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Intellectual and Emotional Capital
Report December 2001

It is sad what the course of Romania is.  The sad thing is that many don't seem to care enough to make changes in their lives.  Technology companies talk about intellectual capital being necessary for their success in business.  Observing Romania for the past 5 years, I have seen the same need for a country. 

A country can be rich in resources, but the most important one any country has is intellectual resources--the knowledge and wisdom how to use the resources they have effectively.  Outside of the major cities, this is a severe deficit here. The most recent census says that Romania's population has declined 2 million to 21 million people over the past decade. Many of the best and brightest have obtained visas for the West and have left. Think for a moment how detrimental it would be to your company if you lost much of the top 10% of its employees as well as 10% of its clients. In a recent Fortune magazine had an article about Jack Welsh, former CEO of Generral Electric who wrote about the importtance of retaining the Top 10% and the Vital middle 80%. About 10% of these people have left Romania.

Five hundred thousand children have dropped out of school in the past few years, due to poor economic conditions.  Poverty keeps parents from buying school materials.  That is why you helped us provide hundreds of notebooks and pens to the poorest of the poor and orphaned at the TB hospital.  In November, the Assistant Minister of Education was on a talk-show called Tuca on Antena 1.  He said that the children today are taught only half as
much as their parents were. 

My goal when coming to Romania was to use my Masters Degrees to train the trainers to teach children.  As I've been writing you for months, there are no mainline Protestant churches to supply Christian workers, people don't want to work or improve their lives, and intellectual capital is low and declining.  I am overqualified for gradeschoolers.  The advanced degree needed in the work I'm doing is one in education.  It is a misappropriation of God's resources for someone with a Masters in engineering and business to be teaching gradeschoolers to read and type.  In a more advanced culture like Italy, I can use my 20 years of education productively while I look for people to do the work Romania needs.
church members in Trento
In Italy, it is good to that I will be working in a prospering Christian movement with adults who are seeking after the Lord.

Since I was in the US in September, the laws have changed and an Italian business visa now requires me to come back to the US.  Doing so would be irresponsible both with time and money.  The Italians in America say that they should be able to do it in Romania but the consulate in Romania wouldn't even let me in the front gate.  The police in Italy say my applying in Romania was why I was rejected last time.  It was planned that if I have the funds in June, I would be coming to a conference in California but since the closest thing I have to a residence is Michigan, I will have to find funds to get to Michigan.  Until then, using my two passports, I can fulfill the letter of the law by entering and leaving every 3 months without having a visa.  That covers all of my body except my heart.  Americans can enter without a visa but Moldovans can't,  and I can't take my household goods.

Aurelia and I have been waiting 4 years to get married.  We started (two month's worth of) premarital counseling with an Evangelical Free missionary who reneged on his commitment to us, who, after the first counselling session, claimed that he never promised to counsel us!  Then we restarted with someone appointed by a church in Timisoara to find out a month later that he hadn't been trained in counseling.  Then we started with a friend in the US who was too close to me to be objective.  Then the US visa promised in 90 days took a year.  Then September 11th.  Then, then, then.  Now it will be another 6 months before Aurelia and I can live together as man and wife.  Each time was like someone took a scalpel to my heart.  By now it is scar tissue and I was beginning to not feel or care about it all.  For any man this is a trial, for those of you who are women or married, you know that for a 37 year-old woman, this has been a nightmare.  I don' t know how many times over the period Aurelia has told me, "It's not worth it, I already don't want any more."  Yet, she has borne with it.  Now it is another 6 months. Each time it was something unsuspected, so what will come up in 6 months?

I'm sitting here in an unmacho state not knowing what is the right thing to do, not knowing what to do, not feeling much like doing anything.  I always believed from I Corinthians 10:13 that the more one matures, the more God will test him.  I don't know how much more maturity I can take.

Please pray for me to find God's way in all this.  Aurelia and I have probably already decided to cut our losses here.  Please pray that I will find strength to get the things done I need to do.  Articles due, bathroom repairs, Christmas letters, the precious children ringing the doorbell nightly wanting me to squeeze in a Bible study and not really understanding "boundaries".

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© 2003 Laurent J. LaBrie