Eyes Open

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

19 thoughts on “Eyes Open

  1. I loved reading this, Hannah. Thanks for staying up late to keep us updated! We’re praying for you and Leah and everyone. xox nana

  2. What a great update! Thank you so much! I’m so thankful for the relationship that’s been built over the years. We will keep on praying for you all.

    Side note: Given how We Americans did not qualify for the World Cup, I hope you are restoring the national honor via foosball.

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful post! It was good to hear how things are going. So sorry to hear about the car sickness; praying for solid sleep and healthy bodies throughout the trip.

    McDonalds has foosball tables? A Romanian thing?

    Great photos!

    • And I see the boys were up 4-0 when the photo was taken. I assume you girls came from behind… 6-10, maybe?

  4. Wisdom, Hannah!

    Romanian phrase of the day: “rău de maşină.” Car sickness. (Hopefully nobody will need that phrase again! 🤢)

  5. Trips to Romania come and go
    Only the people make it wonderfully so.
    Getting on the ground and renewing with friends
    Each year helps the means be worth the ends.
    Traveling to Romania can actually be tough
    Having lasting relationships is actually enough
    Enduring sleepless nights is a sacrifice that’s worth it
    Remember all this as God’s glow you emit.

  6. There is no such thing as too late for shout outs. jk but only kind of.

    Thanks for keeping us updated at the expense of your own sleep. Can’t wait to hear more about what all you guys do.

    Everybody hug Noah for me please.

    Much love,

  7. Great post Hannah! We are so glad to hear that you made it and celebrated together! Looking forward to hearing more!

    Luke…BIG NEWS! Noah. Went. On. The. Black. Anaconda! He said he did it for you! Awwwwww. Love ya pal!

  8. Let me guess…Hannah had the suitcase malfunction and Leah had the car sickness(?). I even bought you 2 different kinds of Dramamine, Leah! Glad your hearts are joyful, even if your bodies are weary, and hope you got a restorative night of sleep. Very well written post, sweetie, especially after 24 hrs of travel…no grammar police here! 😬 Makes me smile to hear how meaningful it’s been so far…and it’s only just begun! Love and hugs to my girls!! ❤️

  9. Hannah, throwback to the Vierus living room last year when I was “helping” you write the blog post, yet you still graciously signed my name too! Coming back to the familiar Romanian leader faces in the airport as well as the new introductions is such a blessing. My heart is so full hearing about it… do you now get what I mean about the “smells” of Romania😉. Tell Irina that she will get her Lei back soon, it’s in safe keeping for now!

  10. Great post honey!! So glad that things are off to such a great start. Mom and I are just sitting around at home and crying a lot that you and Leah aren’t here… 😉 Praying for the whole team daily. Excited to hear more of what God has in store for you all. Much love!!

  11. Love seeing the familiar faces and the new ones! I honestly started tearing up seeing those pictures. Aisha! Irina! Vale! The vieru’s dinner tables! It’s all coming back… the joy is so real. Living vicariously through you all.

    P.S. give Adia a big hug for me!

  12. Thanks so much for the amazing updates and pictures. They help all of us here have a glimpse into what you are doing and experiencing, which is a gift. <3 Praying for all of you and hoping you can each be open to whatever God wants to show you.

    Noah, hope this works…
    🙂 ^^' 🙄 =^-^= 😆

  13. Well, Noah, it kinda worked. Mel, wish I could be there to see and hear how you interpreted that silliness. (Blame it on Morgan P. and Noah! 😉 )

    Thanks to all of you leaders for your sense of humor and your hearts!

  14. Beautifully written, Hannah! Thanks for giving us such a beautiful glimpse into your time in Romania.

  15. Ok sorry I gotta share another one. So I was driving a coworker home and there was a big car sign thingy on the side of the road. I’m being safe and watching the road (and also might not have had my glasses on so I couldn’t read the words) and my coworker groans and starts complaining about the creepy sign. “What even is (please pronounce the “p”) Psalms 46:10 anyways” (coworker is not Christian). You should’ve seen his face when I automatically blurted it out 😂. He asked if I was a biblical studies major and if I had memorized the Bible 😂😂😂😂 (we all know I haven’t ever made it past Leviticus when doing Eat this Book).

    In the midst of the whirlwind of feelings that finally being in Romania can bring, try and rest in His peace. You guys will hopefully not have to deal with the earth giving way or mountains falling into the heart of the sea while you’re gone (although I’ll add that to the prayer list), but remember that the same God who provides strength when you’re home is with ya in Romania. Whether that’s pretending to have tons of energy when you’re jet lagged or pretending you’re totally cool with never knowing what is happening when you’re a mega-planner – He’s gotcha.

    That’s my attempt to combine a silly work story, a “random” bible verse (that may or may not be with me always) and some encouragement for ya.

    I promise to calm down on the obsessive blog comments soon, I just really miss all of you and wish I were there


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