica), Zhorro & Marianna….
Morning prayer on the bus, Georgian prayed among other things for abundance of provision, and this really, really hit me like catching a baseball without a mit! Lord, do Your will. We are coming back – R & me together. I believe it, Lord. Lubcho & Marianna & Natafsha all want me to come back with my violin and play with them. Thank You, Lord, for another opportunity. Lord, You Are Good!!
Photos: Kazanluk #468-703
Continued Wednesday, 7 June, 06 – 11:30pm – What happened today!!! Delka (12) was not at the bus when we arrived, but showed up with a big smile and her arms around me before we got into the neighborhood. (This is a walled-in community.)
We did the usual stickering –“Tookah” (sticker) and hugging and blessing. With every sticker I applied, I tried to give a verbal blessing: “Jesus loves you (Obicham-te)”, or “The blood of Jesus” (red stars), other short blessings, the “in the Name of Jesus (Isus)”. Some, the Lord gave me specifics … “valient warrior”, “priceless, precious princess.” Others I prayed safety, peace, joy, to know Jesus as Savior…
Later on, I took a trip to the new church building for the restroom, which was delightully new, clean, flush toilet, and PAPER!! Upon re-entering the public “square”, Delka stopped and turned my attention to a young lady I nearly ran into. Delka had recognized her… Tsina! There she was, standing right in front of me. I looked at her and said, “Tsina?” and she bobbled her head “yes”. I showed her the bracelet which after a minute she remembered and gave me a huge hug! The three of us stayed together for a long time, and of course, I took pictures! Delka is 12, Tsina is 14.
Lubcho was in Kazanluk again today – and Mitko and the band from New Life church of Sofia. Another son, whom I love! What is it with sons, Lord? “They need a mom’s love from Me through you.” OK, Lord! I love it! The money from the New Life BG worship team cd sales, the profits, are being collected to pay the way of the whole band to make a trip to America. Then they will raise funds, I believe, to support their church ministry and work among the Gypsies in Bulgaria. This church is a Bulgarian/Gypsy church, successfully integrating the two peoples.
Yes, we fed the people of Kazanluk again – “corban” (sheep soup) and bread. No watermelon this year, not in season yet. Huge pots cooked over open fires. Then horse carts, with and without a horses, each took a pot of soup, a bag of bread, and some kool-aid type drinks around the neighborhood lanes.
Once again I see the Gypsy culture here in Kazanluk is very much “instant in season and out” with their tempers, young and old alike. However, going door to door in the apartment buildings, asking if we may pray for them and bless them, yielded tremendous blessing! Many of the women and men fell out under the power of the Spirit, many tears, much joy, much peace on their faces. Discipleship is happening and so are changes in the people’s hearts. Later, in the square, we prayed for the sick and for other needs as well as for the HS baptism with speaking in tongues. Many received, many fell out, children observed and came asking for prayers, some of them also fell out, silently speaking, lips moving. Then the littler children began playing at falling, so we just blessed them and let them.
Pastors Zhorro and Marianna Penchev are affiliated – in alliance with – both the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Bulgaria. Since those churches were registered and recognized before the communist era, they are also recognized now and have freedom to exist in spite of the Orthodox church’s protests. Global Celebration is in alliance with the Penchevi’s church, New Life Bulgaria, and so has government permission to work here. Georgian’s notariety as leader of the first (and only) rock-n-roll band in Bulgaria makes him a familiar face and that, along with his American citizenship gives him much favor with the government.
Sunday night, 04 June 2006 – 10:30 p.m. – We’re on the night train from Burgas, BG (near Nessebur) to Sophia (Sofia), BG. It’s a very old train, similar to the one R & I took from Lisbon to France. Everyone is enjoying it very much. Photos: Train #150-174
We had a good pizza supper at a hotel in Burgas; then came the laughter, then the Power, and then the healing prayers. Several people experienced the Lord’s touch through these prayers. It’s hard for me to really know how much discretion we should use when in public and the Spirit comes in these ways. I mean, it IS somewhat of a spectacle, all these people who a minute earlier were quiet and sober, suddenly getting drunk in the Spirit and appearing drunk in the flesh… “We are not drunk as you suppose.”
This afternoon, Natasha played a song on a cassette for me – one of Lubcho’s! I sang the chorus right along with her “Yanalai, yanalai, yanalai…” Natasha and Marianna want me to play with the team again tomorrow. “But I don’t have my violin,” I reminded them. Lord, if it is You asking me to play, You work it out, please, and give me the ability. If it is not You, then leave it alone. Please hear me on this matter, Lord. “Don’t worry. Didn’t I tell you not to worry about the violin?” Yes, Lord. “Then I will take care of it.” OK, Lord. Thanks. I love You.
We walked a lot today, doing the tourist thing. As we returned to our bus, I stepped on a rock (2” d) & rolled my right ankle over toward the surgical site. My foot hurts a little, but there doesn’t seem to be any swelling.
o N__ is missing her husband, Kevin. o B__ told me last night about her receiving ministry for some months. This trip is for her a healing time. She is so precious. She is probably 20-something. o J__ is 34 and single. Her dad is moving in with her. She is delighted – he will be in an atmosphere of God’s healing. o R__ is 69 and raising her 3 grandchildren adopted them to keep them together. She doesn’t look a day older than I am. Many stories, many examples of God’s redemptive work in Christ. Thank You, Lord.
