Tuesday, October 15, 2013

God's presence in many forms.

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. 


Thursday, October 10, 2013


Clinic day 3 was quite possibly the most exhausting but also rewarding. Around this time, things start to set in with you. You begin to wrestle emotions, questions, culture shock and just pure exhaustion. It's a hard but blessed process and not one team member's journey is quite the same. There was a general consensus among the group that we have never had such thanks given before. I know I blogged on the thankfulness of these precious people but I can't describe it. For me personally, the thanks displayed throughout the clinic allows you to see the increased hope and spirit of individuals who have had it less ideal than what we are afforded in our lives. God, in turn lifted my spirit as He lifted theirs. I needed it. I know our team needs it because it has been emotional and tiring week on a "team level" but also in individual lives. I ask that you pray for our team members that are really dealing with heavy burdens, worries and questions in their lives but also praise the moments where God makes it abundantly clear to us that He alone provides the hope that renews our souls and He is Abba Father in our lives.

Sandy asked me to share Isaiah 40:31 without knowing that I planned on blogging about hope as I was overwhelmed by the hugs and kisses from almost every patient today. It is written in Romanian:

"dar ceice se încred în Domnul îşi înoiesc puterea, ei sboară ca vulturii; aleargă şi nu obosesc, umblă, şi nu ostenesc."

May the morning and our last clinic day in Feldioara find us in a place of renewal from our precious Lord, as it will be emotional to leave. Pray that God meets us the moment we wake ready to see His work done with the strength that He provides us. May we not grow faint and forget that His plan for our work in Feldioara does not run on our schedule but His alone. 

Live. Love. And hope. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My devotional verse today is "Don't you know? Haven't you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; He created all the world. He  never grows tired or weary. No one understands His thoughts. He strengthens those who are tired and weak."  How many of us walk around tired and weak because we try to be the planner of our days and the author of our story? I am so guilty of this. But He promptly reminds us that He is the foundation in our lives and His grace is truly enough.  He  gives grace beyond what  you and I deserve.  He gives us much needed rest.

Rest was what was needed today for everyone  in different ways. We had two of our awesome team members fall ill with a stomach bug. It was horrible. Please pray that Nikki and April will find the strength that only God can provide to continue to press on and feel better. Also, pray that we  continue to do God's work the next three days in Feldioara and Brasov despite if the sickness spreads ( hopefully not)! We are expecting to hit our capacities as far as patient load is concerned very early in the day and work until the "cows come home" literally! Pray for  us to maximize the time to meet physical needs but also share the hope of our Savior with these precious people. I know God will see to it.

Today we did some sight seeing at Castle Braun (aka Dracula's Castle), shopping at the markets and at Metro (Romanian Costco/SAMs Club!),  Wok Street and taking in  breath taking sights on overlooks! As busy as it was, it was restful and nice to just recharge your batteries.  I can't wait to be able to share all the photos. I've said before that our team is an awesome bunch and a funny group but to get to just be with them today was just awesome. You start to hear what is going on in other parts of the clinic and their stories and how God is working in their life. I thank God for today because it was truly good and restful.

Pray for our team as we begin our three days straight of clinic. Pray that God is  preparing the way for His grace and love be impressed upon the Romanian people.  It is amazing how at home I feel here. As we stood on an overlook that looks down on Brasov, our team joined hands and we prayed for  this community.  It is overwhelming at times, like today, to know God hand picked this team one by one  to be sent in His name here. He chose me....3  years ago and knew what a seed of love He planted of love in my soul for these people.

Thank you for praying and just taking the time to read my thoughts. It is how I decompress. It is how I praise. It is part of how experience this joy when the busy of the day dies down. Pam and I talked about how tired we were tonight. But she said it best.... " It is the best kind of tired and exhausted to be." Amen.

Love. Love.  And rest.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Thankful. That word emulates this experience on several different levels. Anyone who has spent time doing missions or living in another country for more than a couple of days can attest that more likely than not, you leave changed and thankful for the luxuries that we are afforded in the States. But that only scratches the surface, in my opinion, on the thankfulness that truly sinks in to your core.

