NO, THANK YOU – Chapter 2
I wasn’t at ease about that trip, but at least there were quite a few months until our departure. Meanwhile after work, I kept writing on my first novel in English, and going to the beach. All my children lived pretty close, two of them were married, had no kids yet and life was good.
Then our first trip meeting was announced. I went. That was the least I was supposed to do. We were four-five people gathered in the pastor’s office. I knew most of them and they knew me, but wasn’t too close to any of them. We sat there and shared the reasons why we wanted to go to China. As you can say, my motivation wasn’t amazing. Now, don’t get me wrong. The Chinese people had all my compassion, and my heart ached while thinking of them, but I knew I couldn’t be of any help to change their suffering under a communist regime.
As an educator for many years and a mother of four, I pursued change of mentality and behavior in my children and students. I didn’t like “lost causes.” I looked for different ways to approach a situation when a child was misbehaved in order to help him/her change and be successful in life. Or for me, visiting a country so similar with communist Romania where we suffered for such a long time, was overwhelming and helpless. It wasn’t a secret to me that people who loved God had different talents and callings to glorify Him. And there were so many devoted to love and help Christians in countries like China, but the pain of my past was still raw.
I had my first child and she was a few months old when a young person knocked at the gate one afternoon. That time we were still living with my in-laws. I didn’t know the visitor personally, but saw him in our Baptist Church at the youth meetings on Tuesdays. My husband invited him in the house and, as a custom, I went to make him a coffee. When i came back to the living room, I placed the mug on the table and wanted to take a seat on the couch. For my surprise, my husband asked me to let them alone. “What happened?” I wanted to know, but he showed me to the door and closed it behind me. No long after that, I heard them at the gate and my husband went and talked to his parents. When he came back to the second floor where we lived, he didn’t want to tell me what was going on, and I let it be. A few weeks after that strange visit, my husband came home with terrible news. The young man who visited us was found dead in the attic where he rented a room. He was killed and his body was placed with a rope around his neck to mimic suicide. I let myself on the edge of a chair and started to cry. “Who would do something like that?” I asked.
Then I was told the truth.
When the young man came to see us, he told my husband that there was a shipment of Bibles arriving in the country and they needed to be hidden somewhere. He asked my husband to put them in our in-laws’ attic. My husband went to talk to his parents, but because the house was surrounded by blocks-of-flats and people saw our every move from their windows, the in-laws didn’t want to risk to be caught. It seemed that the young man was followed by the secret police “securitate”, and killed. Many disappeared during that time of terror. There was a rumor that the Bibles intercepted by the communists were transformed in expensive toilet paper. Whoever afforded to buy them were astonished to discover fragments of Bible verses that were not perfectly washed in the process of the transformation.
Years later after the Revolution in 1989, I found out that I was watched by the secret police because of my writings and my active work in churches. I knew that. There was a file with my name on in the “Securitate’s” offices, but praise God, they never took me in for questions. They messed up my life in other ways anyway.
And here I was, getting ready to go to China.
– to be continued-
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