One of the biggest blessings during my semester has been the opportunity to visit the sister church to my home congregation. Finding traces of home half way across the world really made me reexamine what constitutes a family. I was a bit nervous before arriving; I had never been to Sacele and I also had not met in person the family I was to be staying with. Although I was only in town for several days, I was able to experience the feeling of unity in a place that often seems detached from my home town.
The family that hosted me were ethnic-Hungarian Lutherans, a “double minority” described by Pastor Laszlo, the father of the family. Much of my time spent there was visiting Saxon and Hungarian Lutheran churches and schools that have endured the hardships of oppression. Being apart of the Lutheran church in America, I have never felt marginalized. I don’t think I realize how grateful I should be this. Back in Sacele they struggle the most with funding and not receiving help from the government to upkeep their churches. They also have troubles with claiming buildings that were originally Hungarian owned before communism. What I understand from Pastor Laszlo is that in general they really have to be active in order to stay a float.
I probably write too lightly of the hardships of what it means to be an ethnic-Hungarian Lutheran in Romania. The silver lining of it all has so far been the relationships that have formed in order to keep the Lutheran church in Sacele up and running. I think that the beauty of a sister church in Romania is that through the works of God and his shared love for us, we can connect to others almost effortlessly. That has been the core of my experience visiting the folks out in Sacele. It definitely shrinks the world just enough to find familiarity and comfort thousands of miles away.