These last few days of thoughts and emotions, I have had to piece together a little at a time. On the last days of clinic, I will admit that I really delayed writing about them for several reasons. I was growing more physically and mentally taxed. Here is what a clinic day is typically like: 5:30 a.m.- wake up to shower and get ready for the day. 6:30 a.m.- eat breakfast and call family to check in with them as they turn in for the night. 8:00 a.m.- out the door to clinic and make the 45 minute drive or so to Feldioara. Usually, we were met by a crowd of people of all ages with this look of hope on their face that they will get a ticket to hold their place in the clinic that day. Although they looked hopeful, they looked almost tired or worried that that day might not be their day. It's hard to describe. Clinic is usually due to start at about 9:30 a.m. but depending on our set up time, it usually started before then to start seeing as many people as we could. In Feldioara, it was always a steady stream of people, so it was very easy to just work and lose all track of time. Although there would be patients waiting, we would usually realize it was 1 p.m. or so and it was way past lunch time. We would sneak away for about 15 minutes or 20 minutes to the back room and then make our way back to the clinic. We would work until about 5 or 6 o'clock. One night, I think we didn't leave until about 7 p.m. It's hard to know that you were done working but the work wasn't "done" because people were turned away because you did all that you physically could that day. Literally. I struggled with that more this time. By the time we ate dinner and got settled to do the devotion, it was about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. Of course, you check in with family after again as they begin their day and try to start thinking about sleep by 11:00-11:30 p.m. I was writing my blogs when I finally got in bed and most nights would find myself falling asleep as I wrote. Sometimes I was done by midnight. Some times after. But 5:30 a.m. would come and we would do it all over again. It is the best kind of tired. But by the end of this past week, my brain needed some rest. Some people have asked how many people we saw. To be honest, I'm not sure and I don't really care (I will explain this a bit later because it's not "heartless" as it sounds! I promise).
When I came last year, I lived on this adrenaline of the unknown at all times and everything was so new. I processed the culture shock fairly easy and quickly. I feel like I did most of my processing of what I had just done when I got home. I would look at photos to reflect on the relationships I formed and thank God for opening my heart wide for this call and to hopefully take me back again. I realized I left this piece of my soul with the people in Feldioara and Brasov. This time was different. I knew before I went there were certain uncertainties about clinic and in the hearts of in these people, that my team held so dear. I was so eager to get back and let God use this talent He has given me for His glory alone. Boy, did He use me in the most humbling ways and I feel like He broke my heart for what broke His. I felt every high and every low in real time this time. Sandy and I had many discussions about how these uncertainties and the want to do more weighed on us and just taxed us. I was telling her that I never was this tired last time. I began to process things as I would blog and it was good. But by the third or fourth clinic day, I felt that God had me at a "breaking point" of sorts... in a good way. I needed to step away from this blog for the last part of the trip because God needed to speak to me and really let every message He was laying on my heart sink in. I needed to wrestle with these uncertainties that the enemy had placed in my mind. I needed to collect myself, to be honest. Thursday is when the day that my emotions finally came and I let them just come as they were. Raw. As I sit on this long 9.5 hour flight home, I feel like I begin my debriefing. In the days to come, I will share what God wants me to share as it becomes more clear. With that, I cannot say how much everyone's support lifted our team and the prayers sustained us. Thank you, will never be enough.
As the week went on, I got a little selfish in a sense. I wanted to take that extra time to spend with my team and with the Romanian's that poured their lives into ours. The relationships I formed are like ones you have with a best friend, a confidant, a sister and a brother. They have such a deep hold on my soul. It hurts to leave. I know my team shares that same sentiment. I would find myself meditating a lot on the people we came to help. I saw a lot of new faces and a lot of old ones too. I can't describe the feeling when you automatically recognize a face even though it has been 3 years and they recognize you too. To be hugged by the same arms that hugged me tight during my first time there, grips at my heart strings. I feel like that's just another blessing from our Jehovah God. On our last devotion for the week, Bro. Jerry said something that I had not thought of. We were talking about how hard it was to leave because you leave pieces of your heart in Romania (as I've said before)and with the people there. Your soul is invested. He said... "You take pieces of their hearts too." Perspective. As we said goodbye to the people at Brasov on our Saturday clinic and to the people in Feldioara on Sunday after church. It broke me and I saw it broke them too. It's a bond that is unexplainable. If you ever question where God's presence in your life is... look in front of your face. It's right there, in all of it's beauty.
I realized how guilty I have become about not stepping out and sharing my faith and soul for God more often with even the closest of people that I know. Toben brought a devotion on Thursday night and God meant for me to hear it and let it sink in. I NEEDED to have my feet held to the fire like that. It's easy to share in Romania. God called me loud and clear on that one 3 years ago. How often am I missing the call and the nudges in my daily life to go seek out the spiritually needy in my life? Often. That is something this week that broke heart, more than anything. But God used the Romanian people who seek out the spiritually needy in their communities and those who are closest to them and pursue them with God's grace and fire. That passion is contagious. I want to be contagious. That is what I pray for myself and for the RoMed 2013 team.
As we left clinic every day, I couldn't help but to feel, " we could have done more." That statement is true. It's true because the need is great. There would be steady work daily if we were there for a month. But God had us do the work that He intended at this time. It's a hard thing to grasp but it is true. He faithfully blessed us to see more people than we planned for ourselves. He saw us through until the very last patient. Bro. Roger brought a devotion about how we have helped many and there are many more but our work is not in vain. It has been done only through the Lord. We have planted seeds that may not be sewn for some time. But even if only one person was touched through our work, it mattered to that one person. That is what lays in my mind when I said "I don't care" or get hung up on the numbers. Yes, we want to help a lot of people but it's not the quantity of the soul... but the quality you instilled. If that makes sense? If I never see some of the individuals we helped on this side of heaven. By God's grace, I am confident that I will see these precious souls on the other side of heaven. That is precious beyond measure. Thank you God for that eternal hope!!
I will conclude this blog on that note. I will share more as my soul is ready. Thank you again for all the prayers. Please continue to pray for the Romanian's that worked along side us and also those who had some needs met in their life by God and our team. Pray for the very churches that we worked in. Pray that God grows them and hand picks leaders to rise up and share His good news. Pray for our team as we all begin to debrief and to reflect. Thank you, doesn't cover it.
Live. Love. And see God's presence waiting for you.