Monday, 5 June, 2006 – noon – I had a good chat with Richard, my Sky-Diving Champion!! He had a great time! So did Bob & his friend, Alex. So Cool! R’s skydive gave him a living object-lesson in God’s complete care and control – “This is the way, walk in it,” and listening to the voice of the One you cannot see saying, “do this”, or “do that”, or “turn this way.” I really want to learn to pack lighter. I have too much stuff!! Bringing 2 weeks’ worth of clothes is the pits! But laundry facilities do not abound, and hotel service may not get it back before we leave the next day. C__ brought a camping back pack & a carry-on. She did well.
Photos: Sophia (city) #175-181 Sophia – small Gypsy camp #182-254 Sophia – large camp 60,000 #255-333
Tuesday, 06 June, 2006 – 8:30a.m. – Leaving Sofia for Stara Zagora & Kazanluk.
Lord, why do I have no strong feelings? Why is my heart not interceding? Why is my mind not interceding? Why am I here? “TRAINING” I joyed yesterday as I danced with the children. I prayed for some people. Lord, I need to remember to STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN before launching out.
Now, for Stara Zagora – “dance, sing, joy.” Lord, let me pray. “Not yet.” Why, Lord? Lead me into Your Purpose for me on this trip. Ho! “Get ready for a dangerous road ahead.”
“The Lord came down from Teman” – Stara Zagora – Hab 3:3-4 – and He put healing into my hands.
Photos: Stara Zagora #334-386 Balkan Mtns between Stara Zagora & Kazanluk #387-397
6:30p.m. – Short time in Stara Zagora. We had verbal permission, but no paper permit to be there. The police had to restrict our access to the neighborhood, but invited us to return right away! J Georgian told them we will be back next year. The police said, “No, come tomorrow!” Yea, God, for FAVOR!
o I joined J__ in prayer at the end for a lady who is around 40 years old & a grandma. Her daughter and new grandbaby were right there and got soaked as well, but did not get as visually caught up in the Lord as her mother. o I got to bless a man and his granddaughter – we both understood that we are both grandparents…. “papa-papa” and “mama-mama”!! J o Dancing, stickers, pictures. Not as much mobbing, or as many people as yesterday in Sofia. This is a smaller community, and we did not get to parade through the neighborhood.
I am remembering, Lord, to STOP (“Wait on Me”) – LOOK (“Do what I do”) – & LISTEN (“Say what I say”). When a face catches my eye, I stop, then go to that person. Communication is difficult, but that is almost an asset, because we cannot get caught up in conversation or distractions.
“Tees Nishe” means “do you know”? I used this to try to find the ladies in the photos I had to give out. I think I could use this to ask, “Do you know Jesus?” or “Do you know Jesus’ Love?” “Tees nishe Isus?” or “Tees nishe Isus obicham-te?”
We have 2 Gypsy interpreters with us, Desi and Crahssie (spelling is phonetic for me).
Here’s my Trip Journal. It’s long, but so was the trip! God really blessed many people on and through this journey. Rejoice with me!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 – Traveling – Portsmouth to DC, DC to Frankfurt, Germany, Frankfurt to Bucharest, Romania.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 – Photos: Frankfurt airport & bus ride into Bucharest #001-012 Gypsy village at dump in Bucharest #013-056 Outreach was good. Socializing, then general prayer to receive Christ, then individual ministry. Dani, a young lady, took Rosa (my roommate) and me to show us her house. She showed us her medications, too – physicians’ samples. Why? Could have been to get money to buy more medications. The team did not give away any money or our personal items.
Friday, June 02, 2006 – Lord, You have Your reason, don’t you? Here I am, wondering, “Why me, Lord?” and You know! Breakfast chatting this morning, another lady, U__ from USA via Austria, said she still doesn’t know why You have her here. Lord, I ask You to keep me focused. I choose to pray, to intercede. Let me not be distracted by taking pictures even! Teach me to pour Your Spirit out on others. Let me not be distracted from prayer, hands on prayer! You are taking care of my foot, my energy, my all. Steep me in Yourself, Lord, and flow from me, through me. Lord! You are my All-in-All. Give me a word today. Yesterday, Georgian spoke of sacrifice. So, Lord, keep me mindful of Your sacrifice!! And to not shy away from my own!
Today we cross from Romania to Bulgaria over the Danube River. This group has prayed God’s blessings to be carried to Romania over the Danube for years, but this is the first year they’ve gotten onto Romanian soil. Thank You, Lord! Let Your Word reach throughout Romania & Europe through the Gypsies! Save Your People, Lord!
This afternoon we go to Varna. Use me, Lord! Leave the camera behind. Pray, pray, pray. Take stickers and pray. Lord, I pray your blessing with each sticker. Like the hem of your garment, like Paul’s handerchiefs, and Peter’s shadow, Lord, let these little stickers carry Your anointing of Love and Grace to the Gypsies, children and adults alike!
