We did a thing. Pray for us.

We did a thing. Pray for us.
We have officially said our good-byes and are currently chilling on the train. The last 24 hours have been quite the blur, as have the couple hundred hours before that. They tell me today is Monday, so I’ll try and get out what went down yesterday: it was hot, we sweated through church in the morning, it was hot, we went to the mall to cool off, and we went to a restaurant before ending the night in an emotional rush as we left on our (hour late) train. The final hugs were simultaneously too long and infinitely too short. Long goodbyes just make it harder, but how can you possibly express the full weight of your feelings for a person in just a short embrace? But we tried. Once we did make it to the train, the sleeper cars were, at least for me, a necessary rest from the craziness of the past couple weeks. We moved into the cattle cars as we neared the Hungarian boarder, and I sit and write from there as I watch the landscape blurring past.
As I reflect back, I have a deep thankfulness for the relationships I’ve been able to form in my three trips to Romania. But the stronger the bonds the more difficult the good-byes, especially when it is likely the last time I will see most of my Romanian friends. Last week at camp Noah reminded us that we ought to rejoice always, and assume an attitude of thankfulness that leads to constant joy. But it’s a challenge to be joyful through the challenge of goodbyes, and that will be my struggle in debrief. We are all still processing a camp that looked a little differently from each of our own perspectives, and we will all experience this debrief through our own lenses. The trip has never been one size fits all, and I feel that now more than ever as I look back on what will have been my last trip as a high schooler, having said my goodbyes to the faces I met as a kid clueless to the importance they would one day hold.
We all need prayer now as much as any other part of the trip. Please pray that we would ask the hard questions, think the thoughts we’ve fought to avoid, and trust the big man upstairs through it all. And pray that we would refuse to come home the same person we left as. That we would return a clearer reflection of the light, and that those around us would see more of Jesus in the way we live our lives.
Thank you guys for following us this far, and I hope you can be patient with us as we work out our experiences in debrief and on through our return home.
In his name,
Dan
Shoutout to Abby K. for giving me more than I asked for when I borrowed her water… Smooth move X-lax.
Shoutout the the conductor: But can we pleaseeeeeee sit in first class?
Shoutout to Gavin Bazala: A man cave? You’re thirteen years old. You don’t need a man cave, you’re not even a man yet!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but for real I’m gonna need my room back.
Shout out to Kitt Kinderman: Stoked for the Hearthstone expansion. Maybe I’ll be able to get gΓΌd with this one. Also I got ur letter and I think it’s funny how you mentioned me losing things the DAY AFTER I lose my water bottle. #Classic. I love you. see you soon
Shout out to Mom Bazala: oh yeah, I lost my water bottle. I swear it disappeared. It was in my room and then it wasn’t. Welcome back Nalgene maybe, please? (I bought stickers that need a place to go. All the Kool kids are doing it) also miss and love you all. Ps still waiting on Aidan’s comments…..

15 thoughts on “We did a thing. Pray for us.

  1. Man, that was beautifully written. Praying for the tough discussions and questions you’ll be wrestling with. Brian told me my daily odd compliments were dumb so I asked our fellow guards for some jokes:

    Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. – Jake

    Why did the turkey cross the road? The chicken was on strike. – Luke

    How do you take care of a baby alien? You rocket. – Andrew

    So personally I feel like my compliments were way better than those, but whatever. Keep on having the tough talks and lean on each other for support. We’ll all be here waiting anxiously when you return.

  2. Thanks for sharing from the heart Dan! I can only imagine that your hearts are heavy as you had to say good-bye, your bodies are tired with the crazy schedule that you have had, your internal thermometers are in need for some serious AC (the Wisconsin State Journal actually mentioned the Romania area as having a “Lucifer” heat wave. Yikes!), but my hope is that your souls have been lifted through these two weeks. Thanks to the leaders for guiding you through this time and I pray that the debrief time in Budapest is just what you each need! We can’t wait to see you on this side of the pond in just a few days!

    Morgan P—Madison returned to Iowa State yesterday and the house is already quiet. She and Dad finished the headboard project and it turned out great! They might just be starring on the next HG TV series. Tyler is enjoying summer to its fullest—lots of nights of late basketball followed by night games!

