Stormy & Matiuţ

Hello Friends,

Our fourth day in Romania was yet another great one!

We began our day with another breakfast course of homemade apple juice (from the Ethos Livada/orchard) and different varieties of Romanian corn flakes. After breakfast the American team continued our daily devo and check-ins with leaders. During discussion we decided to share a person, place or event that affected our faith journey, allowing us to connect on a deeper level as a team. We also received letters from home, which helped fight off the homesickness and remind us that there are many people at home praying and watching over our trip. Following our team devo and discussion, Beni, one of the Romanian leaders who works and lives in Ethos, took us to deliver food and introduce us to the families that Ethos supports in Craiova. This experience was challenging for us, as we felt disconnected from the families we were visiting. However; (Rachel Metz; is this the proper use of this semicolon?) because we were with Daniel and Beni who have built daily relationships with these families, we were able to see what Ethos has done and the effects they have had in this community. This experience helped our entire team to better understand what the mission of Ethos is and the problems that face the Craiovan people. We came back and celebrated Lief’s 26th birthday 😉 ;p Lief got an excellent gift in more shoarma, romanian pizza, & souflaki and he graciously shared his pizza with us. We spent the afternoon doing camp prep and tying up any loose ends with our camp teams. This includes the worship team smashing out twelve songs while the “breakout team” was creating some beautiful art and the “program team” organized props (good job to Bria for helping the productivity efficiency). Final preparations for camp while somewhat stressfull, but it also got us excited for the next five days of camp and getting to see it all finally fall into place. After dinner, we ate Lief’s cake and threw a frisbee around. After dinner, we shuffled into vans and went to a concert in Romanescu Park that composed of Romanian worship music and then finished with a surprise treat of vibrant Congolese worship from some Ethos employees from the Congo. Getting to experience Romanian & Congolese worship in the middle of a Romanian public park was unique experience that showed us how vast God is. Then we walked to the park zoo where we watched some storks and geese mingle, a coati and a raccoon fight over a chip, and peacocks chillin on the roof. When we returned to Vieru’s we made 115 salami and cheese sandwiches & were supposed to pack and go to bed, but then we were asked to write this blog hahaha. Go to bed early… yeah right! These next few days will be exciting but challenging for us, so we ask for your thoughts and prayers for us as we start camp.

-Matthew “Garth” Gartland and Luke “Stormy” Stevens


To Megan Smith, Happy Birthday!!!

To Megan Smith – Happy July 28! -Lief

To Paige Gartland and Hannah Metzger, for being the same person.

To Matt, for not knowing how to spell his sister’s married name and using her “old one” instead.

To Jay Sullivan, for his big muscles 😉

To the Stevens Fam, for the updates on the family tournaments, did GMA cannonball this year?

To the Ambassador, the cat hath rejected me 🙁

To Angie Shoe, look both ways before crossing the street.

To Pastor Chris, good luck on the sermon tomorrow.

To Matiuţ (matoots), Garth, & Kyle: Do you know what happened to Matt?

22 thoughts on “Stormy & Matiuţ

  1. Thanks for the Shout Out and wish for Good Luck on tomorrow’s talk. I’m going to need it. I’m going to interview Anthony Suy who works for us in Blackhawk Kid’s ministry (head of 56). He may not pay much attention during the interview since he just got engaged last Monday.

    Love your blog posts – thanks for the details. Cubs still lead the Brewers by a game and 1/2. Just saying.

  2. K ~
    Hannah made her grumpy-old-man face and sent out warning vibes in the general direction of Romania. I see they worked.

    Enjoy the long bus ride!

  3. Hey guys loved this post! Luke: no cannonball from PatPat. She said 75 was her last year. Sad for me because I never got to see it. I missed you at Noah’s Ark. Hunter and Brock got $10 each for riding all of the rides! And everyone thought I was very cute in my swim suit. The lazy river was fun. My favorite part was chewing on the tube. Anyway hope you’re having fun and love you BYE! -Adeline

  4. WOW! I’ve truly enjoyed reading your blog posts. Thanks for keeping us updated so we can pray for specific people and events. Happy Birthday Lief! How’s it feel to be 26?

    I need to learn this game called ‘Energy’…is it another game I can facilitate to win against defenseless 5th and 6th graders? I hope so! Please teach us when you get back.

    Julian and Cade — I appreciate your post about being nervous about meeting new Romanian friends. I trust that you and your team’s vulnerability is opening up all sorts of connections and giving the world a deeper look into what it means to love like Jesus. Keep on it dudes!