We walked into the church in Feldioara for clinic today and were met with several faces already eagerly waiting. My heart skipped a beat because I knew our day would be full on many accounts. Yes, full for the amount of patient load we would carry but also full of God's love and grace covering each section of the clinic. God has been so diligent to place us in a place with a great need physically and spiritually. For that, I'm thankful. A lot of the patients were new today but several familiar faces were present, some again for a visit to the dental clinic, some not. One thing was constant among them... they relayed how thankful they were to be out of pain and just feel better. Genuine thankfulness. I don't mean my thankfulness is genuine when I come back to the States when I say mine barely scratches the surface. But when these precious people are thankful, they make it incredibly clear just how thankful. To have a woman who I just gave several injections to and Dr. Joel just extracted teeth just minutes before, cup my face in her hands and just hold it there to look me in the eyes and express her thankfulness to God and then her thankfulness to our team is indescribable. She thanked our Almighty Father first. Think about that. How easy is it to praise man first and thank our Father anything but because we cannot see him? How precious that she did. To have a gentleman who visited with us, kiss our hands after we finished our work, is unforgettable. It overwhelms me. Although I have been called to exemplify God's love and mercy through the very talent he gave me, which is a blessing in itself, He continues to warm and bless my heart through the people of Feldioara. I am thankful to experience that kind of thanks and pray that I too can learn to act in thanks rather than just speak it with my mouth. 

God has such a way of providing during our busy days. There are times when you do get overwhelmed and a little frustrated but God continually provides a calm and peace hat only he can provide. He also had crafted each moment of these days way in advance to provide the right amount of supplies and the needed people to make it through the day. He provided April who has been vital to our team by sterilizing instruments to make sure we have clean instruments when we need them. I am so thankful for her willingness to jump right in to an area unfamiliar to her, just to help. Also, for her wit and humor to get through emotional times. Amidst many moments of  thanks today, this one really stands out: We treated a woman who actually spoke Hungarian, rather than Romanian, which made it hard for our amazing translator, Lydia, to do her job. But wouldn't you know it, a woman waiting beside her... she knew Hungarian and could be the translator for our translator?! Thankful. Just thankful that a language barrier did not keep this young lady from receiving much needed care. I am thankful for God's grace through His provisions to help maximize our work but pray also that we continue to recognize them and grow from them. 

I'm incredibly thankful for our team. They are a funny bunch that lead to van rides of unending laughter and smiles. But they are also some of the most talented and incredible people you will ever meet with kind hearts for the Lord. Tonight during devotion, Dr. Kim discussed a little girl she saw in the eye clinic that had a surgery recently that left her in dire need of a much stronger strength glasses that we could not provide without chipping in money, taking the girl to the eye clinic here, which s very expensive for Romanians, and buying them ourselves. Without hesitation our team said yes, let's do this, how much do we need and what can we do? This little girl... will be getting her much needed glasses and precious sight back. Praise God. I am thankful to be apart of such a strong team. 

God is working in my heart on a very personal level just as He did my last visit here. He keeps prodding me patiently as I wrestle with my own fears and logistical thinking but has been bringing me to a place of extreme clarity. Pray as I begin to step out and reconcile these changes in my life because they will be big. But not too big for God. I'm thankful for God's clarity as I press ahead to seek His will. 

I am thankful. So, thankful. 

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband! I love you so much! Just had to add in just another person I am thankful for!

Live. Love and Thankfulness.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Only through God... Clinic Day 1

Clinic day one is officially over and all I can say is "wow." If you have ever been on this type of mission trip, you'll know it is physically and emotionally exhausting. But it is the kind of exhausted you want it to be. Our morning started off a little hectic with forgetting some of our key suitcases at the house. We had to wait on our supplies to be brought to us and then start wading through the growing line of people waiting to be seen.

In the dental clinic, we really found our groove today and stayed busy once we had all our tools! I gave a lot of shots...A LOT of shots! I learned a lot and I surprised myself a lot. I guess I had forgotten from the last visit about how tough these people are. The want for the pain to be gone outweighs the temporary pain of an injection. I would give shots that people in the States would really give me a fit over and these sweet people, although some are nervous, would just simply... take it. There's no way of putting that any other way. Dr. Joel and Beth did such an amazing job with the extractions. In situations that became frustrating and chaotic, I felt God provided our dental team with peace, compassion and a little bit of humor to push through.

