I've been back from Romania almost a week now, and people have asked me why I haven't blogged yet. There are several reasons. First, I really just haven't had a chance to sit down at a computer and spend the time blogging. Second, I'm not really sure how to begin blogging about my experiences. Third, if I did start blogging about my experiences, it would most likely be a very long blog.
So, what I think I'm going to do is blog my Romania encounters in several parts. I was only there a week, but so much happened. I met so many amazing people. There's too much to say in just one blog post. There are too many people I want to blog about, too many one-on-one encounters. Basically--my world was changed. When that happens, it's kind of impossible to just sum it all up in one blog.
Now, my life-changing experience began rather unusually. It was October of last year. We were having some business type meeting at the church. My pastor announced an upcoming mission trip. He was talking about Romania. He was talking about a women's conference. As far as I was concerned, he was talking to someone else.
All I really knew about Romania is that it was somewhere in Europe. It was not on the list of top ten countries I wanted to visit. But then my pastor said five little words that caught my attention and changed my life. He was saying women should sign up to go. He said, "You've Got Something to Say."
On the way to church that night, I'd been listening, on repeating loop, the Matthew West song, "You've Got Something to Say." I'd been praying that very day for God to show me exactly what that meant for me. And when my pastor said those words, I realized I had better start praying about going to Romania.
Now, originally, the trip was supposed to be to both Hungary and Romania. It was supposed to be a women's conference. Well, not many people signed up, and several details changed. We were no longer doing women's conferences. We were no longer going to Hungary. We were just going to Romania. But I prayed through it and still knew that I was supposed to go.
I had raised funds. I had garnered a lot of support. It was clear that God was in the plans for me to go to Romania. We had our training meetings. Everything was set. I knew I was meant to go.
Yet, in an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, on the way to Romania, I remember waking up from a brief nap. I woke up in a really bad mood. If I hadn't been there with our very small team, composed of three other people that didn't know me well, I might have had a mini freak-out session. Because I was just overwhelmed with the one question that had been in the back of my mind ever since I first knew I was supposed to go on the trip.
"God, why Romania?"
What was so special about Romania that God would want me to go?
The question was answered pretty quickly after I arrived.
Why Romania? What's in Romania?
People. There are people in Romania. There are people God wanted me to meet in Romania. They are beautiful, wonderful people whom, if I were left to my own understanding and resources, I would have never met. And in the majority of these blogs about my time in Romania, I want to focus on these people, on my encounters with them. I've spoken about some of these encounters in church, and I've posted pictures online and written on scrapbooking pages. But let's face it, three minutes of anxiety-ridden talk time in church can't cover the true heart of my experiences (though I was definitely grateful to have those three minutes to share--and I pray God used that time to also give me "something to say"). A picture is worth a thousand words, but the images are as fleeting as a glance if the story behind them isn't told. And there is at least one story I'd like to tell about one remarkable woman, and well, that's too powerful to be shared in a three minute talk. It's too precious to be shared in a picture.
So in the next week or so I hope to be blogging a little more than usual. I want to share these stories. I want to share about these encounters with these people. Because even though I'd never given a second thought to this little country in Eastern Europe, the Romanian people have stolen my heart. And I want other people to have just a glimpse into their world, seeing through my eyes, though my vision is far from perfect.
The reflection is always going to be poor on this side of heaven, but if anything, Romania has shown me that there are brothers and sisters I have on the other side of the world. By all practicality, I should have never been able to see these brothers and sisters face to face in this limited lifetime. But I have seen them face to face, and even if I don't again see them face to face in this life, I will see them face to face again One Day.
And we'll all see Jesus face to face, and know as fully as we are known.