    Matt and Luke — Your post about camp preparations was really neat to read. I’ll be praying for God to meet you right where stress meets excitement. He’ll carry you through it! Also, 115 salami and cheese sandwiches is a lot. Sounds yummy.

    Leah — Thanks for be so honest about your fears of joining the trip. I’m so proud of you for jumping all in for Christ, and ‘Lord I Need You’ must have been the perfect song for worship. We are praying with you!! Is being out of the country for the time about what you expected and hoped for?

    Andrew – HELLO! Have you gotten to play any piano up there? I still remember you playing so beautifully at the 5th grade retreat. You’re an incredibly gifted person — and I’m so proud of you and the way you’re serving the communities in Romania!

    Grace — I hope this trip is preparing you well for your time in Chicago. FYI — I had to google what a ‘diverging sinusoidal graph’ is. Always know that I am a huge fan of your geekdom. Own it!

    Cade — I’m so proud of you for publicly admitting to liking the music of Taylor Swift.

    Kira — Way to sport the MSM snow camp shirt!! Have any of our Romanian friends asked what snow camp is?

    Kirstin — Your Haiku was inspiring. I look forward to my next trip through ORD. Also, how many points did you score in that game of heads up on the bus?

    Lastly — did I miss something? Where are these giant sandwiches from!? Please bring one back for me.

    God bless you. Have fun and enjoy yourselves!

  5. Romanian word of the day: “vamă,” meaning “customs” (like in the airport). As in, “bring me some shoarma – I’m sure you can get it thru vamă.”

  6. Praying for you guys! Get sleep, and don’t let those door handles upset you. Y’all rock. Noah, I’m slowly learning to juggle.


  7. Thank you so very much to EVERYONE for the inspirational blog posts, the insightful comments, and the photos! We take all this technology for granted, but it wasn’t that long ago (idk, like only 25 years?) that we didn’t have things like blogs, e-mail, or even wide use of the Internet. I know that seems so strange to many of you “young-uns”, but old geezers like myself actually remember that time. And weird to think about the Apostle Paul, sending his mission trip reports back to his friends via the Roman mail system, which took, like, months. Anyway…I digress.

    What I really wanted to say is how utterly grateful I am feeling right now to God. Grateful for answered prayers with regard to this trip so far. Grateful for Blackhawk Church, for being a place that the Spirit is using to draw people closer to Him – and then launching those people around the globe to change people’s lives, change nations, and change history. Grateful for incredible leaders, mentoring & guiding my own children and the children of others. Grateful for passionate and gifted young people, who have joined this adventure without hesitation, and who have poured their hearts and souls out to each other and to the Romanians. I am utterly amazed at how energetic, enthusiastic, and articulate the members of this team appear to be. My hat is off to all of you! It is so heartwarming & exciting to hear about everything that is going on. I add my own prayers to those of other supporters and parents, and pray that the Lord God Almighty, Commander-In-Chief of the Universe, will keep His Helper present in fantastically tangible ways at camp!

    A shoutout to Hannah, for a blog post a few days ago that was very deeply moving. Her description of earthly fellowship, reflecting what Heaven will be like, was fantastic. I think her phrase “Mirror Image” has potential as the title of a future sermon series!

    A shoutout to Leah, for what may have been the best use of YouTube ever!

    A shoutout to Kip: I actually read an issue of the local newspaper yesterday, and for once I DIDN’T see your name in it! Amazing!

    A shoutout to Abby & Andrew: Olson’s Farm sweet corn IS IN! Sorry you’re missing it! Meanwhile, Emma found a place to live downtown, so Andrew, your new future of having your own room is a sealed deal! David, Maggie, and Snowbell miss you both greatly. And so do I.

    Finally, a shoutout to those who prefer soundbites and abbreviated posts: My apologies. Some of us reflective Old Men tend to get carried away, and tend to talk in long boring paragraphs. Love you all! -Dad “K”

  8. Matthew and Luke, thanks for staying up extra late to write this, your extra effort did not go unnoticed. Happy birthday Lief! I think it’s pretty cool of you to share your pizza. It’s so great to read about all of the amazing things the Lord is doing with all of you! I’ll be praying for successful camp and thanking God for all of the wonderful things that have already happened. The zoo sounds cool, God’s creation sure is incredible!

  9. San Fran has a lot of hills and some good boba. But mostly a lot of hills.

    I saw a bunch of sea lions at Pier 39 today. I didn’t know this, but they use their back flippers to scratch their head, much like a dog does.