Here is Your Word for me today: John 6:37-40(NAS) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me. This is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me, I will lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
Lord, manifest Your Self through me, that all who see me, who look upon me, will believe in You, that they may also have eternal life, and that You, Lord, will raise them up on the last day. Thank You, Lord! Midnight, Friday night – 02/03 June 2006 – We travelled from Romania to Bulgaria today. Budapest is such an oppressed city; it even feels sad & pitiful. Things did not “lighten up” until after we crossed into Bulgaria. I am not surprized that Jon & Ana’s family wanted so much to get out! I’m thankful they did.
My roommate & tour “buddy” is Rosa, from Ft. Worth, TX. She’s a sweetie, and 10 yrs older than we are – you’d never guess it, though! Georgian’s mom (“Mama”) has really taken to her! (She is 78 yrs old.)
I left my camera on the bus when we visited the Varna gypsies today. I felt the Lord told me to do that. I took my shakey and broke it again from just shaking it! I think perhaps we need to use a heavier gauge wire. Natasha (Gypsy worship team, Sofia) and the Sofia pastors (Zhorro & Marianna) joined us today. Lubcho & Mitko we will see when we get to Sofia. I can hardly wait! Natasha called my name out and I looked up – Pure Joy!! We hugged and said, “I love you!” and “Jesus!” and both of us were so happy!! She is a precious jewel!
I prayed for a number of children Gypsies tonight – they liked my shakey, too! – and several adults. The last, a man named Ali, was so precious! You could see when he felt the power of the Lord! He looked a little started and smiled and said, “OK, OK.” He was really soaking it up! Such a sweet man! He kissed our hands and was SO appreciative! No guile.
Tomorrow we go to Dobritch to Mitko & Albena’s (& son, Christian) church, not far from Varna. Then after lunch we will probably go back to Varna and see the Gypsies again, as we were late getting there today. A small group of us will go to minister at the Gypsy church in Varna, pastored by Peter and Effize.
Comparison with last year: o Last year, I played my violin on the rooftop. This year I was in the midst of the mob – OK, not dead center, but still very crowded! And so noisy! We had loud speakers for the music. o Stickers, stickers, stickers! Everyone wants stickers! Pushing & shoving and hitting are not uncommmon among the kids! And “fini!” means “no more”. ASL hand sign for “finished” works, too! o I was more comfortable last year, out of the crowd, on the rooftop. Several people have asked if I brought my violin, and were disappointed when I said no. They tell me that I played well! (I certainly didn’t feel like I played well, but I deeply appreciated their words.)
I went to use the bathroom in a private house this evening and decided I could wait!! It’s an attached outhouse with a stall-type wooden door, no light, and a porcelain squat-potty at one end. A hose transports water to it from an outdoor laundry sink. We won’t talk about the smell! But this might be an improvement over the little camp we visited yesterday in the Bucharest dump. There the people just went out into the field to relieve themselves. No, I think the field is preferable!
The Lord told me on the bus today to “Let My Glory show – don’t hide it.” I hope I am doing that.
Midnight, Sat/Sun night – June 03/04, 2006 – We went to a great church service in Dobrich, BG, this morning! Small church, about the size of ours, maybe a little larger. Great Worship team! Steve (Ivy) would love it!! I bought some cd’s – their first ever. All original music. I hope some of what they did this morning is on the album. This church reminded me so much of ours! They blessed us with a fire tunnel at the end of the service – so much love!! Thank You, Lord!
My feet are swelling terribly – too much sitting on the bus, probably. They are not giving me much pain. Some, but quite controllable with the ibuprofen, 2-3 times a day.
Time for sleeping. Tomorrow we get the day in Nessebur, BG, on the coast of the Black Sea, then a night train to Sofia. J
Photos: Dobrich Church #57-98 Nessebur #99-149
We’re in the port city of Nessebur – an ancient city, from 4th century, A.D. Today is a rest-day.
Yesterday, Saturday, we went to a church service in Dobrich. They rescheduled their service so we could join them yesterday and have the whole day off today! How many churches do you know would do that?! It was a wonderful service — the worship was awesome!! Winnie Banov preached about being united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6, we are free from sin!
Also, yesterday evening the group went back to the Gypsy village in Varna. (I stayed back to rest my feet, but wish I’d gone!!) There were miracles and healings! You can read about those at the Riverlution (Global Celebration) website, http://www.riverlution.net.
Friday, we arrived late at the Gypsy village in Varna, and did a short ministry time there.
Thursday, we arrived in Bucharest, Romania and went immediately to the Gypsy camp in the garbage dump. It was sweet and pitiful all at the same time. This is a brand new work, one that Winnie and a small team found last year. You can also read about that on the Riverlution website. We shared a meal there (eating carefully, as there was no sanitation there). We sang and danced and prayed. My roommate, Rosa, and I were invited into a young lady to her “house”, and blessed her there.
This trip is a difficult trip, a blessing to us and others, and a challenge to follow Jesus passionately. Thank you for following along.
I love you,