Hello there! The Romania GO Team is currently located in Warsaw, Poland, preparing to return home. On the first day of our polish adventures we took a free tour around Old Town and debriefed on a rooftop garden of a library. After getting scolded for sitting on the grass (the Polish must be very particular about their greenery), we dined at a milk bar in the artsy part of town, Praga. No milk to be found, but there was some yummy food in this communist era restaurant; although the sugar pasta had a unique flavor not typically enjoyed by most. Conveniently located a few minutes from our hostel is a coffee shop where we can load up on caffeine and sugar for the day. The pancakes were deliciously sickening and everyone is a big fan of the coffee. On our second day of adventures we explored a garden, where we were yet again told to get off the grass, and then given free time to explore Old Town. Old Town is your picturesque European postcard, while New Town is similar to our big cities. We encountered many opportunities to buy family trinkets and find our own knick knacks, along with lunch and other unhealthy treats. We went through the Warsaw Uprising museum to get in a mild dose of education in our trip. We finished off our day with some Italian food, a light fountain show, and some ice cream treats from Om Nom Nom (as fun to eat as it is to say). It has been helpful and relaxing spending a few short days to look at the trip and reflect with the team. It has been a crazy experience and talking it over with people who have seen the same things has proven helpful. We look forward to seeing everyone very soon!


Now here is a message brought to you by the one and only Jed Munson… Continue reading

On the train

Hey it’s the cuddle train here- Olivia, Abbie, and Taylor- giving everyone a shout from the broken down train somewhere in Romania.  After a hard time with goodbyes we are all headed to Bucuresti for our team debrief. We are all looking forward to winding down after a long week at camp. Tonight is our last night with Daniel and his team before we travel to Poland. We plan on pulling an all nighter… But who knows how that’s going to turn out. Although we will miss Romania we are ready to get back to the states. Luckily we are bringing back someone to remind us of all the good times here… His name is Joe and we can’t wait for y’all to meet him!

Hey everyone, it’s Leah! After a fantastic meal of apples and granola bars we are ready to get this train moving again! It was great getting to hang out with some of the campers yesterday before having to say goodbye to them. Our team went to the mall where most of us splurged on the most amazing candy ever and then met up with everyone at the gypsy market. The market was a lot different from what most of us expected, but it was fun none the less. The Romanian leaders had to bargain for us Americans because we had no clue what was going on. I think they did a pretty bang up job. After that we headed up to Ethos church to make sandwiches for the homeless. It was cool to see all of the campers get so excited about helping others. We formed groups and went out to deliver them. We didn’t get them all handed out… To be honest I think that we even ate some when we could find no one else to give them to, but the people who received them were really moved by the gesture. It’s sad to be saying goodbye to Romania, but I know that I now have memories that I will cherish forever.

Reflecting On a Week of Camp

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dear friends and family,
Jeremy here. We arrived safely in Craiova today after an enjoyable bus ride through Romania’s country side (despite being woken up along the way by the smell of minty freshness as toothpaste was poured on to my face). Being the last day of camp, the morning was filled with tears of joy as both the campers and leaders realized how the past 5 days had affected them. Although camp had its difficulties and stretched everyone involved outside of their comfort zones, everyone felt that they had grown in some way by the end of camp. Last night, Jimmy shared the story of the prodigal son, painting a beautiful picture of God’s forgiveness and role as our heavenly father. This story, along with Daniel’s description of how adopting a Romanian orphan changed his life, hit home with the campers, almost all of them being orphans themselves. In my small group, we discussed how significant it is that we have God as our heavenly father, to whom we can look to for comfort and love, especially when we may have been abandoned or mistreated by our earthly parents. The most significant effect that camp had on myself was the realization of how often I take my own parents for granted. The stories of the campers in my small group highlighted for me that, even though we might quarrel and have disagreements, having parents that love you and worry about you, is a huge blessing. I hope to come back to the states with a renewed respect for my parents and all they have sacrificed for me, even when I disagree with my curfew, because many of the people I met this week grew up in a place that, if they did not come home one night, no one would even be there to notice.
From the beginning, camp became successively better and better as the campers were able to open up and break past their emotional barrriers that a life of challenges and mistreatment created. We thoroughly believe that camp was a success. It may have had its fair share of obstacles, but by the end week, we could visibly see and experience a change in the campers’ attitudes and personas. We hope that this week will have planted a seed in their hearts for Jesus to reveal his love and mercy to them, and pray that we will be able to put on similar camps for years to come.
As always, we sincerely appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Currently, we are attempting to recuperate after the long week of hard work at camp, and are looking forward to further discover how we have been changed by this past week’s experience. I hope that all is well back on the home front, and know that we miss you and are thinking of all of you.
Love and thanks,
Jeremy Gartland

