We are writing to you from the van as we head back to Craiova from camp. It is no doubt that everyone has grown from this experience. It’s been a long week, yet one that went by way too fast. We have built many relationships and continued old ones. Yesterday was our last full day. It was jam-packed with fun things like visiting Corvin Castle in Hoanadoara, which was about an hour away from camp. We returned to camp and some of us took naps, some wrote Happy Fun Notes, and others played games. We had baked potatoes and chicken kabob for dinner. Daniel gave the talk for the night session about who God is and why we should accept Him into our life. When Dan was done, Lief read “A Father’s Love Letter.” It’s a letter written from God to us, His children, and is a collection of bible verses. After the letter had the majority of the room crying, the worship team went up and sang Amazing Grace as members of the American & Romanian teams walked out with pieces of cardboard that on one side had a myth that they have believed about themselves and on the other it had the truth of what God believes – and how they’ve been transformed by that truth by trusting God. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. It was so profound and the feeling of the Holy Spirit’s presence was overwhelming. We then had our last small group discussion. All week I felt very proud of the campers in my small group as they had the courage to ask difficult questions and to be vulnerable with us. We finished up our small group time and we had time to write more Happy Fun Notes, watch the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” and go out to the bonfire and make s’mores. Many people stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning! Thankfully our last morning didn’t start as early and we are able to get some rest on the ride down the mountain. Overall it was a really great last day of camp.
Rachel: This trip has really changed my life in many ways. For one, we talk way too much about trains (it’s an inside team joke you’ll have to ask us about when we get home – and if you don’t know what I am talking about consider yourself blessed. J) This trip for me has been both emotionally and physically draining but it has been totally worth it because of the relationships I have made. It is really hard for me to try and build these relationships with the Romanian students because I don’t speak their language and many of them speak only limited English. I want the conversations with each Romanian to go deeper than than “Ce Faci” and “Bine” each way (which means “how are you” and “good,” respectively.) Even though there is that language barrier between us; we still have found ways to show and communicate love to each other. A lot of the campers I have gotten to know have come from tough backgrounds and I realize how much I have to be thankful for. When we were sharing in our groups last night within a one and a half hour period we only made it through one full question, and that’s a good thing. It means that the girls had a lot to say and ask. Last night was the first night that all of the girls opened up about their struggles and hardships. It was so cool to see that they trusted us enough to become vulnerable and tell us their life stories. It is so amazing to see how God is working through all of these campers! Even though some campers don’t believe what we are saying about God, I can see Him working in and through them. This trip has really helped me grow in my relationship with God and even continue to ask hard questions I have. It’s so hard to understand why terrible things happen to good people. This trip has opened my eyes to a lot of new experiences that will stay with me forever.
Adia: Throughout this week, I felt a bit discouraged because I was not able to be as physically active as I had hoped I could be. I was bummed that I couldn’t build community with the Romanians during the games. But as I talked to Karen – another American who serves on the Romania leadership team each sumer, she reminded me that God has a plan and that things don’t always go the way we want them to. It was fitting that the main theme of the week was to trust in the Lord and the verse was Proverbs 3:5-6. There were many talks about trusting God in the face of obstacles, and that rang so true for me the whole week. I realized that God was trying to show me that sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to live out his purpose for us. This week was a lot of fun, but it was also hard. With late nights and early mornings, full fifteen-hour days, we had to lean on each other and the Lord for strength and encouragement. And when I was discouraged, I was impressed and lifted up when I looked at the rest of my team and saw how they remained positive in the face of exhaustion and chaos. I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing team of strong and courageous individuals. When one person is down, they come together to make that person feel loved and supported. And even when discouraged and challenged, with God and my teammates right by my side, it makes long days and shorter nights entirely worth it.
To Snyder Fam: Can I get some puppy pics in the comments? J
To Anja Hartmann: Can I get some Cassi pics in the comments? J
To Markhardt Family: Can I get a family pic with Luna in the comments? J
To the familial unit of the sororal (?) variety: Congrats! Both Mel and Larry have called me Nikki
To Matt and Rachel Metz for checking Hannah’s UGA email…don’t forget to buy her football student season tickets
To the Sullivan’s: Is it the PGA championship this week? If so who’s winning?
To Emily Bostrom: for being Luke’s sister. Plz comment. We miss you!
To Merlin, Ed & Eliana: Happy 2 months Eliana!! Ed, no Wanted this year. Merlin, can you just hear your name being called?? Love you guys!
To @irwindoodle we miss you and love you and can’t wait to scratch your chin when we get home.