It’s hard to explain the feels

I don’t know where to begin, so please bear with me as the experiences that have flooded my heart and mind are processed through this post. If you want a voice to put these words to as you read, this is Noah. Yeah, the one that posted about moving walkways and such, but also the one who has watched a chapter of his life seem to come to a close. This year is the end of the four part chapter that has been my time in Romania, and it wasn’t until after camp that I started to understand how I feel about it. I was posed the question: “So, being your senior year, are you embracing this as your last trip, or running from that idea?” Being the indecisive person I am, my response automatically fell to saying, “both.” But as I sat there piecing together my reasoning, it seemed to all fall into place. 

Three years ago I entered this trip unsure of, well… everything. Unsure of what we were doing, what the Romanians would be like, how to communicate, and so much more. And when I got to Romania, our team was met by a group of Romanian leaders who were feeling discouraged by the hardships of ministry. The year leading up to camp had been rough on the Romanian team, and throughout camp it seemed to remain that way. We left camp unsure of what the future would hold. The next year came, and a similar result followed. The next year there was more hope, but people still left camp unsure. And then this year happened.

During the final night session, as Lief and Daniel read the love letter from God, I looked around the room and saw almost all the heads down—people were taking in each and every word of the message that God loves them no matter what. As we moved into small groups there were puffy eyes and open hearts. I think it is fair to say the small group time we had was some of the best discussion I have experienced in a long time. At one point doubt was introduced to the conversation. Something I needed to hear. As we entered camp, I struggled with the point of being there. Why was I needed? What’s the point of building relationships with the campers if I’m just going to leave? Even though it’s been awesome to see people grow over the past few years, my time was going to end this year anyway, so what’s the point? Having these doubts weighing on me, the discussion was beneficial in reminding me that there is nothing wrong with having doubts, it’s what you do in response to them that is important. When you experience them, follow up on them. Daniel explained to our small group that we need to search for answers, seek the Lord, and trust in him—a great reminder of the camp verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

As I processed this, my response to the question of embracing or running came together. I feel as though the small group discussion was the perfect cap to my time in Romania. I feel comfortable with it potentially being the last time here, but that doesn’t mean I want it to be. It is hard to explain, and the only way I can think of conveying it now is like playing a game with friends late at night. When the game ends, you understand that it is over, and you should try to get some sleep. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to play again, but you know that in that moment, it is time to put the game away, so you can play it again later. I have loved the highs and lows that have come with being in Romania and being in a community so centered on God and so full of his love. I have never felt so accepted and included as I have in my years in Romania. I understand that I may never pull the board off the shelf and play the game again, but the relationships and reminders of God’s love that I have experienced will always be with me. 

As our team shared with each other how we were doing, there was a variety of responses. Some are missing home, some are dreading the return, some haven’t started processing, and none of us know exactly how camp and this trip will affect our lives.

As we start our debrief please pray that we may process what we have experienced. That we may trust what God has done at camp and what he is doing in our lives. We may not recognize now, or even ever, what our purpose on this trip was, but please pray that we can trust that whatever God was/is doing will bring glory to him and show people that he loves them. 

Also, please recognize that in these next few days, all the feels inside of us may not be fully processed. Time, patience, and support will be needed as we return home.

Thank you for taking part in this journey, that is coming to a close, but also just beginning. Because as we know, the journey is long.

-Noah

Shoutouts:

To everyone who has loved and supported anyone on this team: Thank you, we wouldn’t be who we are without you.

To Psalm 55:22: Thanks for being an encouraging verse

9 thoughts on “It’s hard to explain the feels

  1. Camp closing session brought up some doubt
    Which is perfectly fine before heading out.
    Doubt can help us get closer to God
    And other members of our Romanian squad.

    The transition back home is now beginning
    Is this the first, middle or last trip inning?
    Only God knows, so follow your heart
    And God will help you know and do the right part.

  2. Thank you for sharing your insights and your soul-searching. No doubt this is representative of what others on the team are feeling too.