Hiking Day

What it do America? We had a stellar day hiking today. The Romanians don’t mess around and wanted to go all the way to the top of the mountain*(see bottom) so we split into groups. About half of the people went for gold on the summit while us milder folks just hiked a little bit and enjoyed Nature. J Munny and I had the opportunity to swim in a nice little pool with a small water fall cascading into it. Even though the water was cold, YOLO was running high so it was still fun.  The weather was beautiful and it was so refreshing to get out and work a little bit while feeling God’s sweet beauty caress our bosoms. So overall everyone was super stoked about the day. Then tonight Daniel gave another really good talk and hit everyone with the gospel. Taylor, Jeremy, Josh, Betty (a Romanian), Leah, Olivia and Abbie did an amazing job on a skit depicting God making us, then us falling away, then God saving us again! Needless to say people were crying. We’re still working through some hard things with some of the campers but on the whole the small group talks have been progressing and getting better and better. Peace- Grog Continue reading

Late Night Blogging with Greg, Josh & Jed

What’s good America?  Greg here. The last couple days have been rad. Tonight Jimmy rocked the talk and from what the campers in my group said, it moved a lot of them. The relationships we’ve been able to build with the people here has been a gift. I don’t know if anyone’s told you guys but the “kids” at camp are actually all different ages between 17 and probably 35. A friend of mine named Dutu (it’s got an accent under the t so it sounds like dutzu) is kind of a small guy and he took some of my clothes that were super big on him and dressed up like a gangster and went to dinner. It was super funny. I guess you had to be there… but seriously everyone seems to be getting along really well. Tonight the guys in my small group opened up and talked about some of their past and shared some heart wrenching stories. It’s weird because we hear all these stories and think about how sad they are for a second but then forget them. It’s so much different sitting across from someone and them telling you that all they want is a mom but they don’t have one or their parents died and other things that I could never imagine. I’m not going to try to describe it too much because it’s something you can’t understand until you’re there in person, and I can’t give the emotions justice by writing them down. Just imagine not having a family, or anyone for that matter. That’s what the campers here deal with. It’s pretty heavy to hear and it’s tough mentally to process but there’s no doubt that we’ve been given an amazing gift. –Grog

Hello, Joshua here.  It’s hard to continue a blog post after experiencing the soul and flavor of the Grog—so I won’t try. Continue reading

Tabără!!!! (Camp)

Hey everyone!

Rachel Hartig here. Well here we are on the third day of camp! With all of the activities we’ve been cramming in, it seems as though we’ve been here way longer! With the time I have, I’m going to fill you in on some of the neat things that are going on around here.

Every day we have English lessons for one hour in the morning. These have been pretty darn fun and we all can’t wait for the English competition we’re going to have at the end of the week.  The only challenges I have encountered thus far are keeping the energy/attention levels high, and finding a way to include all ability and knowledge levels in one class. It definitely helps that Pat and Hannah are circulating throughout the groups with a big bag of reward candy!

