Saturday, August 7, 2010

Romania in Review

Here's a little summary of the work my team was doing over the past 8 weeks with KidzRomania! It's pretty obvious that our work was also lots of fun! =)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

After a week full of office work, JBQ tournaments, village outreaches, and road trips, I am preparing to leave once again for a three day Vacation Bible School about 5 hours away. It's hard to believe that I only have two weeks left of my time here in Romania. No time can be afforded to sit and reflect though because our last two weeks are completely full. After we return from our VBS we have two days to pack and squeeze in our last bit of sight-seeing, then we leave for two camps back to back. In our first camp, we will be working with Turkish Muslim Gypsy children. Our second camp is on the other side of Bucharest, so we will be working with children from a local church.

I am really enjoying every minute of my time here. I am so excited to see what God does in these last few weeks. He has been so faithful to our team. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Snapshot of the Past 5 Weeks

I have added a few links with albums containing pictures of my adventures so far. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so maybe this will make up for my lack of writing. Enjoy:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Let Me Fill You In!

Well, it’s officially been three weeks today since I first arrived in Romania. My team and I have been so incredibly busy that I have barely had time to write. You may have noticed the lack of blog updates, and I’m sorry for that. In one short post, I will try to fill you in on everything we have been doing here. Ready… Go!

For the first full week we were here, we spent almost every day working in the office. We prepared skits, songs, and illusions for the programs we would be doing in villages during the summer. I loved helping Jan and Rachelle plan schedules and make props in preparation! That’s right up my alley! We had our first program two weeks ago in a very small village in the middle of a field. Even though it was our dress rehearsal, the children were overjoyed by our presentation. We shared about finding the truth in Jesus Christ using clowns, puppets, games, and more!! I had so much fun! But that was only the beginning… We had two more programs the next day; one at an orphanage, and the other at a kindergarten graduation. The weekend in its entirety was a total success!

Next, it was time to prepare for a short term missions team from Wichita, Kansas. Jan, Grati, and Rachelle spent hours preparing their schedule and the villages in which they would minister. We spent the week preparing 17 beds with new sheets and towels, doubling bins full of supplies and props, and completing other various tasks that were needed for their arrival. Meanwhile, camp was in the back of our minds, so we were preparing a program for that event as well. The Kansas team consisted of 7 leaders and 10 kids/teenagers. They were in Constanta for two days, but we traveled with them the last portion of their trip to a few different villages. It was neat to be able to watch the program with the kids as the group performed.

While the group was here, we traveled through the Transylvania Mountains to visit Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle, on their free day. The trip up there was a little rough because several group members got sick, but luckily I managed to steer clear of the stomach bug for the first time in my life. I couldn’t help but smile as I stared out the window. The view was beautiful and I was surrounded by wonderful people! I was perfectly content! We took a tour of the castle, and it was fabulous! Then, we got to shop… even more fabulous!! We finish the day with shaorma (my favorite food here) to top it all off! We were sad to see the team go, but we still had a lot of work to do so there was no time to rest!

I will give more details about the villages that we visited at a later time. There is a lot there to tell and I want to spend more time on those posts so I get it right. The past few days we have put in 9-10 hour work days at the office preparing every detail for camp. As I finish this post, the vehicles are packed and we are preparing to leave for the camp we have worked so hard to plan. I get to be a counselor in a room of girls! They don’t speak English and I don’t speak Romanian, but I am excited to see how everything works out! I’m sure I will have many stories to tell when I return. I may also get a day or two off when I get back, so hopefully there will be more blog posts coming your way!!

Until then, please pray that God would give us the strength to make it through the camp. Also, that both staff and children will be safe and healthy. Pray that the language barrier would not become a frustration or hinder my team from sharing the love of Jesus with our campers. We have children coming from many different villages that Jan has worked with before, but the government is also sponsoring 12 children from a secular orphanage to come to our camp for the first time! We are excited about their attendance, so please remember those students in your prayers. We are praying that they really enjoy the camp, that they will be open to the teaching, and as a result, the orphanage will want to work with us further in the future! Thank you for your continued prayers! God Bless!

