Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why Romania?

I was asked the question over and over again. Even now, I still don't have a very tangible answer. God knew. Here's how I ended up taking a trip to a country I've never been to, by myself, to work and live with people I didn't know, without knowing what I would actually be doing.

Romania is a country I have wanted to visit and experience. Perhaps because of the women's gymnastic team that dominated while I was growing up or the orphan situation, the country has been a fascination. Although I knew very little about it in reality. When the idea came to travel to Europe, the first and only place I looked was Romania.

God opened the door to work with Outstretched Hands for Romania. This ministry is at work to serve the people in impoverished villages of southern Romania. The country's primary religion is Greek Orthodox and a new and different church isn't always warmly welcomed. Yet, God has opened doors in over half a dozen villages for church services and children's programs that are changing lives. I will be highlighting those I was able to experience in the coming days.

After discovering Outstretched Hands, I sent an email to the director and after a few exchanges I had an open invitation to come and serve. I still wasn't convinced if I should go. I put the idea on the back burner and went on a summer vacation in the states. Yet, the idea was still tugging at my heart. Something in me wanted to get away and prove I could do this completely on my own. I had a decision to make quickly.

The question I kept asking myself was "If I don't take this opportunity will I regret it once it's gone?" I've let fear of the unknown keep me from too many things in my life. I had the time, finances, and place to serve. Yes! I would go. Yet for some reason I still hesitated to book my airfare.

One morning I got up and decided to get the ticket before I left for work. Then I got in my car and realized I had forgotten my cell phone in the car the night before. I had a voice message from my mom... something was wrong. For the next several hours and days the trip seemed to be up in the air. God knew. He knew that if I had gotten that message before the plane ticket, I might have missed out and my mom was safely in His hands.

As the trip approached, I was filled with an expectation that God was planning something for me in Romania. Compared to my previous trips, this required so little planning it felt strange. All I had to do was pack a bag and get on the plane. It was a gift in the sense that life here continued to be stressful, frustrating and disappointing. God knew. Getting away came at just the right time.

I was able to collect a suitcase full of items for Outstretched Hands from some very generous people. I think getting everything to fit into that one suitcase was the most stressful part of the trip planning.

 I made it to Romania without any hassle (so thankful!) still with the sense that God was up to something. It wasn't any great moment, or miracle, or revelation. Surprisingly, it was moments of being uncomfortable, disappointed with myself, and emotionally detached that reflected where I've grown and the places that still have a long way to go.

Why Romania?
Maybe to make her smile...

or to be loved on as I loved...

 I may not know why I chose Romania. But God knew.

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