Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another Exciting Funeral

 Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent to a few friends.  I wasn't going to post it because I am not sure if anyone will read my blog that doesn't know me and be offended.  I always say I have a "full service ministry" and I am certainly never bored in serving God here in Romania. Some people think I make this stuff up but if you have visited here with me you know I don't. I would have edited the names also but yesterday these guys were laughing too so I left the names in.

OK so I told you about the wake - right? Never met this guy, had to find out his name when I got there Wed. evening. This is Leontin's son-in-law's uncle. Gabi, son-in-law, doesn't come to the church - daughter Dorina rarely. Dorina has accepted the Lord but not the husband. Gabi said all the right words and was baptized before the wedding to Dorina. Later he said he just said that because Leontin wouldn't let him marry Dorina unless he was baptized...s-i-g-h. Leontin is finally starting to get the message that these things are heart issues - it is what belief is in the heart not church attendance, baptism or a saintly looking life! Anyhow I asked about this uncle - did he know the Lord? Ah probably...maybe...S-I-G-H. We said a prayer, sang a couple of songs that thankfully Leontin's sons had prepared. I read some scripture. The standard greeting at a wake or funeral is to ask God's forgiveness for the dear departed. I spoke briefly that that may be a traditional thing but it has no scriptural basis. If we have something in our hearts that we would not want to go before the Lord with, we need to settle the matter with God, do not wait. Decide what you believe . Catalin, dead guy, was only 43 and he did not plan on being run over - none of us know when we may leave this earth - let's all be ready and only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can we be ready...so since this guy was like road kill I was hoping for a closed casket - think I told you it wasn't. Also they weren't sure whether the horse and wagon would pick him up for he trip to the cemetery. OK I'll bring the truck. The house was up a slight hill and with all the rain it was just mud - no problem I have 4x4 (or I used to). Got stuck in the mud but managed to get the truck turned around with a little push. Told Leontin they could bring the casket to the truck afterward because I had a stretch of rocky road in front of me. After the funeral (shortest in history I am sure - 10 minutes.) We loaded the casket. Now Leontin had invited his friend, a pastor, to take part (heck he could have done the whole thing as far as I was concerned) except he had no transport and neither did the body. OK picked him up along the way and it was decided I would do the funeral and he would do the graveside. Usually you do the second half of the service outside but we didn't because of the rain. They told me after they loaded the guy to exit on the main highway and take the first left. Gee I can't exactly use much speed with the casket and all the wreaths in the back. No problem - 10 or so of the mourners would go out and stop traffic. Ah isn't where this guy was run over 2 days before? In broad daylight?  I also loaded a couple of old ladies into the backseat. I managed to get the truck on to the highway and back off without incident. So far so good. Then I look up and the mud road goes up a hill - for quite a distance at about a 40-45 degree grade..!! ah - this won't work guys - not without 4x4 and with a casket in the back. I question the people as to an alternate road - up a ways there are roads to the right and left but they wind around and one goes through some guy's garden. Oh yeah I am taking a funeral procession with a guy in the back of a pick-up truck through some guy's garden - NOT! Bogdan is relieved I am not going to attempt the hill and says so. Well...hhmmm, maybe I can do it. I hear Bogdan's quiet voice beside me - "oh please don't try this Jackie." Hey Bogdan if I get stuck I just back down the hill - of course the problem is the 40-45 degree grade with the coffin. Will he, as well as the wreaths say in the back??? Being the decisive person that I am (after a short inquiry of the Lord) I decide I can make it up the hill with the guy staying in the back. I tell the people in the procession I am going to attempt it - I will not be going slow enough for them to walk behind, I am not stopping on the hill and I will keep on eye on the coffin. Bogdan is in disbelief and I hear him mumbling prayers...off we go. I have to admit is was kind of humorous watching Leontin and another guy huffing up the hill behind the truck in case the coffin started to slip also to catch the looks from my rear view mirror on the old women's faces in the backseat was pretty good too! OK - yup made it to the top and waited for the procession to catch up, Bogdan was laughing and said he LOVES to do funerals with me as they are so exciting! I told him funerals weren't actually supposed to be exciting...When we get to the cemetery I discover a pretty flat tire in front (I have rear wheel drive - so maybe the 4 x4 was not the problem????) We off load the casket and hike to our designated part of the cemetery. Now to pause in the story here - I am pretty excited that our church actually now has a designated part of the cemetery, and yes it comes with taxes. This is about as close to coming being recognized as a real church as we are going to get!!! Hee hee. OK - now we have hiked to the back 40 and of course it is raining. The other pastor decides to actually preach. S-I-G-H. He did cut it shorter than normal I guess. Maybe he felt badly that I only did a 10 minute service at the house. I know the guy being buried doesn't care and the family was pleased so what the heck. Oh and yeah - there was no money to bury the guy, why am I not surprised? We paid the grave digging charges etc. I withdrew church funds for the rest but told the three deacons they needed to decide by themselves if we pay the rest. We wouldn't help this much financially for someone else that was not in the church. This involves Leontin's extended family however. I told the three I will not vote on this matter. I will do anybody's funeral - that is not the problem as I don't charge anything. I feel for the families involved, they all think it helps the guy to get in to heaven to have a Christian service - but pay the bills? It is difficult to do a wake and a service for someone you don't know that probably did not know the Lord. I imagine George is pretty good at this but I am not. Oh one more thing - the ladies in the back seat said the guy was probably drunk when hit. I hope this is just village nastiness, it makes it sadder to me.

1 comment:

Tammy Swailes said...

Isn't it exciting serving in Eastern Europe?! :)