Beautiful Mountains:

Part of Bran Castle:

So Many Kids:

Behind the Curtain:

A clown from the Kansas Group with adoring fans:

Jan with a Young Girl from the Village:

Kansas Team Member Megan with the girls:

Having Fun Even though it's 102 Degrees!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This is the Start of Something Good

So this is slightly delayed, but I'm trying to catch you up bit by bit. This is my journal from May 29th...

This is the start of something good

After a very busy and tiring first day in Romania, I must admit that I was not looking forward to an early morning, followed by a three hour drive. What I was initially dreading turned out to be a fabulous day.

Today we worked with Travis, a missionary currently working with Jan, and helped run a Junior Bible Quiz tournament in Constanta. This is a city right on the Black Sea, East of Bucharest. Chelsea and I rode in a van with three Romanian volunteers who spoke little English. It was quite an adventure trying to communicate, but we tried to pick up a few words to add to our Romanian vocabulary. I also tried to keep my eyes peeled during the drive to admire the Romanian countryside, but after about an hour, I fell fast asleep. I fully believe that this nap was important preparation for the long day.

When we arrived at the church in Constanta, we unpacked our equipment and began preparing for the event. Since I don’t speak any Romanian, I didn’t figure I would be of much use, but Travis and Jan had jobs for us to do. Each girl was assigned to a Romanian Quiz Master to keep time in their room. All I had to do was count seconds on my watch, but I was simply glad to be useful. I was also paired with a fantastic quiz master, Adrianna, whom I quickly befriended.

Instead of electronic buzzers, the kids used flyswatters with an X in the middle of the table. The flyswatters actually seemed more fun, not to mention, a lot more cost effective! So clever! I was amazed at the knowledge that the kids had about the Bible. Though I did not speak their language, it was apparent that they had studied the Word and spent much time in preparation. The JBQ program is really taking off here, so it was neat to be a part of the action.

After the tournament, our team drove through the city to the coast of the Black Sea! It was incredibly beautiful! We were all so excited to roll up our pants, take off our shoes, and feel the sand between our toes. We spent several hours searching for sea shells and watching fisherman reel in their catches on the pier. We explored as much of the area as we could before being dragged off to find something to eat. I could have been content to camp out on the beach all evening, but home required a three hour drive, so we packed up and hit the road.

I spent an afternoon at the Black Sea, and it was well worth the drive…


The participating kids with Adrianna:

There it is...

Our Group, from left to right:Me, Chloe (Travis' daughter), Chelsea, Ruthie, Sarah, Adrianna

That's Me!

Happiness is...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Time To GO!

With Chelsea in the Madrid Airport

Here I sit in the Madrid airport with Sarah, Chelsea, Ruthie, Rick, Jan, and Jonathon, awaiting our plane to Bucharest. We had quite an interesting start to our morning. The three alarms that we set to wake us up did not go off, so we had about 5 minutes to get dressed, finish packing, and walk out the door to catch our ride. I look a little rough right now, but am content to be safely here at the airport and ready to travel to the final destination. Though, our flight has been delayed a few hours due to an air traffic control strike in France. And we were worried about the volcanic ash…

I cannot begin to describe how much these past few days of orientation in Madrid have meant to me. Through all of our sessions, I gained so much knowledge; my eyes were truly opened to life as a missionary and the spiritual condition of Europe in general. All of the missionaries present, Paul Trementozzi, area director of Southern Europe, Joy West, Kendall Reavis, Gil Rodriguez, and Jamie Robinson were so kind and welcoming. They really took care of us, and I am so appreciative for their generosity toward us. I am also indebted to those who spoke to us in the different sessions. I am grateful for their transparency and willingness to be vulnerable so we could benefit from their testimonies. Even if this was the end of my trip, it would still be worth it for all of the knowledge and insight I have gained.

