No genius epiphanies to share today. Merely a brief update on where I’m at and where I’m headed.
Where I’ve been:
If you’re just joining us, I’ve been in Romania for the past 5 or so weeks. I’ve had the pleasure of working with two distinct organizations but the majority of my time here has been spent with Tabara MIA, a summer camp and discipleship ministry. (If you’re interested, check out LifeRomania.org. These friends of mine are doing excellent ministry here and I pray that this is just the beginning of their impact on this country.)
Where I am now:
This past week, I had the distinct pleasure of joining the young staff of Tabara MIA for a week-long training experience. We were taught for 8 hours a day in two subjects: eschatology and practical leadership skills. It was great. I had forgotten how much I miss the classroom. That event was held in a small city about 2 hours from headquarters (the abode of ministry director and team dad, Iulian) called Curtea de Arges. We returned to aforementioned headquarters, located in the capital of Romania (Bucharest), yesterday. I will be here until Wednesday morning staying with aforementioned dad and family.
Where I’m going:
On Wednesday morning, I will have the further distinct pleasure and opportunity to accompany several of the staff with whom I have spent most of the month on a road trip to Budapest, Hungary. They are all attending a Bible school located there called Word of Life and I will travel with them. From there, I plan to bus to Munich, Germany to meet some family who had graciously offered to host me and explore Munich for a day or two.
That’s the tentative plan. Still praying for a door to a more permanent resting point as I continue to knock on doors to possible opportunities in the States. Still praying that God will make each step clear. But He hasn’t let me fall yet and I want to see this grand experiment through.
Appendix: Three Things I Learned while in Romania
Since I was taught this past week that experiences are only valuable when we analyze them and learn from them, I thought it was only right to try it out. Here goes:
1. When traveling by train, make sure you have time margin (especially when you have time-sensitive engagements afterwards like connecting train or bus rides). And in cases like a sudden engine failure on an overnight trip that results in a three hour delay, it’s sometimes necessary to ask your friendly compartment-mate Felix to borrow his phone and Facebook message the friends who were supposed to pick you up. But ultimate moral of the story: travel happens (or sometimes doesn’t happen). It’s going to be ok.
2. I’ve never been very good at receiving hospitality or gifts. Or compliments. But I’ve learned over the past weeks that when I thought I was trying to benefit others by not accepting things from them, I was actually creating barriers to deeper relationship and by refusing a reciprocity in giving/receiving, I can actually offend or alienate the people I really care about. As hard as I have spent much of my life trying to be an island, I’ve not only failed but have hurt myself and others in the process. This is a major paradigm shift that I need to commence in myself.
3. It is possible to live with a group of people who, most of the time, speak a language you can’t understand and yet still know and care for them well by the end of your time together. In fact, it (at least throughout this experience) affords a unique warmth and comradery that I haven’t experienced elsewhere.
Miss you all dearly and hope to see you soon!