    The OG Chinatown has dim sum far better than what we got in Madison. Still mostly shrimp though…

    Hannah: An Avocado 🥑

    Grace: I don’t think you want any of the rocks off the street here…

    Watching Mulan on Netflix right now and thinking of you all ❤️

  10. Hi!
    We are LOVING that Luke is fully embracing his nickname! Way to go Storm! Thanks to you and Matt for the great post!

    I see that Adeline already answered your question about Grandpa Pat and her famous canonball… sadly that era is over. It was a good run!

    We got Mac back today. He missed us but also was loving his time at Sarah’s with her two dogs and the Instagram famous Irwindoodle! Irwin was too busy in the shower when we picked him up so we missed seeing him! Jimmy and Brianna… your dog likes sitting in the shower? Not sure we want to know the background on that one! 😉

    I am sorry Luke but dad is making me write this nex thing…. Your post was lit.

    Sorry. LOL!

    We are praying daily for you all. We are confident that God is using you and the Romanian team in amazing ways. We pray you are able to see Him working in the small sweet ways as much as the big beautiful ways.


  11. Dear Garth and Stormy,

    To answer your question, no.


    Rachel “Grammar Mama” Metzger

    ps – But thanks for the great post anyway! 😁

  12. I think you should know – you guys are the best. I appreciate the humor in your updates and I love hearing how God is using you and teaching you so much through this experience! Also, I’m loving how many former Home Group/ AK team members are on this trip!

    BB – I still hate Columbus, I still miss you, and I’m praying for you a ton! I do know the code to your house, so it’s cool if I just decide to move-in while you guys are gone, right? 🙃

  13. Actually the Cubs lead the Brewers by only a half game. Just sayin. And the Brewers acquired Mike Moustakas. Again, just sayin.

  14. As of this morning, the Cubbies’s lead over the Brew Crew has been cut down by a 1/2 game. Just sayin’.

  15. Noah what does a sis have to do to get a shoutout from her brother?! Should I post pretending to be Bella? Geez

    Work story: I had a bad dream about Crumble Cup so I put in my two weeks’ notice 😂 (that’s a super summary, I’ll explain later).

    Life story: I was discussing my faith to someone over text and was trying to say “and people kept sinning so then they were distancing themselves from God” but my phone autocorrected to “winning” and so it looked like not being with God was the answer and so I’m the worst Christian ever (that’s how it works, right?). Also, I found a new way to get rid of my dead ends! Instead of taking my scissors to them every so often, I’ll just let hazel chew on my wet hair after I shower. She really likes it.

    I hope you guys are all feeling close to God and winning in that regard as you head off to camp. I’m praying for supernatural energy for you all. Camp is exauhsting.

    Much love


  16. Blog posts come and blog posts go
    But this year’s blog has a fantastic flow!
    Travelers write
    And homies keep it light.
    Great support is there for all to know!

    Cultural learning is going on always
    Shared experiences continue to amaze.
    Keep your faith strong
    Even break out into song!
    Continue to be under God’s watchful gaze.

  17. Thanks for all the uplifting and inspiring posts! It is so fun to read each day and feel just a little part of the journey!! Praying for continued health, energy and God’s spirit to embrace everyone as the week begins!!

  18. Rachel Metzger, can I hire you to edit Matt’s college application essays?

    Also, Matt we miss you tons. I am in Green River Utah watching Fox News in a hotel room with Grandpa and Grandma. We are driving towards Laguna Beach 🏖. They send their love! We are all praying for you as you experience Romania and serve God there.

    Dad is lonely at home and watching the Tour with Emmett.

    😘 love mom

  19. Happy belated birthday, Lief! Glad you got to celebrate in such a fun way 🙂

  20. Sounds like a really full, exciting trip with much more to come. Really enjoying the blog updates and the work you all are doing is amazing.

    Kip — I just checked; Jay swam all weekend and darned if those muscles aren’t even bigger…

    Also, missing you a lot.

    Dad S.

  21. Stormy and Garth –
    Great post. So glad I finally have a son named Garth. Froome lost the Tour, and that’s just fine (Emmett agrees). Baseball? I don’t know. Oh, and this: Rachel is correct; you are dangerous with a semi-colon.
    Birthday blessings to the Liefster. Continue to be open to how God wants to use you and all that He wants to be teaching you.
    Love ya,
    Pops G.

Comments are closed.