We all know that camp wouldn’t be camp without some awesome talks and speakers each day. Every evening at 7:30, we start our nightly sessions in the dining hall. As Jimmy mentioned earlier, the theme of the week is “Who I am”. Last night was the first full talk given by Daniel, and he spoke about how we see ourselves and how the world sees us. Tonight Jimmy speaks on how God sees us. I can already tell that many campers are being touched and challenged by these talks! Yay! [The talk has happened since this was written and another blog post will come soon, I’m sure] Continue reading

A Taste of Camp

Jimmy here. Thanks for stopping by the blog for a little update on how things are going over here. I want to commence this address by saying THANK YOU for all your support before this trip even left. Some of you have been parents of the amazing members of this team, and what incredible people you have raised. Some of you are alumni of this trip and have had influence in the lives of Romanians who were campers years ago and are now leading at this camp. Many of you have supported the trip financially, and your generosity is, besides the will of God, the main reason we were able to make it over here and do what we are doing. And all of you who have been praying for us since the beginning and now are appreciated so much. We feel loved and encouraged by the Father’s Spirit. Keep the love coming.

On to the update. We learned early on that while we thought we were leaving for camp on Monday, we are now going on Sunday (returning Friday). This means we have had to really hit the ground running when it comes to planning, and we have accomplished a lot so far. We still have a lot to do tomorrow, but everything is and will be coming together in a sweet way. Alongside the Romanian leaders, we have come up with tons of games, skits, songs, dramas, talks, and more so that the campers, who grew up in the orphanages, will experience love, grace, and community in the way we were made to experience it. Continue reading


17594_10151705798509520_532446954_nHey, That’s us!

From Earlier: Hello friends and family! This is Sami and I am updating you on our whereabouts and shenanigans. We have reached the airport and we are currently enjoying homemade cake pops while waiting for our flight. We are all still energized with excitement and so far no tired fits have broken out….but we’ll see how that changes after the flight!  Only a couple hours and we will be on our way to Warsaw, Poland. And then we will be headed to Romania!

And now we are in Warsaw! It’s Grog (Greg) here, and we have to say, the Warsaw airport is pretty rad. They’re relaxed about money and not too worried about exact change. I bought some orange juice. It’s super nice. Logan saved a woman’s life on the plane after she passed out. I actually didn’t see it myself but I heard it was pretty awesome. Also we got tired for a second but now we’re over tired so it’s all good. 

Peace friends! We will update again soon. It’s 10:30am here, and 3:30am at home. So basically we time traveled.

We Leave Tomorrow!

Greetings Blog Followers!

It is time to add this website to your RSS feeds, homepages, favorites, or whatever because we are leaving for Romania and will be flooding this blog with pictures, videos, and stories of the amazing things God will be doing while we are working with the amazing people in Romania.

Here’s a brief outline of the trip so you know a little bit about what to expect:

  • We fly out of Chicago on July 10th and arrive in Bucharest on the 11th. We will get into our “home” city of Craiova on Thursday night (Romania time, which is 8 hours ahead).
  • We will spend 3 days in Craiova doing outreach and planning for camp with the team of Romanians with Open Roads Ministry.
  • Then it’s off to Camp! We will spend 6 days in the Transylvanian mountains with a group of kids who grew up in the orphanages sharing the love of Christ, teaching English and having a bunch of fun together.
  • We will be back in Craiova and Bucharest for a few days to do a reunion and debrief our camp experience with the Romanians
  • Our last two days will be spent debriefing the trip in Warsaw, Poland, preparing our hearts to come back to our normal lives in Madison after experiencing something that will have deeply impacted us.
  • We will fly home from there and get back to Madison on the night of the 26th.

You can join us in prayer, praying for the Romanian orphans that will be experiencing God’s love at this camp, probably for the first time. Pray for them to be open to being changed and for us and the Romanian leaders to have clear words to share with them.

And your comments on our posts are read whenever we can and are of infinite value to us. We love hearing from you, and your comments on the blog fill us with a ton of joy.