Tuesday May 3, 2016
I have been in Romania for just about three days now. It still does not quite feel real, but I know everything will sink in soon. When I walked to the car from the airport and looked around, I remember thinking, “This is going to be my new home for the next 2 months.” I was filled with excitement and a little bit of nerves. The unknown is always a little scary.
When we arrived to Bucharest, I got settled into the apartment where I will be staying and then everyone headed to Cami and Steve’s apartment. There is a beautiful park down the street from their apartment, where we stopped and ate papanasi, a famous Romanian dessert that is similar to a donut hole but with sour cream and jelly on top. In addition, May 1st in Romania is Easter Sunday, and Cami and Ana had prepared an Easter feast for us to eat when we returned from the park. We picked a great day to come, right? We sat in the living room and ate sarmale with mamaliga, salata de vinete, salata de boeuf, oua implut, and cozonac.
The next day we gathered our bags and made the drive to camp, about three hours from the city. We started work soon after with a couple of people working on insulation, Steve on the roof, and Cami and I helping Steve in whatever ways we could. Soon we had visitors. Teenagers from the nearby town came and asked to have a barbeque at the camp. They set up the grill, turned on some music, and danced, talked, and enjoyed each other’s company. It did not take long for a few of the boys to ask Cami if they could help with our ongoing projects. They were having a fun day with their friends, and yet they chose to volunteer their time to help Cami and Steve. My first real day of work in Romania, and I had already met a large group of teenagers and seen what they do on an average Monday afternoon. It was a different experience having people the same as me around and not being able to talk to them easily. But communicating was not as hard as you would think. I had Cami there to help me, and hand gestures really do go a long way. In addition, a few of the boys spoke English rather well.
Before I left the states, I did not spend much time thinking about what my time in Romania would be like. I was in the middle of finals at school and all I was thinking about was getting through them without killing my GPA. The night before I left I was thinking about fitting everything I needed for two months away from home into my suitcase. It wasn’t until I got on the plane that I started to think about what was actually happening. I was on a plane to another country, where I do not know the language, for two months. “What if I get homesick,” I thought. And “What if I don’t like it and want to go home?” What had I actually gotten myself into? But I’m glad I had these thoughts when I was on the plane, because at that point there was no turning back. I’m glad that I did not give myself time to doubt or question. The really cool thing about God is that he is Emmanuel, God with us. How often do we forget or ignore the simple truth that God is with us? I think if we were constantly aware of God’s presence in our lives we would take more risks, and doubt less. Cami was telling me that some people come here expecting to possibly become a full time missionary, and then realize it is not God’s plan for them. This does not mean that they failed. On the contrary, it means that they are one step closer to finding out God’s plan for their life. God uses our so-called “setbacks” to our benefit and brings us one step closer to Himself. Therefore, I am so expectant of things God wants to show me through being in this country, through my time with Cami and Steve, and through the amazing people that I will meet. In conclusion, I would like to encourage you to not let the unknowns keep you stagnant. If you stay in the same place and do the same thing for fear of the unknown, what is going to change? Even just taking a step forward is enough for God to do powerful things.