Sunday, March 12, 2017


It's day 4 of this trip, and I just made an important and disappointing discovery: I forgot to bring the cord that lets me upload pictures from my camera. So the pictures in this first entry will be mostly from my phone, or other people's photos...and I'll have to do better at using my phone to take pictures from here on out.

Anyway, enough about that. The trip has been great so far. If you were watching on facebook, you surely saw that our flight situation got a little bit crazy. The flight that took us to London was 4 hours late, so we had to move our flight FROM London to the next day. This resulted in a surprise stay at a London hotel Thursday night, which ended up being a lot of fun and a great place to get adjusted to the bulk of our jet lag. Students and chaperones alike were in good spirits, and we chaperones wrapped up that evening at a fun little London pub that made me feel like I got a small taste – literally – of the UK, before heading back to the airport early the next morning to fly to Bucharest. 

It was wonderful to arrive in Romania to familiar faces – the pastor here and others from the church – and to arrive in the daylight! We split up into a few vehicles and took a long and traffic-filled drive from Bucharest to Draganesti. Everyone in my van besides the driver and myself slept for almost the whole way. The highlight of the drive was when we stopped at a roadside bakery for some delicious bread.

We ate a delicious meal prepared by the ladies of the church when we arrived, then settled in at the missions house. Everything here feels so familiar, and I'm not the only one feeling like there's no way it's already been a year since we were last here.

Yesterday was orientation at the church, then we split up into smaller groups for different ministry activities. I got to return to the town of Maruntei, where I'd so enjoyed ministry last year, with one of the students. Nicoleta, a missionary there, picked us up, and we joined her while she did a kids' program in the village. 14 kids from the town showed up, and all 17 of us crowded into a small, cozy room to learn about the wisdom that only comes from God and to work on memorizing James 1:5a.

The student with me, who speaks no Romanian, easily caught on the end of the reference, since all the kids shouted it: “Cinci, AH!!” It was sweet to see how Nico and her husband Tavi's persistence in this town has paid off, and the sweet relationships that exist with the kids there. After the lesson, the kids enjoyed some snacks of oranges and cookies and we went to the park with them to play Rata Rata Gasca (Duck duck goose), and enjoy the almost-pleasant weather.

We got back to the church earlier than we'd expected, and were asked to help in the kitchen while the women prepared dinner for our group and for a group of pastors who were in a meeting at the church. I am not exactly at ease in the kitchen, especially not in someone else's, but it was a lot of fun to be a part of what the ladies were doing and to remember all the behind-the-scenes tasks that are tirelessly done day in and day out to make a ministry run. Our first full day was, I think, a great success.

Today, we split up into several groups again and visited 3 churches in the area. I went with Derek (our fearless leader) and 6 of the students, to the town of Comani. A very small congregation meets here, and we did a portion of the service ourselves – 3 students shared testimonies, Derek preached, and 3 of us sang songs. Tonight we joined the larger church here in Draganesti for their evening service, and it was so sweet. 

Truly, I can't believe it's only been a year. It seems like just yesterday we were walking these streets, eating these foods, and interacting with these people. There is much to be thankful for! I still don't know whether long-term ministry here is in my future, but there are answered prayers already as I get to spend time with the people here and build relationships. 

Currently, we're at that time of the night where teenage girls get this strange burst of energy while their sleepy chaperone gets really excited for bedtime. :-)  Off to bed with me!  Thanks for reading :-)

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