Wednesday May 25
I do not even know where to begin because I have so much to share with you all! I have been in Romania for three and a half weeks now, and the time has flown by faster than I ever could have imagined. I have learned so many things, both practical and personal. In my time here I have gone to the notary and other government buildings (which is an adventure all on its own), to the ballet and the symphony, to a school and an orphanage, to parks and malls and piatas (outdoor fruit & vegetable markets), to afternoon tea, to the Village Museum on International Museum Day, and so much more. I have also learned how to navigate my way around the city on public transpiration- you have to celebrate the small victories. :)
If you were wondering, paperwork takes FOREVER in Romania. Think about the time you wait in line at the DMV in America, multiply that by four, and you are getting close to how long and arduous the process is here. Cami has been trying to get the paperwork that allows us to work with children for about nine weeks. Yes, nine. And this week we finally got it!! Many of the government buildings here do not have parking lots. If by some chance they do have a parking lot, it is usually for the employees and not the general public. There is also no place to sit once you get inside of the building even though you quite possibly could be waiting for hours. I definitely counted it as a cultural experience. Romanians are not driven by time the same way that Americans are. Many Romanian families do not even have clocks in their homes. The world moves at a different pace over here.
I have also rediscovered grace in these past three and a half weeks. I have heard the word grace everywhere. Cami and I were talking in the car one day about how understanding the grace of God is such a freeing experience. Then I went to an international church and the first song we sang was about grace. In addition they were starting a new series that Sunday on (you guessed it) grace. God gives grace when you miss home and the Mexican food that your dad makes. You find grace when you deal with difficult people in government buildings. There is grace when you are faced with a tough decision, when your car breaks down, and when people spit in your face over and over. God is so much bigger than you and me. I found God at the symphony. The same God that created music loves us and desires a relationship with us. The same God who gifted those musicians also gifted us with different talents. Everyday is another day to find God and see the grace that He gives. It is hard to be a missionary, especially a missionary in Europe. The average time for missionaries to live in Romania is three years. Why does it work for some and not for others? There is such a balance involved. Cami was explaining that you have to be somewhat closed off to the emotional side of things. When you see so much poverty and abandoned children and women in trafficking situations, you have keep it together or you will have a breakdown. We are not meant to handle all of those horrible situations and take each one to heart. However, at the same time you have to keep your compassion. Your heart for the people cannot become bitter over time. God offers grace for this balance. He offers grace when we mess up and when we think that the world is all about us. I am so thankful for the grace that He constantly offers.