Buna prietenii si familia (hello friends and family),

This blog is being written (by Matt aka Matoots) after a very exciting while hectic first 24 hours of camp. After a 5-hour long bus/van ride from Craiova to the camp there was a unanimous feeling of exhaustion from the all of us camp leaders. The campers on the other hand seemed to have no lack of energy after unloading from the buses and their energy quickly rubbed off on us. Once everyone had found their rooms and put away their luggage, the whole camp split off into their teams that they would meet with for the rest of the week. Our task was to create a team name, flag and small skit/song that we would later present to the rest of the camp. My team, now known as “The Super Strangers”, was drawing blanks on ideas of what to do, but luckily one of the older campers, Marian Asan, brought up superheroes as a potential theme and the whole team agreed on that idea. Our introduction involved each member of the team impersonating a specific superhero and running down the aisle of the meeting area. To give you an idea of what this looked like, for the Incredible Hulk we had the camper Adi wear a large green shirt and we shoved as many small dodge balls into his shirt as we could, and he ran down the row of chairs yelling and flexing his “giant muscles”. Our teams entrance went perfectly to plan, and all the campers were laughing and cheering as these “superheroes” came to the front one by one. Watching my team members slowly opening up to one another through this process and get involved with the activity filled my soul with excitement and joy for what God has planned for us in the coming days.

We finished the evening session with worship and a talk giving by Justin, a Romanian leader who grew up in Iowa. Justin talked about Gods promise to Abraham of a son even in his old age. The talk focused on Abraham’s faith in God even when asked such a difficult question as to sacrifice his one and only son Isaac. Justin’s talk was not only applicable to the campers lives but all the leaders as well. Hearing about how faith in God can help you conquer even the biggest struggles in life is something we all need to be reminded of and I’m excited to see how this week’s talks and discussions can help me grow in my own faith. The ensuing talks will continue with the theme of faith as the camp’s slogan is “Credinta Muta Muntii” (faith can move mountains). After evening session, the teams split off into separate rooms and discussed the idea of faith from the talk. Many of the campers were not quite ready to dive into this topic on the first night, but after hearing how every teams’ discussions went, I’m excited to see the progress we can make this week. The veteran Romanian leaders have wisely reminded us that the first night our campers will always be a bit quiet. Back home you guys can prayer for progress with our campers in discussion and continued health and safety for the rest of the trip.

As a returning member of the team, I find comfort in the chaos that inevitably happens on the first night of camp. Last year if the computers hadn’t worked right away, or the name games we had planned were cancelled I would’ve been stressed and worried. However, one thing you learn after spending time with the Romanians is that even though things may not be going exactly to plan, everything works out in the end. God has a plan. Some of the first-year team members brought up the stress and worry they were having but they are quickly learning that that is not the Romanian way. God’s influence on camp is becoming more and more evident to me as I remember stories from last year and even stories from this year’s camp already. I have full faith that this year’s camp will be amazing and God’s plan is already being lived out through us. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, they are felt by all of us.



Shout outs:

To George (you know who you are), I hope your vacation is going great and I can’t wait to see you soon. -You know who this is.

To mom and dad hope the house isn’t too quiet with me away. -Matt

To Grandma Penny we are doing a lot of fun things, will show you pictures when I get back.

– Grace

To Jordantas: Jordantas Jordantas 21 he likes hockey and pocky all at once

To mom and dad Stevens: here’s another shoutout since I didn’t give you guys one for the first few days. Hope y’all are back from the dells safely! Love you. -Luke

To Jush: I’m finally missing golf

To momma Reed: I would greatly appreciate some sunflower seeds when I get home 🙂

To the Vogels: I hope you’re all doing well! Give Luna some extra love!!

To Abby B: Thank you for feeding Jonah! I miss youuuu and love you lots <3 😊

To the Metzgers: (I figured you all would get jealous again if I didn’t give you all a shout out too) I love you all!!!


10 thoughts on “Faith

  1. Hope you guys are having a great time, we’re all praying for you! Kip, Roman and I are on lake 8, he hit a pretty good drive. Have a safe rest of the trip!

  2. Grace-
    I’m following your mission/adventure through the posting of your fellow travelers and look forward to a one-on-one travelogue when you get home.
    I keep watching for a post from you describing your experience.

    Keeping you and your group in my thoughts and prayers.