Though it’s hard to say goodbye to a beautiful city, the wonderful Dave Moore, and all of my fun new friends, I know that the time is right. Greater things are on the horizon. I had an incredible experience in Madrid, and I can look forward to my return, but Bucharest awaits. I was reading in John last night and came across this passage:
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

As I read this verse, I felt like the Lord was speaking to me about my experience and my own simple faith. I am so enamored and thrilled with my time in Spain for I have seen the Lord working and my cup has been filled to overflowing. How could it get any better than this? Just like Nathanael, I am amazed at the little that I have seen, but my God says there is more! I must believe in faith that greater things are yet to be seen. God’s spirit is not limited to Madrid, so why should I expect things to slow down now. This is just the beginning…

Tourists For A Day

As I write this evening, I have a bit more color in my face, several more pictures in my camera, and enough new memories to last a lifetime! I must admit; however, as perfect a day as this was, it did not come without a few fears. Let me start at the beginning though… In order to accomplish a few things before orientation this morning, the girls and I hesitantly skipped Café & Te for a quick American treat, Dunkin Donuts. In my defense, I ordered Italian coffee and a croissant to remind myself that I was in fact, in Spain!

Day 2 of orientation was just as wonderful as the first. We learned about maintaining realistic expectations, an excellent lesson for a struggling perfectionist, and tips for maintaining devotion in commotion. We also spent a little time team building as well! Every story told by the different missionaries was incredibly honest and so valuable to my preparation for this trip. I am learning more and more about life as a missionary. It has its rewards, but its surely not all flowers and butterflies. The honesty and insight was much appreciated! My eyes have been opened and I am now so much more thankful for our missionaries in the field and their willingness to press forward in God’s calling even in the face of hardship.

After our first three sessions, we grabbed a quick lunch, a ham sandwich and a cold vegetable soup called gazpacho, then it was time for the highly anticipated walking tour of Madrid. To be honest, it even exceeded my expectations. We visited the Plaza Mayor, the Plaza de España, the Opera House, the Mercado in San Miguel, the Madrid Cathedral, and the Royal Palace of Madrid which is the largest in Europe. We all enjoyed one another’s’ company as we walked around the city, with permission to be tourists for a few hours. The sights were absolutely beautiful! I am already excited about our return to Madrid when we can explore these sights further.

This evening, we finally got to meet our missionaries and get acquainted over dinner at Museo de Jamon, where I enjoyed a traditional Spanish dish, Paella. Paella consists of chicken, shrimp, mussels, clams, and squid in a bed of rice and veggies, covered in some type of sauce. Basically, the dish tasted like the ocean… it was interesting, but not bad. Rick was not available to meet with us, so the four of us girls met with Jan and her son Jonathan. I can already tell I will enjoy working with Jan! She is so sweet and personable. We all spent time talking about Romania and Jan’s ministry during dinner, and although I was excited, I started to get a little nervous. I learned that we would be traveling frequently, many times to places with nothing but an outhouse with a hole in the ground for restroom facilities. Jan also told us that the Romanian language is quite hard to learn, so our work will probably involve much more serving behind the scenes, because it will be very difficult for us to communicate. To put it simply, this internship will be challenging and require me to stretch myself beyond what I currently believe myself capable.

Though I am nervous, I reminded myself on the walk back to the hostel that I did not sign on for this experience because it was glamorous, I applied because I wanted to serve God and share His love with those in need. In all reality, I need to be stretched beyond my comfort zone, to broaden my worldview, to learn how to fully depend on God. I am no more entitled to the luxuries of this world than any person I will come in contact with over the next several weeks, and this experience will be a great reminder.

To end the evening on a light note, the girls and I shared some gelato, watched a chick flick, and just laughed over silly conversation to lighten the mood. I know that everything will be ok, or better than ok, everything will be great! Looking forward to one more day in this beautiful city!

The famous statue of the bear and the tree in Puerta Del Sol

Don Quixote Statue in the Plaza de Espana

That's me in front of the Royal Palace: You can't even see 1/3 of it in this picture

The Royal Cathedral

With Sarah in Plaza Mayor