Howard Dews and Rod Russell continue the story of their visit to Romania before Easter with an account of their time in Cluj.
We left the unseasonally warm March weather in Leeds to arrive to some very English weather in Cluj. As the plane made its descent we could see patches of snow on the Transylvanian hills with the distinctive linear villages and finally were treated to a view of the city of Cluj stretching beneath us – I could even see the house I would be staying in.
On our first day we went into the centre of Cluj and met up with a number of people we know. I guess every city has its favourite meeting place (by the clock at Victoria station in London), and we usually arrange to meet people by the statue of a Romanian king in front of the Cathedral. We dodged the showers of rain/snow/hail which kept blowing across from the mountains by exploring a few of the shops and coffee houses that have sprung up. Many of the historic buildings in the city centre have now been renovated making it very pleasant to wander around.
In the afternoon we visited Nicu and Rita Reparuc who have been bringing up fourteen children (mostly adopted) and whom we support. Some have now grown up and left home and so five remain – but they have gained another two from broken families. As in England heating bills have increased greatly in Romania putting pressure on their budget. They had installed a wood burning stove but had been unable to finish the chimney which came out on to the external wall. Our visit made us aware again of the love and attention they give to the children. Nicu also has a ministry to village churches.
On the Saturday we were treated to a trip into the nearby Apuseni mountains where we found a lot of fresh snow. So much so that the road we had intended to use was impassable – ever tried turning a minibus round on a single track mountain road round which is covered with snow? We visited the mountain resort of Belis where Manastur church has a field which is used for summer camps for young people – a particularly important part of this ministry. Last summer the foundations were laid for a permanent building on the site to be used for accommodation and meetings. An appeal has been launched in Manastur church for funds to complete the work. Could this be a venue for a future Moortown church holiday?
The Sunday morning service at Manastur church was very well attended despite the large choir being away elsewhere. At a recent baptism service both the sons of youth pastor Rei Arudan had been baptised along with pastor Gigi’s son and Nicu Reparuc’s. Given the number of Romanians now living and working abroad they have started broadcasting services on the internet. If you would like to listen in the link is here.
Spring in Transylvania comes very suddenly: the sun comes out, the snow melts and the storks return to nests on top of the telegraph poles, and by the time came for us to leave it was much warmer. Arriving back in England we drove up the M1 from Luton in snow with reports of roads closed across the Pennines.