I wrote this two years ago; hard to believe how fast the time has flown. I have been thinking a lot about Romania lately, perhaps because I have recently been re-aquainted with a young Hungarian lady that we met in camp there. I think I need to hear this lesson again, so I thought I would post it and let you all benefit from it as well.
When You Are Most Alone…
Did you ever meet someone truly remarkable? Someone that in a very short period of time left a mark on you – a mark that changed you forever?
I have met a few such people. Two of them were Visky Ferenc and his wife Visky Utika, or as they were known to all who loved them, Feri bacsi and Utika nini. This was a remarkable Hungarian couple who suffered greatly under communism in Romania. Feri bacsi was imprisoned for seven years for being a preacher of Christianity who would not bow to communism, leaving his wife to care for seven children on her own in terrible circumstances.
Years later, after communism fell, this couple was one of the foundations of the Reformed Church in Romania, teaching and preaching and encouraging the church of God. I met them several times on our trips to Romania. They would visit and preach in the camps Wesley and I taught in each summer. Feri bacsi preached in Hungarian and spoke to us through an interpreter, but even without a translator, the Spirit of God was so strong on this man, you could feel the power of his words without understanding them. This man and his wife had truly participated in the suffering of Christ. I was astounded the last time I saw them. Feri bacsi remembered me. We had spoken only a few moments the year before, and been briefly introduced several years before that. I was asking him to sign a book for me, many of us were. He would look each of us in the eye and speak. I do not know about the others, but when he looked me in the eye it was as if he was looking into my soul. I remember I was going through some emotional turmoil at the time. He said to me, "I remember you." He then said, and wrote in my book, "Remember, when you are most alone, Christ is with you." I have not forgotten that phrase. I remembered it often in the months and years that followed. It has served me well, as it must have served him well in his days of solitary confinement in prison, and his wife as she raised their children alone.
Today I think of it yet again… when I face a different kind of loneliness. Utika nini died several months ago, and today I received word of Feri bachi’s death. I had so hoped to see the two of them again, and I feel a deep sense of loss and loneliness. These were two heroes of the Christian faith that I knew, that I touched and held, and they left a mark on me that I pray will last forever. And so I grieve their passing.
Yet I also rejoice in their home-going, for truly they are at home, together, in heaven with the God they so faithfully loved and served. How can I wish them to have stayed on this earth when they deserved so much more. And one day I shall see them again, and they will be full of life and vigor. I will sit with them and listen to their stories, and Feri bacsi will look me in the soul again, and he will see that I remembered.
Rebecca A Givens