Mangalia is in the south-east of Romania, little more than a hop, step and jump from the Bulgarian border. A drive from Bucharest across the vast, fertile Danube plains eventually brings you to this ship-building port.
A walk through Mangalia’s centre leads you to a huge communist-era mosaic, plastered onto the side of the town hall.
The visionary aspect of communism, forgotten by us in the west, is vividly portrayed. An idealised couple hold up their child towards the sun in the context of flourishing urban life, the sun being representative of communism.
Interestingly, on the pavement next to the town hall, the ideological successor to communism is painted. A couple entwined in each others’ arms stand looking out to sea, the powers of communism replaced by romance. Both of these vision are sadly inadequate for the deepest human needs.
And this was experienced by 44 year old Lala as she wandered into Mangalia Presbyterian Church 13 years ago. Her life a shambles, and she not sure of what to do next, her heart soon opened to the gospel in response to the Lord’s call.
Life with her husband and five children remained far from easy. A party of English visitors arranged a barbecue as part of their stay. They playfully bought some pig’s trotters from the butcher, which quite understandably never made it as far as the grill. When thinking of throwing them away, Lala spoke up, and requested them for a soup she could make at home.
Today Lala works as a street sweeper a few miles from Mangalia in one of the tourist resorts. She wakes at 3am for collection by the firm’s minibus, also working in the mornings on Saturdays and Sundays. The meagre salary paid for such work allows her no other options.
Aware of her need and seeking to encourage her, Romanian Ministries helps with a regular gift. It’s a joy to do this, and we pray it will encourage Lala in her walk with the Lord.