Sleeping with eyes open. Suitcase malfunctions. Car sickness. Not sleeping at all. These are all things that have been experienced by members of our team in the past 24+ hours of traveling. Long travel days can easily make you question just how “worth it” a missions trip is. Do we really have such a significant purpose in Romania that it is worth the time, money, energy, and intense jet lag to come across the world for two weeks? I think it’s safe to say these doubts were all put to rest as we exited the Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest this afternoon and were greeted by about fifteen Romanian leaders. The hugs from old team members and long-awaited introductions of new ones made the marathon day of travel seem like a small price to pay for such sweet moments. During the bus ride and dinner stop, our relationship with the Romanian leadership team seemed to pick back up right where we left it last summer. When we arrived in Craiova, our friends surprised us with a big ten year anniversary cake to celebrate the decade of partnership that we share together. After cake, it was straight to bed for everyone for a much-needed night of rest. (I’m staying up late to write this, so don’t try to correct my grammar, Mom.)
Just being at Ethos has triggered an unexpected wave of emotion for me. A few things are different. Kids are bigger. Little Kevin is sitting next to me right now and I swear he has grown four inches since last summer. But mostly, it’s the same old Ethos community that we already know and love. The same familiar faces who so graciously host us year in and year out. As I sit and write from Daniel and Dana’s living room, I can’t help but feel like I am home, surrounded by family. From this perspective, our purpose for this trip feels so clear to me: to create a mirror image of God’s family in heaven. We do this by the way we eat together, laugh together, ride hot busses together, worship together and do life together. These relationships we are developing are so deeply rooted in the love of Christ that even a year of time has not been able to shake them. Family is developed not in a place where everyone necessarily “fits in” perfectly, but in a community where everyone knows that they belong. And it is already so clear to see that each member of this team, American and Romanian, belong here. Those who are part of the Open Roads family belong – and they welcome us into their family. I truly believe that these relationships we have here in Craiova are exactly the kind that Jesus had. They are noticeably different in a way that is so simple but so powerful. After reuniting with so many people, I can’t even wipe the smile of my face. What we have here is special. And as we head into the next days, I cannot wait to see how our heavenly family grows. But for now, please just pray for some GOOD SLEEP!
With a joyful heart,
It’s too late for shout-outs but…KATRINA…Irina wants her Lei back