Thank you all so much for your prayers and support for the family mission trip to Romania this spring. We had a wonderful time serving the Romanians together alongside of other Christians there. We have included some pictures, stories, and a slideshow to give you a picture of what you helped happen through your prayers.
Who: 36 People (21 Kids/15 Adults)
What: A family mission trip to Romania
Where: Timisoara, Buziaş, Recaş, Moşniţa Noua
When: March 2 – 11, 2012
Why: To share Christ and His love with those in Romania
How: God’s help and your prayers
Here is a 5-minute slideshow that will give you a good picture of the trip:
Travel to and from Romania went well, a near miss of a flight only making things more exciting. While a little sickness is not uncommon on most mission trips, this one had a bit more of it than we’d seen on others. Many of the team members experienced a cough and some a fever (swine flu?), but God used it to grow the team’s relationships, help us realize our need for Him more, and witness to others as we kept serving even in the midst of discomfort.
In the nine days we were in Romania, we had many chances to spread the love of God in these settings:
Buziaş Detention Center – a prison for boys ages 14 to 18
Zeke with the boys at the detention center
Potter’s House – a ministry to underprivileged kids and their families
Doing crafts at Potter’s House
Recaş Orphan School – a residence and school for orphans, ages 3 to 16
The Weary family with their group at the orphanage school
Moşniţa Noua – each family went door to door in a small village sharing about Christ, and that evening we hosted a small family conference
Kid’s session during the conference in the village
Betel Church, Timisoara – we put on a two-day family conference at a large church
A family challenge at the family conference
Ministry Leader Encouragement Dinner – the team hosted a dinner for missionaries and ministry leaders
The first four nights the team stayed at a hotel, but after that we moved to the homes of host families who opened up their homes to some big American families. Getting to connect and live with Christ-following Romanian families was a great opportunity and big blessing. Here are some cool stories from team members that we hope will show you how the Lord was working in Romania and in our lives as well:
God Understands English Too – I saw the fingerprints of God almost everywhere we went…but one thing that stood out to me was at Buziaş detention center and Recaş orphanage when the children/boys were singing songs and reciting Bible verses in their own language. I remember at Buziaş when the boys were going to recite John 3:16 and Pastor Doru asked us to join them commenting, “God understands English too.” In that small phrase, God pointed out to me that he has children all around the world; “… that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11 ESV). He opened my eyes to what his church really was, not just the small church building that I go to, or the people that I know who go there, but people all around the world, every tribe, tongue and nation. So even though we went there to love, serve, and encourage them, they ended up encouraging me as well. (Samantha Cathey, age 15)
Our Sickness, His Power – I think that out of the whole trip, I enjoyed the family conference the most. In those two days, God showed me that even when we are at our lowest, He is still in control and He will use everything to bring Him glory. As I reflect on the events during the family conference, two verses come to mind. The first is 2 Cor. 12:9, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Over the two days of the conference, I watched as the team received the fulfilling of these promises. Even when they felt worse than they looked (which in itself was terrible) they persevered and God was faithful in providing the strength they needed. (Emma Turner, age 14)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – I’ve often wondered why that phrase has “ugly” in it. I’ve reasoned that, “the good” and “the bad” pretty much covers it. In Romania, I’ve seen both. Bad things sure don’t hide; like our whole team getting sick. We’ve gotten to experience loads of good, too; like Believers worshipping together in different languages or helping to push back the darkness at Potter’s House. A lot of good and a bit of bad seem to make up our mission trips, but this time I’ve begun to more deeply understand “the ugly”. When kids at the orphanage eagerly asked, “Are you coming back soon?”, the look of sadness and resignation when I said, “No” sure wasn’t pretty. Nor was the look of hopelessness in the eyes of the poverty-stricken family and the world of difference standing as a barrier between us, as we gave them food and left, just like that. I’m still figuring out what exactly God wants to teach me through the “ugly” – I know it’s something, because it was impressed upon me strongly, but unlike the other lessons from the trip, it isn’t clear-cut and joy-filling. Maybe it’s motivation to do more in His kingdom. Maybe it’s a deeper realization of the chasms of brokenness in our world. Or it could possibly be the understanding that I can do absolutely nothing alone – only God through me. (Maddison McGee, age 16)
Not What I Expected – When I first heard I was going to Romania I was not too thrilled. I had my first soccer tournament that weekend and just really did not want to go. I thought the trip would be a waste of time. After getting to Romania though things started to change. Our host family was one of the most inviting and hospitable families I had ever seen. They accepted us into their house as total strangers and treated us to the highest of their abilities. The days flew by and before I knew it we were off to go visit some boys at a juvenile prison. I was highly nervous especially about the fact that I had to do a skit in front of all of them. After the skit was over I began to calm down and notice that the boys in front of me weren’t really any different from myself. Then we got to meet a group of them personally and I was really moved at how motivated through Christ some of the boys were at gaining a better relationship with him, and how motivated they were to change to a better lifestyle. I developed several relationships with them and will never lose the memories I gained there. I met some truly amazing people and shared some truly amazing experiences with them. I left the country with a totally new attitude from how I started. I wouldn’t have traded the trip for the world. (Thomas Lee, age 14)
The trip was an incredible gift from the Lord for the entire team. We went to be a blessing to others, and in return we were blessed immensely. As we watched God expand His kingdom, he took new ground in our lives as well. We thank the Lord for letting us have this wonderful opportunity.
While there are some amazing Christ-followers in Romania, much of the country is still in darkness. Please continue to pray with us for those in Romania who haven’t yet come to follow Christ and for those who are continuing to expand His kingdom there. Thank you for all your prayers.
Love in Christ,
Abby Grace for the entire Sonrise Romania Team