    A very powerful post, Noah. Helps those of us back home get into the right frame of mind as we prepare for everyone’s return. Again…thank you!

    -Dad K.

  3. I’ll continue praying for you, friend, and all you guys. Emotions can be messy and confusing, and sometimes contradictory, but they are necessary for processing and describe how you’re doing at the moment, and not where you will be, and however you’re feeling now is okay. But do you’re best not to tackle anyone during debrief 😉(pinecone emoji). Noah fam, thanks for being honest and letting us into where you’re at, because where you’re at isn’t easy. Keep it up bro. I think you’re pretty (great).

    Know you guys are loved and thought of from afar, but keep enjoying and loving where you’re at.

    Blessings from Montana,
    Dan

    P.S. I hope Ooga Booga stayed away from that Romanian mud this year. 💩💩💩

  4. *acronyms inappropriate for this blog post* That was beautiful (and you know I have “In My Feelings” stuck in my head again). I miss you like crazy; Katrina rubbed it in my face she got to say hi to you quick and then we proceeded to talk about what a solid dude you are. Teach me your ways bro. Praying for that processing, and peace to come with not having immediate answers. As I like to remember (or am slightly forced to as it will also always be with me), God is with us no matter where we are. Don’t pressure yourself to figure it all out now because he’ll be with you when you get home, and when you go to [the lamest] college, and even after. You have a lifetime of processing ahead my friend, so take the space you have these next few days to begin. Enjoy the journey (the dance/song and the metaphor about life) and call me ASAP when you return.

    💃🕺🏻

  5. Noah, all of the things that Good has showed you through this trip are so amazing!!! This was one of my all time favorite blog posts to read. The Lord has been hearing our prayers and it’s so cool to hear that he is working in you the way he is!!! As the Romania trip comes to a close, don’t forget to keep on loving, stepping outside your comfort zones, worshipping, smiling, meeting new people, trusting God, laughing, being yourself, eating good food, and praying continually.

  6. This is beautifully written, Noah!

    It can be so easy to believe that because there isn’t something tangible from your time it wasn’t worth it – but that’s a straight up lie. Relationships matter. Friendships that cross barriers of language, culture, and country matter. These are pictures of the Kingdom being built here on earth and you guys are part of it.

    I pray that as you debrief you realize the weight of your time in Romania, and can balance that with the call to continue living this mission when you get home. You’re Kingdom builders, chain breakers, barrier crossers, & light bearers no matter where you are. I’m so excited to see what Madison looks like because of YOU PEOPLE.

    So thank you for being brave enough to go & being even more brave to not let your life to look the same in light of your time in Romania.

    Love you SO MUCH Romania Team!

    😍❤️😬🐸💃🏻😱😇🤓 (I hope Mel acts all these out)

  7. Noah, man, listening to your doubts before the trip and seeing you push into them now is such a powerful thing. Thanks for being so real. The crazy truth is that our God is big enough for us to pound into his chest when we don’t understand or are frustrated. So keep pushing into him with all of your doubts, questions, and frustrations. I know you’ve been through your fair share of debriefs, but I am praying for you friend, as you process both this year in Romania and all it has held, as well as the bigger picture of what your past 4 years has meant. God has used you to do some pretty cool things so far (Alissa and I were indeed discussing how cool of a human being you are) and I know that he has so much in store for you as you close this chapter and begin a new one. To the rest of the team, debrief can be hard, sometimes there are a lot of feelings, sometimes there are few. Just know that everyone processes so differently. Oh, and don’t be stingy about giving out hugs ( I know Pat will always be happy to give out hugs if you need one). I’m praying for you all as you’re using these next few days to process! Also, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun in Budapest, but maybe just skip the plate full of whipped cream at dinner time ;). Oh and if Lief hasn’t done the double reverse fist pump stanky leg, someone get him to because it is legendary.

  8. I can imagine it’s hard to make sense of it all. But that’s ok. We don’t get to see the bigger picture or even the results. We stay rightly related to him and trust that his will is being worked out. Way to be part of what he is doing. Proud of you all.

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