Phil and I left Texas, our home, eight weeks ago. We moved directly into our beautiful apartment which Cami Mather found us, went shopping for necessities with Cami and Rachael, and started our “Bucharest Bingo”; an ingenious way to help us learn to get around a city of 2 Million people and to learn about the culture. I have to admit, it has been very daunting for me! I grew up on a farm and have lived in small towns all of my life. But as God calls, He equips. I am slowly able to get out on my own and not getting too lost!
When God called us to move to Romania, it was before Hurricane Harvey. Our community of Rockport/Aransas Pass took a direct hit, and we weren’t sure how we could answer His call; there was still so much to do at home and in our community. But God...But God had a plan and He was going to see His plan through. Our Church and friends were still willing to support us financially and our family still supportive of God’s calling on our lives. So, after cleaning up our yard, fixing our home, getting our daughter and son married, and traveling to see family before we left, we packed up a few items and headed to Bucharest. (Yes, we had two weddings this past summer, but we are still alive!)
A lot of people, including orphans, ask us why in the world we would be willing to leave the plush and comfort of the US and come to Romania? Especially to work with the downtrodden? JESUS. Simply Jesus. He has placed in our hearts a love for those He loves; a people He wants to call His children. My heart has not always felt this way. I have been, and can still be, a very selfish kind of person. Just ask my husband! It’s easy for me to look out for number one!
I had dreams and desires that had nothing to do with God’s desires. Don’t get me wrong; I loved Him. I just wanted to live my life my way. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to spend my money on what I wanted. I believed in missions. My oldest daughter Nicole, from the age of 7, talked about being a missionary. My sister Janet talked about being a missionary from a very young age as well and was a missionary in Japan for a summer. I wanted to help people, just on my terms.
As our church, First Baptist of Rockport, started making changes on how we served, I attended the Serve Team meeting. I was already on the Missions committee with retired missionary Doc Edwards. Our church was changing some committees into Teams so that anyone that was interested could join in where they felt led. Somehow, my big mouth landed me the title of Serve Team Leader. So, I started to read every book on missions. I asked Doc for guidance constantly, to which he would so patiently answer all my questions. After all, I would need to know something as my oldest child had her heart set on missions, and I couldn’t lead a Team of something I knew very little about.
Our Youth Pastor, Jordan Mims, attended the meetings and we quickly adopted him as “Our Missions Pastor”. He has a huge heart for missions and planned his first mission trip for our church to Honduras. I prayed whether I should go since my youngest daughter Brittany begged me to, due to the fact that she was too young to go without a parent. I felt God’s call to go much to my chagrin. I told the Lord I couldn’t go because I was gluten free, because my heart fluttered if I didn’t get enough sleep, because…. I had all kinds of excuses, but I gave in and went to Honduras with both of our girls. This was a huge turning point for me.
We were worshiping one night at a Team meeting, and I knelt on the floor, ugly cried, and repented of my selfishness. Something happened to me that evening-I wanted to give everything-all of me to the One who loved me so dearly. I wanted to serve Him any way He wanted me to serve. My heart came alive and I knew that God was doing something new in me. When we got home, (imagine that! I survived!) the girls and I were so excited about our trip and all that had happened in our hearts that Phil and PJ went with us to Honduras the next time our church went. My whole family realized what it was like for us to serve the One we were supposed to serve, not ourselves.
Phil and I started to pray about what God was placing on our hearts. It was a stirring we couldn’t ignore. We tried! We went on with our lives, kept serving at our church, ministering at our jobs, and seeking the Lord quietly. After Phil’s car accident in June 2014, we prayed more fervently. We knew God kept him alive for a reason so we started having meetings with our pastors, asking for prayer and guidance. Our children and my mom would gather with Phil and I and pray for discernment. Looking back, it was such a precious time! Over a few years, we finally had answers.
We as a church, came to Romania in 2016 and served with IMB missionaries Dwayne and Donna Brown the first summer, and then came back the next summer and helped Steve and Cami at Camp Living Water. Cami and I had a heart to heart talk and she shared with me about Stepping Forward’s Intern program. We also heard from a Romanian missionary couple that was helping at the camp who needed help and encouragement in their ministry. Phil and I looked at each other, (that knowing way between couples), and felt like this was it. This is where God wanted us to serve. It was an exciting feeling that God was finally showing us what we were to do after years of praying, and a sinking feeling too. Leaving our families would be hard. But God reminded me that He is to be worshiped. Not my family. Him and Him alone.
So, here we are! In Romania! Sometimes, I feel it should be harder. I know we will have hard times - It’s part of ministry and life in general, but I feel like I should be struggling more, (granted I’m struggling with not having a great sense of direction) but in my quiet time with Jesus, I asked Him if it was wrong to be ok. To be doing good. You know what I felt in my spirit? It’s Time To Dance!! I’m in God’s will and I’m here serving Him full time. It’s my Dream Job! So, with Jesus right by my side and me by His side, and with the precious prayers of friends and family, we are doing Great! So, please keep praying for us because they are working!
We are so very thankful that God uses willing vessels for His Glory. To God Be the Glory!!