Hey everyone, it’s Amy! Here goes my second blog attempt, as my first one was accidently deleted. I am hailing from the beautiful camp just outside the village of Micesti on day three. A lot has happened in the past few days as campers and leaders (Romanian and American alike) packed our bags Monday morning and headed out on the infamous ‘curtained’ bus. We all had a great time on the surprisingly smooth bus ride to camp, getting to know the campers better. After a quick inghetata (ice cream, which is VERY good here) stop, we all arrived at the camp situated on a giant hill above the city Pitesti. The camp is beautiful and includes two full-size soccer/ultimate Frisbee fields, a sand volleyball court, cabin-style dorm rooms, and an amazing large group meeting room/dining hall. After dinner (sorry, I’m not much of a food blogger), the entire camp gathered for evening program consisting of on-stage games, dancing to the camp theme song (Restart by the Newsboys, if you want to dance along), worship, and a talk by one of the Romanian leaders Razvan. We also met two superheroes (Alistair and Betty) and their malfunctioning robot (Cristy). Program ended with us splitting into our small groups and having a discussion over tea and biscuits (cookies).
Small group turned out to be a challenging time for many of us as we heard the stories of many of our campers for the first time. Before coming to Romania, we heard stories and watched videos about the way orphanages were in Romania and learned the situation in which many orphans grew up, but as the campers opened up and shared parts of their life, those stories we’d heard were suddenly sitting right in front of us. I know for myself, the reality of the Romanian orphans’ situation only truly hit me that night. The extreme poverty (specifically the lack of a families affection) these orphans have faced throughout their lives is becoming more and more apparent to us as we get to know them better and because of this we are beginning to fully realize the multitude of ways that our lives are blessed.
The question that is inevitably raised following a revelation like this is “why?” Why them and not us? Why were we born in the country we were and into the life we live, full of love and care, and not them? Why were they abandoned as children and not us? Why are we even here in Romania? What really are we doing? We come for a week of camp and then we leave, maybe to never return. Why? I don’t believe we can ever truly know the full answer to some of these questions. We discussed this idea of ‘why’ during our team meeting and came up with some ‘answers’: God is ‘why’ and he has a plan, but still we struggle. Sin broke this world, destroying our perfect relationship with God and made it so this world and our lives were not as He intended them to be. We should not be surprised to see this brokenness, because it is everywhere in the world. And God put us where we are according to His plan. We don’t know fully ‘why’ we were sent to Romania, but we know He told us to go. Some of the students who went to Honduras last year shared a bit of wisdom from Pastor Johnny: the question we should be asking is not “why”, but “how?” We have all been greatly blessed, in different ways, and instead of asking ‘why’, instead ask how can we use what we have to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and how we can share the Gospel with our words and actions and trust God for the rest. We can’t change our backgrounds and blessings, but we can use them.
Sami shared with the group that when she is at camp, surrounded by these amazing people, she doesn’t necessarily see their poverty, but instead her own. While they might not have many material possessions or they may not have grown up with love, they have a strong community that looks out for one another. We are all impoverished in different ways and we are all blessed in different ways. Perhaps ‘why’ matters less than ‘how’. How can we use what we have?
As we explore this idea together, please pray that we will continue to trust God with our mission here and not doubt His plan. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” –Matthew 28:19. We believe that God sent us to Romania. All the reasons may not be apparent right away, or for many years, but God knows. One of the Romanians leaders reminded us that what we are doing now – we don’t know the extent that it will affect things down the road. We do know, however, that both the Romanians and God want us here, so we come. And we also know that God is working and is faithful when we are obedient. Pray that we will remain present and open to be used to share the Gospel according to our abilities.
And now for some fun tidbits from camp! We are having a great time teaching English and learning Romanian (though it took me nearly ten minutes to learn the Romanian word for ‘ice cream’). Multiple people have been pied in the face. Lief likes to call Hershey Kisses Hershey ‘poopies’ (apparently the Romanian word for kiss is ‘poopie’ – LIEF: ACTUALLY IT’S PUPICI, BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE POOPIES, SO WHY NOT?). We’ve played soccer nearly every day and are sporting the blisters to prove it. Yesterday we were witness to a rousing performance of “The Giardia Blues”. Last night our small groups put together skits/chants/theme songs and performed them for the entire camp. We have also eaten lots of ice cream and started many water fights (the Romanians get very into these sorts of things).
Well, that’s all for me! Sorry for the novel, but the blog addicts are probably suffering withdrawal, so this should be good for them!