Friday, October 29, 2010

October 3, 2010

On October 3rd we visited churches at Brasov and Feldioara. I truly enjoyed this experience! It was really neat to experience a church in a different language yet God is the great connector... Amazing. Enjoy...

"There are so many feelings that came with today. I woke up feeling so rested but it was more so because I had no sleep the day before hardly. We went to the Brasov church in the morning. It was so neat to hear "Lord, I lift your name on high" in Romanian but our team singing it in English simultaneously. God knows no language, no border, no passport, no race or age. He loves all and calls us as his own. (How cool?!) I felt again, the world is huge. What is pronounced..."Pache" or "Peace," people say it as they greet one another or say goodbye. They say it with such a respect and love to everyone. I think it's customary almost to do it all that are in the room. What ever happened to greeting one another at church? It is like someone decided it took up too much time and removed it from the time in service. What better way to spread the love of God than to fellowship with those around you who worshiping God as well? I've yet to figure out when churches became so business minded rather than people minded. The Romanians have beautiful voices too."

"Tonight we went to church at Feldoiara. Feldoiara is a town outside of Brasov and much different. I really did love the church here. The people were loving and inviting. God has consumed them and it is beautiful. Mandra... one of the women there, you could read the love of God all over her face. She shared a song with us. What a blessing to see the love of Christ so alive in somebody!  We gave them VBS supplies. Simple supplies gave such wonderful looks of joy on their faces as they knew that they would be able to bring the love of God to their children. I can't even begin to thank God for this blessing of Romania and our team. I cannot wait for clinic tomorrow."

That night I was reading through Psalm and found this and wrote it down:
"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness of your salvation all day long, though I know not it's measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O sovereign Lord. I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone." -Psalm 71:14-16

At Feldoiara church, Brother Roger from Mississippi preached of God using ordinary people to do his work. It really touched me in a way. God called me... little ordinary Melissa to do work in Romania. Think about the things that God calls you to do... big or small... to do his work. Embrace it and live it.

Live. Laugh. Love.

Going into the Brasov church!

Their beautiful baptistry!


Pastor Luchie, Donna and their beautiful kids!

Waiting for service to start!

Mandra singing for us at Feloiara church

Savina opening VBS supplies!

Feldoiara Church... Mandra to my left. Beautiful women of God.

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 2, 2010

I entitled October 2nd "Coming Together," because it truly was the day where everything came together. It was a day I had waited for, prayed for and was ready for. So enjoy some of my words from this day...

"Wow. That's really all that can be said. This day was so slow in the sense of all the flying and the lengths it took to get to where we needed to be. But so quick to think that I went to 3 places... 2 continents in 24 hours. It didn't go quite as planned... okay, as I planned." (it never does... does it?)
"I really wanted to sleep on the plane to Memphis to Amsterdam... a 9 hour long flight. That didn't happen for me. I think it was a combination of nerves and horrible sinus issues and distraction that didn't let me sleep. I slept... well.. shut my eyes for about 30 minutes then maybe slept for an hour between Amsterdam and Bucharest. 23 hours of not stopping... exhausting." (Me interjecting now: It's funny to go back and read what you write when you are THAT tired... I left a LOT of words out!)

"One thing that I will never forget is seeing the day change. In my lack of sleep... I feel like I got to see a lot of things that if I had slept... I would have missed it... so therefore I was blessed to not sleep. I could look out one window to see night and another and see day. Made me realize how BIG this world really is." (To note on this: if one thing gets me... it's how the God of everything loves me, little insignificant me!)

"Amsterdam was neat to see. There are so many diverse people and cultures all wrapped into one. I'd like to think of the airport as a big show case of the people God has created... all the different people. People were pretty nice... especially when I was buying something and didn't quite get what they were asking... they bared with my lovely southern accent and lack of foreign knowledge! I did notice that because everyone is so different... people seem more (I wasn't sure how to put this) unaware of one another. They just accept and move on. A concept I think Americans should adopt."

(Me now) I think being in airports is one of my favorite things and least favorite things. I am such a people watcher. But to notice all these different people... I see now the potential to be bold on faith and share your faith with someone. You have SO many people around you and in contact with you at airports. I think the next time I sit in an airport... I'll take myself up on that.

"On the KLM flight between Amsterdam and Bucharest, I had a terrible bathroom experience. I'm pretty sure when I walked out of the "lavatory" that my horror was quite apparent to everyone. Let's call it (Romania team will know what I'm talking about) a 'that's interesting' moment. I have learned that some Europeans are not the most clean people in the world. I walk into this bathroom (I HATE using the bathroom in an airplane... it freaks me out) and there is urine... everywhere. Let me restate that.... EVERYWHERE. That was "interesting.""

We were told in our preparation meeting that at any point that you see something different or offensive just say "that's interesting." Since there is a language barrier people really rely on facial expression and emotion to get your point. I really felt like a spectacle at some points because I definitely did not fit the "typical" Romanian look. I am quite tall, blond, light skinned and light eyes. I said many times... they stare at me like I'm a blond Godzilla. So, since I felt like I was being watched a lot... "that's interesting" has become apart of my adopted vocabulary.