The medical team and Dr. Kim our Ophthalmologist were diligent in meeting so many needs today. My favorite moment today that literally has made the whole trip thus far... came from Dr. Kim's part of the clinic. A woman named Cornelia came in to the dental clinic crying. Lydia, our translator, rushed to her side in fear that she was terribly nervous about her dental visit. Just the opposite. This precious woman of 69 years of age got her first pair of glasses. She could FINALLY see clearly, for quite possibly the first time. Glasses are very expensive and often any money earned does not get spent on one's self but necessities like groceries or bills. Therefore money for glasses, dental work and doctor visits are rare to come by. Cornelia wept in sheer happiness and cried out loud that only with God was this possible. She praised God to those around her while she waited without ceasing and of course, my heart was flooded with joy and the tears began to flow. Things that are luxuries: glasses and sight, we take for granted because we are afforded them at much lower costs and we have insurance to help. There may even be an app for that! This sweet woman was beside herself. God painted the most beautiful picture of Cornelia, that I cannot even think about with out getting teary eyed (even as I type). She was given a bible. as she opened it, she began to touch the very words that her faith has been based upon... just by sight alone. She began to read God's holy and precious word aloud and continued to cry in sheer praise to our Creator. Never will I forget that moment. I know that the sound of her voice reciting God's word was the sweetest sound to His ears and to mine.

My quiet time was Philippians 4:6 where God asks us the think upon things that are noble, right, true, lovely and pure. If it is excellent or praise worthy... think on it. This day can be described with those words and I know... I will forever be thinking on it. God is good.

Pray for our 2nd day of clinic. Now that word is getting out in the village, we will become increasingly busy and our prayer is that we will meet all of the needs in Feldioara.

Live. Laugh and Praise God for seeing clearly... Possibly for the first time.


Sunday, October 6, 2013


I was really debating writing today for a couple reasons. One, I'm exhausted. For some reason I do not remember being this tired last time. One would think at my ripe age of 25, I'd go full steam like I did when I was 22 (on my last visit.) Unfortunately, not the case this year! It will get better though! Two, today was a down day to prepare for clinic this week. But God kept prompting me to write and by the time I sat down for my quiet time tonight, I knew what he wanted me to write about... I had no choice.

 We went to church in Feldioara today and saw some familiar faces from our last visit! It was such a joy to see these precious people and meet new ones today that will be present during our clinic time! It warmed my heart to hug these people and have them remember our last visit together.

In church, we worshipped with the Romanians in song and in the Word. Bro. Jerry preached an awesome message on Jeremiah 33:3 in service today and shared the wonderful message of our God remaining constantly when nothing else seems constant. And that His grace is sufficient because I cannot do it on my own. Ever. No man can do this life on their own. All we have to do is just call on Him.Truly think about that for a second. The God who made your/my very being WANTS and ASKS me, a dirty and not righteous sinner, to call on Him, the King of Kings, and the Great I Am. When we call, He keeps His promise to show us great and mighty things. He makes our frustrations and I can't statements more hopeful, more possible.

Possible. God knew what to put that in my quiet time to tug my heart right into this blog to share His message. As I opened up my bible app that houses my daily devotional to read this simple yet powerful verse, "But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.' " God intended that message alone to be the lesson of the day. I have to confess that I get nervous about clinic. I am numbing up the patient for the dentist and I LOVE giving local shots (Yes, I'm weird!). But I worry constantly that what if I don't numb them enough, what if I don't hit the right "landmark," what if I hurt the patient and what if they are uncomfortable. These are legitimate worries in my mind but boy do I feel silly as I type them because I KNOW that God already is overcoming these worries. Yet, God is gentle with my stubborn self and he lets me have a lesson twice in one day to really hear what he is saying. We serve a God of possibilities when things seem not so perfect and even impossible. Simple. But again, powerful. I needed this because I will surely fail in my own worries but will only rise above when I trust my worry and my fear to the Lord.  Pray that I will put my impossibilities in the One who is author of possibilities and Hope, Jesus Christ. Pray with me also, that very same prayer for our team as we have hit a lot of unknowns this trip.

I cannot wait to post about all the miracles and successes tomorrow that will be made POSSIBLE through our Heavenly Father. Pray for our team as we provide physical care to those who are in dire need but also, nurture their spirit as well. It is going to be a busy day! We had one patient actually come to church because she thought we started clinic today. She was READY with a capital R and I'm sure she would have let Dr. Joel pull a tooth on the spot. I know we are READY to see these special people of Feldioara and with our Abba's help... The impossible made possible. Pray that for our team.

Thank you for your prayers and kind emails! You guys ROCK! Update for our week: we have added an extra clinic day this week to work in the city of Brasov. We worked there last visit and I know there are souls waiting to be met with Christ's love and compassion through our work and His word.

Until tomorrow.

Live. Laugh. And possibilities.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

"I saw the light!"