    Someone hug Morgan for me today! Love you–
    Mom

  3. Dan the man is a good writer! I can’t begin to imagine the experiences you all have gone through but I’ll continue praying for the amazing things you will get out of this trip. See you soon!

  4. Thanks for the updates. Those good-byes are so tough! Thank you for caring for and loving the Romanians in such meaningful ways. The team will be lifted up in prayer as you debrief, spend time reflecting, and determine ways to bring your experience back home. Soon, very soon, you’ll be back in the land of Culver’s, Chick-fil-A, and Chipotle again!

    -Kristen Emerson (team member/leader ’11)

    PS — Shout-out to Larry (and other leaders) for keeping track of all those Craiova taxi receipts, woo hoo!
    PPS — Shout-out to all Hershbergers. A decade of BHC student ministry trips is wrapping up.

    • Thanks for the reminder, Kristen!! It has been quite a decade – WOW! And I’m sooooo thankful for it (BHC student ministry trips) and all the amazing leaders that made them happen!

      Over-over blessed!
      P.S. And super thankful that I got to go on one in ’12!

  5. Dan that was so eloquently written! I know it must be hard to sum up all the events and emotions of a day in one post, but wow! I still can’t wait to hear all about the trip from you guys yourselves. As I drove the 4+ hours back to Iowa State by myself yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for so many people who make leaving so difficult (many of you are reading this- love ya) and an amazing experience with Blackhawk Church that set the bar for my college years and beyond. God is so dang good! I hope you continue to see him even in the difficult debrief conversations.

    Morgan- I am officially partially moved in to Iowa State where I am living in a house with 60ish girls for the next five days…. pray for me πŸ™‚ All joking aside, I miss you so much and am so so sad that I won’t be there to give you the hugest hug ever when you return. I expect a FaceTime call from you as soon as you’re rested and ready to spill! Love you and I can’t wait to continue following your adventures on to college.

    Trina- You are amazing. I miss having a buddy who’s always down for an adventure, a photo sesh, or a deep conversation. I meant it when I said I already can’t wait to catch up with you when we’re both home.

    Noah- I’m pretty glad you’ve joined the awkward friendship fam, you’re a pretty cool guy. I miss the loon calls already πŸ™‚ Give your sister a HUGE hug for me when you get back!

    In him,
    Madison Pincombe

  6. I’m grateful for the perspective you offer in this post Dan. What you’ve experienced is part of something more – and yet, God used your willingness and courage (each one of you) to make it something more. You’re likely in your final REM sleep cycle before you awake on your last day of debrief. You asked for prayer for today. You got it brother. Grateful for you and every stinkin last one of ya’s. Get home safely – but like Dan said, come home changed. #sleepondaplane #sleepinyobed #sleepwhenyodead

  7. Whoa. Dan that was amazing!! I know those feelings and I also know debrief is going to be a blast. So freaking pumped to be home with you in a week and to swap the endless stories we both will have. Praying for a safe and honest/successful debrief – love you all!

    Also, Dan, I have a goatee now. Something about the mountain air….

    Ben Hersh

  8. Oh Dan! What a beautifully written post! Your description of your inner wrestling is so good for us that are state-side. We will know how to better pray for ya’ll! This is hard stuff you all are doing, but soooo good! I’ve left parts of my heart in Honduras & Kenya & Mexico, but they have left a deposit in mine as well! What a blessing to see God at work around the world. I know you all will come home with your lights shining more brightly for Him – or as Dan put it “a clearer reflection of the light”!!

    Dan – This momma misses you terribly & feels a little guilty that I was complaining (quietly) that you hadn’t posted anything yet . . . and then you go and make me proud! Still can’t believe that you are only home for 4 days before heading to Purdue – whew!

    Team – pls hug that guy for me or even a dog pile will do – show some love!!

    Leaders – praying especially for you all during debrief! Lots to discuss and contemplate. Thanks for holding our kids tight through this!

    Hugs!
    Momma Hersh

  9. Dan!

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us so honestly and eloquently. I know I’ve told you this before, but I could not be more proud of you. I’m praying for you and the team as you process through the hard questions today and as you return home. Lots of love from the sweet corn field!

    Jenna

  10. I will be praying for you as you process the trip and deal with the change and the loss that it means for some of you. Thanks Dan for articulating that so well. Also, part of cross-cultural ministry is dealing with hairy-man armpits. We have to be having these tough conversations.

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