"The hardest part of the trip over was the 3-4 hour van ride. I have never felt so exhausted in my life. It felt like 8 hours to me. I did sleep a bit though in the van but I woke up as I felt the temperature drop from a nice 60 to probably in the 40s as we traveled up the mountain side from Bucharest to Brasov. It was really cloudy and really wet. Before I fell asleep though and a little bit after... I was amazed at some of the living conditions and make shift markets. That is survival for some people. People walk around just on the side streets with livestock. A lot of times you'll see them free on the side of the road and not fenced in."

I talked about the house for a while in my journal and I mentioned about our friend that lived in the wall for the week "boo," the squirrel. He  was there all week and made many appearances during bed time. It made for some good laughs though.

"Today came together with all luggage accounted for (we had a TON of suitcases) and safely through customs with everything still in tact. Praise God! God has great things in store for this team. I cannot wait for church tomorrow!"

You'll see that until we really get into the "meat" of the week... clinic days, church, and down days to think... I would journal a lot about how I saw things so I would remember them. And as I said before, I will not write everything just because some of it was meant for only Christ and myself. Enjoy a few pictures of Air port time and the house!

Live. Laugh. Love.


(The pictures are little out of order, I think)
    At little rock (From left): Sandy, Caron, Garrett, Myself... waiting to go to Memphis!
Precious Beth and Dr. Joel at Little Rock Airport

Tracy and I in Bucharest, getting ready to go to Brasov

Caron and Beth in Amsterdam

Tracy, Sandy and myself in Amsterdam... tired much?

In Little Rock

Tracy and I had to freshen up in Amsterdam after the long flight!

Pam, Tracy and Sandy in Amsterdam

Most of the team from a distance, packing up the van to head to Brasov!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Start

As promised, I said I would begin blogging about journal entries through my journey. Now of course I won't write everything (some of it written was meant only for God and myself) but for the most part... I will share my heart through the trip... So we'll start with October 1st... The start of the trip. I wrote this in the Memphis Airport sprawled out across a few seats. I was really excited, nervous and ready to get going!

October 1, 2010 "The Start"
"I have been praying hard for God's direction in my life on this trip and there after. I feel like the Devil has tried to keep me from this trip--hernia, sickness and negativity. But God is ever faithful and here I am. Today, I will leave and become changed--forever. Isn't it weird to think that I will come back a new person... a person I don't even know yet." (From me now: God is so good. And yes, I came back very changed in many ways. I praise him for that).

"I am waiting in Memphis for our connection to Amsterdam. From there we head to Bucharest then to Brasov. Sounds easy, right? 23 hours of travel once it is all said and done. We have spent almost 5 hours in Memphis! But a blessing... we are already checked in for our flight--so no lines, no 'holding.' We board at 6:40 pm. We already got our baggage checked. We have so many supplies and medicines... the one bag that gets checked thoroughly... VBS supplies. Go figure. The flight we will go on is 10 hours... I'm actually a little nervous. But God is here. I can feel it. I'm ready to start."

God really blessed our team and putting together a group of us who worked so well. He watched over our supplies that we needed and saw us each through to start an amazing journey. I can't help but smile on that... God is really good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back to the "real world"

I titled the "real world" with quotations because so many people today said, "So, how does it feel to be back in the real world?" I would reply "It's okay! I wish I could go back." Truth is... this isn't the "real world" to me anymore. I was in the real world. The real world isn't glamorous and it's not full of all the luxuries that I have. The real world is hard where people  have to grow up to fast because life is tough and you have to be tough for it. It's full of lost people, it has saved people, people who have seeds planted. So, I'll say... I'm back in the world God blessed me with because I feel that's the most true statement.

I am really happy to be back and I missed everyone. But it is a really bittersweet. I did leave 1/2 of my heart there. And as Sandy said, I probably won't really get it back until I go back.... then I'll leave it again. I will have to live with it. But pray in the days ahead as the things laid on my heart progress and play themselves out in God's timing.

I wasn't really able to blog the whole trip so I kept a journal throughout the trip. As the days progress, I will post parts from my journal along with some pictures from the days.

I will be uploading pictures to Facebook soon enough but just know, I will post mostly pictures from our 2 days of sight seeing and pictures from clinic that are appropriate for public audiences (i.e. ones without blood and the devastation of people's mouths before and after treatment) and ones that do not exploit the people of Romania in a way that is disrespectful. Just know that our team did not spend all our time sight seeing, if you see tons of pictures of scenery and hardly any of clinic.... it's just a respect thing. If you really want to see clinic pictures, I will show them only in private.

Thank you for your support during my trip and in the days to come. God is so good. I mentioned this at work today as a challenge and God really laid it on my heart... If God is calling you to a certain path, to him for a personal relationship or some place.... do not turn the other cheek and make excuses (when sometimes that's the easy way out). Trust in him and turn to him and place every ounce of faith you have in him and don't walk but run to him. You won't be let down.

Live. Laugh. Love.