Hi everyone, it’s Leah! Sorry we haven’t been able to give you an update yet, but just trust that we have been busy with lots of great things! Our 24+ hour travel day was exhausting, but we made it to Craiova safely and surrounded by old friends, new friends, and lots of laughter. The important thing to get out of this post is that we all made it to our destination safely, but I’ll tell you more about our experience.
Honestly, the whole day went pretty smoothly and I don’t have that many interesting details to share. Personally, the trip started out a bit rough when I had to check my carry-on bag for being too big. It really ended up being fine and not negatively affecting me in any way, but in the moment it was frustrating. We went through security check after that and I was about to walk through the metal detectors when the conveyor belt with our bags on it came to a stop. A man held up my gallon bag full of homemade trail mix and asked “Whose food is this?” I raised my hand in an irritated manner, expecting to lose my only snack I brought for the trip. But instead the man said “This looks goooooood. I’m gonna need the recipe for this!” I laughed and sighed with relief as I realized that my tendency to assume the worst may not be very constructive. Once we got on our plane, we watched movies, ate mediocre food, and did our best to sleep. After 8 hours, we arrived in Zurich where we had a short, uneventful layover and got on our second, luckily shorter flight. As we got off of that flight, many emotions were being felt: fear, excitement, joy, and lots of exhaustion. My biggest fear coming off the flight was losing bags. Now that both of my bags were checked, I felt like I had a lot to lose. But guess what… WE DIDN’T LOSE ANY BAGS!!! With a sigh of relief we got ready to go meet the Romanians.
As some of you know, Lief’s arrival was a surprise for the Romanians, so he stayed by baggage claim while the rest of us went to find the Romanian team. Seeing the team for the first time was easily the highlight of my day. The smiles and laughter we shared were a great reminder of why the long travels are entirely worth it. We chatted and walked together to the bus and loaded everything up and got ready to leave. The driver turned the bus on and began driving away, but we still didn’t have Lief. I looked at the other Americans, confused and slightly concerned that we were leaving Lief behind, but the concerns were eased when Mel suddenly yelled, “WAIT we forgot something”. The doors to the bus opened and there was Lief. The Romanians were ecstatic to see him and he was greeted with many hugs of surprise and excitement. Dan especially was blown away and struggled to speak for the next couple minutes because he was so shocked. After the excitement died down and we ate with the Romanians at the mall, we got back on the bus and fought sleep for what seemed like forever, but since staying awake is a feat of strength, we did our best to not doze off (but not everyone succeeded @most of the leaders). Our methods to stay up included friendship bracelet making, eating snacks, and telling stories that didn’t really make sense because we hadn’t slept much in 24 hours. When we finally rolled up to Ethos, I felt at home and also very ready for bed. The day was finally over and we went to our host homes and I reflected on the day I had just experienced.
Something that really stuck with me while getting prayed over during our sendoff was said by Elder Lerdahl. He prayed for “the big things and the little things”. I know that it is easy for me to miss seeing the ways that God is working because I get distracted looking for the big things, but I challenged myself during our day of travel to look for the little ways that God might be showing himself to us. And I saw Him all over the place. I saw Him in the man that made me smile in security. I saw Him in the smoothness of our flights and travels. I saw Him when we got all of our bags. I saw Him in the joy that I felt with my Romanian friends and the comfort I felt at Dan and Donnax’s. I learned that God is constantly working in little ways and showing himself to us. All we have to do is keep our eyes open. So I pray that you would help us to keep a lookout for both the big and little ways God is working.
To Jeffrey: Cen I havv 1 macdOnldz brugger plece?
To Videogamedunkey: Umm sup
To Jonah: Just keep swimming. Love you bud <3
To Metzger family: don’t forget to feed Jonah ^^^
To a mom: You are appreciated
To bread: for always being there to fill matt up
To Brock and Hunter: not my siblings lol ~Luke
To Owen: Thanks for coming to the send off :/
To Saffron: We hope you passed your drivers test! ~Ellie and Isabel
To Amy: Hope you’re enjoying your job!
To Christy: No Susan, these are braids
To George: I hope your vacation is going well.
To David: How much time have you spent in the real world since I left? ~Andrew
To Kipp: We are having lots of fun with your brother Jay on this trip
To Bethany: “Shout out to my beautiful gf” ~Brad