Posts Tagged ‘Stories’

Duma adinc, adinc

Mai adinc in tine…..

It was the early 1980’s. Romania was still under the despotic dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Folks from Medias Baptist Church had been reading my colleague Don’s books and listening to my music and, through their links with Gary Cox of Christian Charity TEN** (then Eurovangelism), had asked if we would visit and spend some time of ministry with them.

We lasted for just three days, before we were summoned to the local government building, where it was made clear to us in no uncertain terms that we were not welcome and were to be expelled from the country. On taking the next available flight home, I was detained at the airport and questioned extensively about my trip, although thankfully was not put in a position where I would “incriminate” any local nationals 🙂

Prior to these escapades though, we had had such a good time with the church and their leaders. The song story comes in at the point where, with the help of Ben, one of the leaders, we had translated the song into Romanian.  The previous couple of days I had sung some of my songs in English after explaining the content through an interpreter.  On this occasion though, after singing Take Me Deep in English, I went straight into the Romanian version, not having said beforehand that I was going to do this.  I think it’s fair to say that there was hardly a dry eye in the place!

Now it should be explained that, although the leaders were looking to explore new things, this had been quite a traditional Romanian church, (ladies sat on one side of the aisle, men to the other, etc.). They had a custom of singing a particular song as their benediction at the end of each service: on this occasion the organist began playing Take Me Deep at the close of the service and people began spontaneously to sing along.  This was the day before we were “asked” to leave and the last time we would see folks; (we were blacklisted by the authorities and unable to obtain visas for some years afterwards).

However, the song was to remain in their hearts and I was to learn later that they had now adopted Take Me Deep as their regular benediction song. And so it was that a song I’d written earlier in the year for a festival called “Deeper Life Camp”, would for me become forever associated with my time in Medias.

**TEN – Transform Europe Now – www.transformeuropenow.org,  an excellent charity with whom I am privileged to be associated to this day.

Listen to and/or download Take Me Deep at … http://www.robnewey.bandcamp.com/track/take-me-deep

medias

A few of my songs have stories that relate to them. It occurred to me that those stories may be of interest to readers, so here’s the first of a handful that I plan to add here over coming weeks/months…

It was mid 90s in the former Yugoslavia. Various regions, predominately Croatia and Bosnia, were seeking independence. The “nation” was at war.

I had made previous trips to the area, but this time was different. To the comparative safety of Backi Petrovac and Novi Sad, refugees were pouring in from war zones such as Sarajevo. Local churches were working hard to respond to the crisis.

It was my privilege to be working alongside the charity Transform Europe Now, who were resourcing the churches and enabling them to provide refugees with essential items such as food and clothing. In the circumstances, I felt I was doing very little, as I was invited to minister in song through concerts to groups of refugees, but the statement of one lady after a concert was powerful – “Thank you – it’s not just our stomachs that are hungry”

In the basement of someone else’s home, the father of a refugee family had come to faith through their contact with the church. Referring to the loss of his possessions, home and family members, he said “I lost everything, but through it all found faith in Jesus – it was worth it!”

Swetlana, living in difficult circumstances while her parents remained in the war zone, when asked by my colleague, “What is life like for you now?”, responded, “It’s wonderful!” Her new found faith had given her peace inside when all around it seemed there was none.

A few years later, as Serbia went to war with Kosova, I watched the TV screen at home, as NATO planes dropped bombs on the neighbourhoods where I knew some of my friends to be living. The emotions were strong as I recalled other war torn situations and I began to put pen to paper. This song was to be very different from anything I’d previously written and in a comparatively short while, Peace In Our Time was completed.

Along with a retelling of Swetlana’s story, I subsequently performed the song in school assemblies, churches and concert halls, and the song continued to be pertinent with the onset of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

A more recent visit to Serbia found me once again performing Peace In Our Time. “That’s my story”, responded concert goers. The song had come home.

(For info on other songs, visit my website – http://www.robneweymusic.com  –  another retelling of this story with other stories from the area can be found in the book “Tenacious” available from http://www.transformeuropenow.org)

Peace in our time