Travel days are always the most exhausting and yet exciting days! You are so ready to get to your destination but you feel like it will never end. I definitely had my fill of both today, as I know our team did. Satan has already tried to set up roadblocks for our team but God is ever present to just bulldoze them down.

Yesterday in particular, there were some minor hang ups at the airport in Little Rock. When you have a large medical team with personal and supply suitcases... those little things are bound to happen. We anticipate them. As a member of our team, you check your own suitcase and then you are assigned one medical suitcase to check as well. So, being one of the dental crew, I was in charge on a portable dental light to check. It is in a large box with a handle that encloses the light in its original bag. The box was duct taped with razorback duct tape, of course! On a side note: Dr. Joel and Mrs. Beth had the portable light and a portable dental chair donated to their mission trips. It is such a blessing to have this year because our last visit the dental chair consisted of stacked lawn chairs and energizer head lamps or sunlight... SERIOUSLY. So, I have this light which lets face it, the Delta lady had not laid eyes on that before! Without going to long, the light eventually went through and God provided the right amount of baggage funds to pass our team and our crazy equipment through.

As usual, I didn't sleep for the longest leg but found myself unable to stay awake for our last 3 hour flight from Amsterdam to Bucharest. God knew I needed that 3 hour nap badly for what was about to ensue. As we made our way to the baggage claim in Bucharest, one after the other, our bags made their way out unscathed by customs and the TSA. I was checking off the bags in my head one by one.  "There's mine.... There's the chair... There's.... Where is the light?!" We waited. And waited. We knew it would come out soon. Then the carousel stops and no light in its razorback duct taped box appears. "Oh, no. Maybe it's something I did?! What if it is lost?," I began to worry. Beth and I made our way around being passed to a couple counters before we made contact with the nice lady at the Bucharest airport in charge of lost baggage. We find out our light didn't leave out of Little Rock when we did. It was left but made it on another flight. Our lucky light went a totally different route... Little Rock to Atlanta to Paris to Bucharest but it was in en route at that moment between Paris and Bucharest. It couldn't be delivered to the house we are staying at because it was a medical device. I felt tired and boy, I did feel defeated. I definitely wasn't seeing the light... literally and figuratively. Again, Satan had put up a roadblock. I stayed behind along with Sandy, practically my second mother, Toben and one of our translators, Florene. The rest of our team began the last leg of their journey to our "home." The four of us were stuck at the Airport with specific instructions for the next 2 hours. We caught up and talked to Florene and talked about how Satan keeps trying so hard to make this trip fail on many fronts but we know God will come back with twice the force.

The two hours passed quick and I made my way following the instructions to reenter the airport to retrieve this light. I walked in alone leaving Sandy on the other side of the exit sliding doors. To my surprise, another girl about my age was missing her luggage as well and we waited together. We struck up a conversation quickly and I learned she was finishing up college but had spent her summer working in the travel agency business in the US. Her name was Adalina. Beautiful name, huh? She began to ask about our trip and why were here. I told her. She then asked what things would we do on the side here. I mentioned that we would go to church in the morning, which I was so excited about. Without skipping one beat, she asked me what kind of church I went to. It hit me, God turned Satan's roadblock into a stepping stone. It all made sense... The worry was gone and I beamed with joy. I explained that I am a Christian and what that meant to me. I shared about God's ultimate sacrifice but His victory to overwhelm the grave so that I may live forever. Again, without missing a beat, Adalina said, "You know, I have started to look into God and the Christian faith more since I lived in the states. I want to learn and research more." I let her know that I believe God meant for us to meet in that moment and encouraged her to see what God had waiting for her. She agreed. I saw the light in that moment...literally and figuratively. I grabbed my razorback duct taped cardboard box with many stares to behold such a sight. Adalina and I said goodbye and I met Sandy on the other side of the  sliding doors. I told her what happened and she simply said, we know why we were meant to lose that light today. Florene in his straight forward ways simply said, "I would have waited another two hours to have that happen again." Me too... A thousand times over.

We are too blessed to be stressed right? Pray that our team continues to see the light that God has placed before us to guide us to do His will but also to teach us His grace. We head to Feldioara for church in the morning and to set up clinic for the week. Pray that we are welcomed with open arms and that word will travel quick about our clinic for the upcoming week! Thank you for your prayers thus far... They are working!

By the way.... It's below freezing and we have snow on the ground. Pray for our team as on our level of the house we have no heat. A lot of blankets for this group!

Live. Laugh. And see the light.