Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Change of Plans

Well…Saturday was quite the day. The plan was for a group of us to drive a little outside of Brasov, Romania to hike up Seven Ladders Canyon and then hike back down and go home. However, that is not quite how the day went.

The first bump in our road to Brasov came in the form of one of the two vehicles we took breaking down. Apparently it is not uncommon for this to car to delay a trip for a little bit; however, this time the problem with the car could not be fixed. That was not the only road bump we ran into, but we did eventually make it to Brasov. However…we did not make with enough time to allow for our hike. Instead we ended up enjoying some time in Brasov for the rest of the day.

This is, obviously, the short version of the story, mostly because I don’t want to type out every detail, but you get the gist of the adventures of the day. But even with all the messed up plans, and frustration that could have easily taken over in each of the moments where the plans went awry, it was a great day. Yes we sat on the side of the road for two hours instead of getting to Brasov on time. So instead, we were able to enjoy two hours of great conversation with our Romanian friends. I think it’s a true testament to the change God has made in my thinking that I can take a day that did not go as planned and just enjoy what makes a day worthwhile—good friends and good conversation....and memorable moments.

Making the most of our delay...eating cherries that David brought.
In Brasov we went to one of the narrowest streets in Europe,
Strada Sforii (Rope Street)

God has been teaching me a lot since we've been here; especially, that my brain really tends to get in the way. There have been a couple times in which I have just dreaded going to work with the kids or something of that nature, simply because I feel a little tired or nervous that the lesson isn't good enough. However, I always go, regardless, and every time, as I’m embraced (or tackled) by children, God reminds me that this is not about me, and that my tiredness and worries are all just my selfishness. I thank God that he has put me here and I pray that he will work through me without me getting the way. And we’ve only been here a month, I can’t wait to see what revelations and slaps in the face the next month and half bring for me and for all of us.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Climbing out of the "pit"

This is the time of our trip that we were all warned about in our cross-cultural training... culture shock. We were told that about 3-4 weeks into our summer, culture shock would start to hit us. And indeed it did, for me at least.

This is officially our third week in Romania and I am starting to make my way out of the "pit" of culture shock.
I am not one to ever be home sick so it was a surprise to me that I would even encounter, let alone be the first to experience culture shock. Little things like our internet at the apartment we are staying at goes out often so Skype dates get either cut short or get cancelled.  It was also hard to find the alone time that I didn't even know I needed, but quickly realized that I do.  I know these things are little, but they were the things that have brought the most frustration.  And honestly I was scared.  I was scared of little things like if the work I am doing even matters to the people here and if I am even going to make a difference in Sighisoara. I was scared of being forgotten as soon as I left for home and of not learning as much as I want to. I know that these are just fears.

My prayers are lifting me out of the pit. I pray that I do not define success in how many people will remember my name after I leave or how quickly I can learn the language. My prayer is that I am faithful, faithful to learning but more importantly, faithful to the people of Romania. As long as I am faithful, I will learn, I will be remembered, I will make a difference. I want to be faithful to God's plan for my team this summer and I look forward to continuing to climb out of the pit.

In happier news, we are having a great time.  We are settled into our host homes and into our schedules at Veritas.  Evans is working in the Kindergarten and Kids Club programs, Michael and Kate are immersed with working with the teenagers, and I am working with Kids Club and Elderly Club programs. Our work in Tigmandru is going well.  Our team travels to the village every Wednesday and Friday to lead the youth group. We do a lesson, we are focusing on character and helping them figure out the kind of person they want to be. After the lesson, we split up into sports and crafts.  Michael and Kate lead the sports and Evans and I lead the crafts.  They usually play soccer for sports but also baseball and frisbee and encourage the teens to have positive attitudes and sportsmanship.  Evans and I are teaching how to make paper beads that can be used to make necklaces and bracelets as our craft in hopes that someday the girls can sell them. Kate and I are also helping teach English on Wednesdays in Tigmandru and next week we are taking over and teaching by ourselves.  It is going well so far!! Sighisoara is beautiful and so are the people who live here!

Our prayer is that we are faithful to the people that we are serving here in Romania and that we are an example of character that we are teaching to the teens in Tigmandru. Thank you for your prayers.