Debrief: Budapest and the reality of home

(Alyssa here)

As hard as it was to get on that train in Romania, the many hours to Hungary provided an opportunity to decompress some of the things we experienced. When we stepped off the train in Budapest, reality began to hit that we were no longer in the country that had stolen a special place in our hearts. It was tough, but better to dip our toes into a bustling city in Europe than to cannonball right back into the deep waters of our lives back at home. Continue reading

Thoughts From the Train

Wow. That’s almost all we can say.

Its Emily and Taletha here, typing on the no-longer sweltering hot train, on our way to Budapest, Hungary.

Let’s talk about camp! I (Emily) was in a group with four campers, one translator, and six Americans. Something that surprised me was when one of the campers expressed that anyone who didn’t experience their stories would be unable to comprehend the hardship of their lives. This took me aback. I completely understand what she was saying. In the eyes of the majority of the world, we are wealthy people. We have a home, clothing, food, and most importantly, family. Later on in the week, the campers came to a conclusion that the scale of trauma and hard times in each of our lives is relative to each of us; therefore, we cannot judge those times or take them lightly. By the end of the camp, one specific camper decided that our team was sent because we have had difficulty in life. She believes that many people do not have any hardship. We ask for prayer that she is able to understand that every single human being has tough times in life, and as a result of those times, we learn to lean on God even more than before. Continue reading

All Aboard!

Hello to all the faithful blog addicts out there! We are currently (as of writing, but not as of posting) three hours into the 10 hour train ride to Budapest. Snack stockpiles are quickly being depleted and emotions are running ravenous. This morning was the one that I consider to be the hardest of the trip; saying goodbye. The moment is one that I had successfully pushed to the back of my mind for the duration of our time in Romania, but its arrival was inevitable Continue reading

Working Alongside God

Before camp started, Dana told us that this year’s camp would not be about fun.  She wanted a strong focus on the gospel and deeper conversations.  Although Dana (mostly joking) said fun was not allowed, we had a TON of fun at camp this past week.  Being blessed with the opportunity to return to work with along with Open Roads ministry two years in a row, I (Ben Hersh) have seen incredible development and progress in the campers and greater levels of spiritual maturity in my friends on the Open Roads leadership team.  Being here for just a week once a year, the changes I see are extremely clear and encouraging.

The development of the campers is a HUGE testament to the Open Roads team and the work they do week in and week out, sharing the love of God.  As the team from Blackhawk, we only get to be here once a year for a week.  We have the chance to partner with this wonderful ministry and encourage the leaders.  Camp was a remarkably uplifting experience for us and for the Open Roads team. Continue reading

No Comprendo

Yo dawgs, its Giraffe* (Dakota) and Chocolate* (Hannah) here! Camp has been an absolute blast, aside from the fact that it has been rockin awesome! You are probs wondering why we named the title No Comprendo. Well, we have an answer for you. We no comprendemos most of the campers. And it’s awk because sometimes I (Hannah) will try speaking Spanish to them. Because if you don’t speak English, you most likely speak Spanish, right? No. Romanian is such a crazy diverse language. At times, it can be difficult to understand the emotion that is coming across because it has such a harsh overtone. Let’s just say that we have nailed the whole reading-body-language thing. Continue reading

Ali We Need A Title don’t forget this


We have officially been at camp for over 24 hours, and what a crazy 24 hours it has been! We (Ali and Noah, probably the best sibling pair on the trip, just kidding Hershberger brothers, or are we…) are currently sitting in the back of the gathering room slightly wet and tired listening to the worship team rehearse while we try to stay dry. This is also potentially one of (if not the) quietest places in all of camp. This loud camp has been buzzing of joys of laughter that hasn’t stopped since getting off of the big Mercedes bus yesterday (Don’t let the Mercedes part mislead you) even though we were supposed to get some sleep somewhere in there. Whoops. Continue reading

Clever Title (and more!)

(Kira here)

My first trip to Romania was two years ago, and this was many of the current orphan attendees’ first year at camp. I feel very blessed to be able to recall that experience at Coffee House last night, because it is proof of how much each of the orphans has grown and developed in their time at Open Roads. Coffee House is what we call the pre-camp get together event where all the campers and counselors gather to get to know one another before diving in to our week at a secluded camp near the mountains (pray for us). It was a joyful event and so hilariously fun. Continue reading

Scrumptious Shaorma – A Food Blog

For dinner we went to a famous (to us) shaorma restaurant called Ali Baba. Shaorma is a succulent meal wrapped in a tortilla. There’s savory chicken, crisp vegies, delicious French fries, and a choice of special sauces. The sauces included mango delight, tangy pomegranate, marvelous mayo, buttery garlic, and exotic spice. Basically, we experienced a chunk of heaven in the backstreets of Craiova. For me (Cabbage), the first bite experience was fireworks shooting off in my mouth. It’s basically the best thing since the internet. Personally, I (Dan), felt a deep sense of shalom – everything was at peace. I truly believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone had access to high quality shaorma. It’s the with a side of rawesome (really awesome). Looking at this heavenly creation will change your diet forever. Just the aroma of this masterpiece will cause will your tongue to start swelling, only to be satisfied by a full stomach of superb shaorma. Shaorma is a full body experience and is most definitely the rich food talked about in Psalm 63. Continue reading