Striking With Fire

Right after the revolution in Romania, the world had been turned upside down. Everything had to change, and it was downright hard on the Romanians. Romania had been Communist, and the were changing to Democracy. It was effecting everyone in some way. It was downright hard to change from Communism Democracy, but it had been so bad under Communism that the people were determined to change. Change is never easy, and change was a nightmare for many Romanians. Life was so hard right after the revolution that the people were calling themselves, “the sacrifice generation.” There were so many changes within the country.

That television news story, no doubt, struck fear into the hearts of many Romanians. They were walking through unchartered territories. Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

On television, I saw a news story of a man from the west buying a factory in Romania. After all, the money from the west went a long way in the Romanian economy, and people from the west were investing in Romania. However, the Romanians really didn’t understand the new Democracy. Living under Communism was the only thing they knew. They were learning. At this factory, the people were unhappy with how things were going and decided to go on strike. The man from the west wasn’t going to give in to their demands. He fired everyone in the factory and went about hiring new workers who would adhere to the rules he set down in the factory. The television news had put the story out there for everyone to see. At the end of the story, there were big red letters stamped across the picture. The picture said boldly, “A Lesson in Democracy.” Life wasn’t easy for the Romanian wanting Democracy, but they were demanding Democracy, and they had to move forward.

They were overpricing their small apartments and selling them for the price of a small apartment in the west, and no Romanian had enough money to buy one unless they had been a big wig in the Communist party who had cheated the people under Communism and had a pocket full of money. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I am going to tell you the story of one young man who went through fire to make things work out for himself and his family. He was poor and uneducated. He was learning about Democracy the hard way. It might have been better except for the greed of man. You see, the salaries were extremely low. The people with very good jobs only made about the equivalent of $100 dollars a month, people like doctors and lawyers. However, the price of homes had sky rocketed! They were asking the same price for homes in Romania as you would ask for them in the west. Just a small two room apartment in town would be $30,000, and no Romanian had $30,000. If they wanted a house in America but didn’t have the money, they would just go to the bank, and if they people had good steady jobs and demonstrated they could make payments, they could live in the apartment and make payments. However, the Romanian banks weren’t giving loans. The Romanian people didn’t even know what a mortgage was. They had no inkling of the idea of borrowing money from a bank. The system was new, and no one understood how to function in it.

The church had wanted us to give each child two pairs of blue jeans, but it was impossible because if the child wasn’t wearing a pair of blue jeans, the people who ran the orphanage would take the other pair of blue jeans away from them and sell it. Photo by Mica Asato on Pexels.com

There was a young couple. They had grown up in one of Romania’s orphanages. Their lives had not been easy. If you know anything about Romania’s orphanages, the children were abused, neglected, and starved. The church in America had sent us blue jeans, tooth brushes and tooth paste, and vitamins to take to the orphanages, and we did. However, the Romanians advised us not to give the kids more than one pair of blue jeans or one toothbrush. They said anything the child wasn’t wearing or personally using like one toothbrush, the people who ran the orphanages would take away and sell to have money for themselves. I knew a young man who had grown up in an orphanage and they had hit him upside the head so hard so many times that he had lost his hearing in one of this ears. I met a child who lived in a sewer in the park one day. I tried to convince him to go to the orphanage with me, and he refused. If I ever mentioned the orphanage, he ran. He would rather live in a sewer than in an orphanage. At eighteen years old, this young couple I want to tell you about were both turned out of the orphanage without an education and without jobs. They didn’t know what to do or where to go.

The only people in the world this young couple had was one another. Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

 You see, before the Romanian revolution, everyone automatically had a job and a salary that came with it. Before the revolution, if a young couple got married, the Romanian government gave them an apartment free of charge. After the revolution, they weren’t giving apartments or jobs away anymore. However, if a young couple got married after the revolution, they either lived with their parents or their parents supplied them with another house or apartment. This young couple had no parents to help them. They didn’t even have guidance of an older figure. They had to figure it out all on their own.

This young couple set up residence under a bridge. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

They got jobs, but the salaries were so low that they couldn’t afford a place to live. The took up residence under a bridge. It wasn’t a house, but at least it was out of the rain. However, Romania is a very cold country, and they weren’t actually out of the weather. Romania gets so cold in winter that when I used to go to the market early in the morning in the winter, I wore three pairs of socks under my snow boots, and my feet might still get cold. It was too cold to be living under a bridge. The wife got pregnant. The husband knew they didn’t need to be out in the elements, especially with her pregnant. He was getting desperate. He decided the government was just going to have to take care of them.

The young man went to the mayor’s office hoping for help. Photo by Mati Angulo on Pexels.com

He went to the mayor of the town and petitioned for an apartment. The mayor threw him out of his office. The young man knew he couldn’t take “no” for an answer, so he went back day after day asking the mayor for an apartment. He was getting more than desperate. He was going to have to force the issue. He finally told the mayor that if he didn’t give him an apartment he would set himself on fire. The mayor ignored him.

The young man went up in flames. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The next day, the young man showed up again at the mayor’s office. He said, “Give me an apartment or I am going to set myself on fire!” The mayor had him escorted out of his office and shut the door. The young man had brought a can of gasoline and some matches. He grabbed the can of gasoline and doused himself with gasoline and lit a match. He went up in flames! 

The young man was taken to the hospital. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The people around him scrambled and got the fire out. They took him to the hospital where he was healing. His wife came and sat with him at the hospital. At least they weren’t outside, but when he was healed, he would be sent home, to the bridge. The newspaper reporters wrote about the young couple, and people read it.

People read about this young couple in the newspaper. Thankfully, someone with a kind heart who could help read about them. Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

Someone read it who had an old one room apartment with broken windows. He decided to give the old apartment to the young couple. They got off the street. When the young man got out of the hospital, they moved in and went about fixing up the old apartment. They were out from under the bridge. The state hadn’t helped them, but a kind heart had helped them. The young man had scars all over his body.

My Romanian friend met the wife of this young couple at the doctor’s office. Photo by Gustavo Almeida on Pexels.com

A Romanian friend of mine had read the story of these two in the newspaper. My friend went to the doctor’s office one day, and she happened to meet the young woman because she was big pregnant by that time and on her way to the doctor’s office for a regular appointment. The two women got to talking, and my friend invited her to church.

The young couple were at church every Sunday because they were grateful to God for rescuing them. Photo by Xiaoyu Chen on Pexels.com

I got to know them at church. They were a lovely young couple. They didn’t need the help of the church, but they liked the church. They were so grateful to God! They knew it was God who had gotten them out from under that bridge. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Holy
Spirit of God, and kindness had rescued them. They were right. Anyone who tells you change is easy has rocks in their heads.

2 thoughts on “Striking With Fire”

    1. If you demand change wrongly, people get hurt, and in this case, this young man hurt himself. He will have the scars all over his body the rest of his life. He was blessed not to die from setting himself on fire. It is never right to hurt another human being. This young man didn’t go after the mayor. He was desperate, and unlike the looters and rioters that have been in America lately, he didn’t hurt anyone except himself. Also unlike the rioters in America now, he wasn’t demanding change of an abstract principle assuming that all white people or all cops are bad. He actually had a concrete goal, to get his family off the street. He didn’t destroy anything or kill anyone. He sacrificed himself for his family.

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