    Grandma Penny

  3. How cool was that? Loved the small group detail and the feeling that the relationships are beginning to take root! Nothing beats superhero’s, right? Thankful for the motions pic!!! That’s where you are Luke! I keep wandering around the Piggly Wiggly looking for you….. guess I can stop that now. Will continue to pray for you all!

  4. Wow, I cannot believe you guys are already a day into camp! It sounds like some pretty amazing things are happening over there. I am truly blown away by the vulnerability and energy you guys have shared so far.

    I wanted to send you all some extra encouragement today, because I know that the next few days of camp can be really hard. Like Matt and others have shared, plans change a lot in Romania, especially the day to day logistics. I think sometimes camp also forces you to change your expectations of the trip as a whole and possibly what your role for the trip looks like. My prayer for each of you is that you may have the courage to be wildly faithful to God and his plans, even when it clashes with your own. I also pray that you have the courage to be wildly you. Christ is obviously reflected best when we use our natural given gifts. I think it’s easy to listen to voices that say you’re not doing enough, or you’re not loving well enough, because your role on the trip looks different than someone else. We can’t all be Pat Brady you guys! Even if your contribution to this trip isn’t found in something as tangible as a close relationship with a Romanian, or as moving as leading a sweet worship sesh, be confident that God is using your gifts to fulfill his vision of camp this week. And if camp has met your expectations and you see the evidence that God is working in and around you, fantastic! Be glad, pray that it continues and pray for your teammates and fellow Romanian leaders who may not feel the same.

    I love you all so much, know my heart is with you in Romania right now. I have been so encouraged by those who have already shared how they have gotten to see God move in new ways. I truly hope your next few nights of small group can be filled with conversation that leads campers and you all closer to Christ. Please don’t forget to give your leaders lots of thanks and love for all they do, especially Pat because I called her out in this.


    P.S. Mel, if you have time after my long post please act out all the following emojis. There is a secret message hidden inside.
    👽 📞 🏠

  5. Grave tidings, sis: The BGs got haircuts. I think Andy’s is particularly horrendous (you’ll see what I mean), but mom is convinced it’ll help his personal growth.

  6. Hey team!! Hannah, Dan, Noah, and Katrina here! We are all in the middle of leading week 5 of MadMish together and are cheering you on from across the pond as we all serve at the same time. (@Luke, Dan is now Hannah’s new backpack buddy) We’re all laughing to ourselves here as you talk about trusting God’s plans in the middle of feeling like your own plans are falling apart. Turns out that is still a thing here in Madison. Last night in the gathering alone, our slides stopped working, our drummer ended up not being able to show up, and our worship team only had about 15 minutes to put together an entire set. That’s how it goes. And God is SO much bigger than what we have in mind as being a “good plan.” Praying for you all! Have an awesome rest of camp and say hi to our friends for us! We’ve appreciated the shout outs (Say hi to Toni K. from Katrina). Someone give Pat a hug from all of us!

  7. Thanks Matt for the long and newsy description of your early camp days. I have been praying for all of you that God is at work in your lives in powerful ways as well as for the Romanians. It did make me miss you. Our house is a bit quiet without you. You will be happy to know that Emmett has once again rallied and is doing well. That old dog 🐕 just won’t quit! Dad and I are going to concerts on the Square tomorrow night along with Nikki‘s parents. Please ask someone to give you a big hug and pretend it came from me!

    • Matt,
      So great to hear about camp and your superhero adventures. Great to see how much you are learning on this second time to Romania. Praying for a safe trip home for all of you. BTW, Emmett is doing just fine👍🏼 and Ridgewood won all-city (and none of your age group teammates made the finals). Egan Bernal won the Tour which is awesome. See you soon!

  8. Hey Leah and Elise! I’m glad to hear that you made it to camp! You guys are making such an impact in these kids lives. I’m praying for you guys on this journey!! On the most dramatic season of the Bachelorette ever, Hannah picks Jed but breaks up with him because he had a girlfriend back home and asks Tyler out on a date during the live finale. Love and miss you guys so much! -Carynne

  9. dude, “comfort in the chaos” is such a great thing to learn, and it’s pretty much how I try to live my entire life. I also know how hard it is. So I’ll be praying for all of you as a team that when the inevitable chaos hits you (in whatever way it does) that you will each find comfort in that moment. And not coincidentally, the way this happens is through faith. And as you put your faith in God, remember that He has invited you to be a part of His kingdom building mission on this trip, so in a way God has put His faith in you. May that bring you comfort.


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