Cu ceva vreme în urmă am fost o saptămână la Brad împreună cu o echipă de americani, majoritatea liceeni, eu „coadă” după ei să ajut ici colo, pe unde era nevoie, cu traducerea. Am rugat pe câţiva dintre ei să scrie, aşa din punctul lor de vedere, câteva cuvinte despre România noastră aşa cum au văzut-o ei în cele câteva zile petrecute la Liceul din Brad cu tinerii de acolo, la Centrul Creştin „Credinţa” şi la Casa de copii „Emanuel”.
Romania isn’t a common discussion topic in America. We don’t know a lot about the country or its people. When I found out that I was coming to Romania for a week, I had no idea what to expect. Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the experience I had in Romania. It was truly life-changing.
I have never seen the spirit of God so present in a country before. I saw God working through our team to make His name more known in Romania. I saw God in our translators, in the children of the orphanage, and in the students in the high school. Every day brought something new and exciting.
When I think back on my experiences in Romania, I am amazed at how much that trip has impacted my relationship with Jesus. Romania holds a very special place in my heart, and it always will. I still have one more year in high school, and I pray that I will be blessed with the opportunity to return to Romania and see everyone again. I love everything about the country, from the food to the culture to the people. Even if I don’t get to come back in high school, I know I will be back sometime. Going to Romania was the most amazing experience of my life, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this amazing country!
This was my second year coming to Romania with a mission trip. I was thrilled to be back. We had a special focus on the youth of Brad, where we did High School outreach. In the mornings, our group would split up. One half of us would stay behind at the Casa Emmanuel, where we did some work on the house itself. The other half would travel to the local High School, where we would talk to students in every kind of class. Many were so gifted at English that there was almost no language barrier – a blessing, to be sure. After speaking with them about their lives and our experiences in America, we would invite them to come to the Christian center for an evening of fun.
Later, around 4:00, we would assemble at the Brad Christian Center to run a short Vacation Bible School before the students arrived. Once they did come, many of us would break off into small groups and joke around before the program began. Then, we all played games and performed a skit before singing some hymns…our favorite was “How He Loves,” by John Mark McMillan. After that, one or two people would testify about their faith and how the Gospel has impacted their lives. I had the chance to speak about the many different ways of seeing God. Many of us had the chance to talk one-on-one to the students about their faith, the struggles they’ve faced, and the doubts that they have. I believe that God is doing great work and calling them to His heart. We could see changes come over the people just over the course of four short days. Praise God for the work He has done!
I don’t know if I will have the chance to return to Romania, but I know that God is being constantly magnified and glorified here. He has already built up my faith through the experiences I’ve had over two years. Seeing Him use people in the most unexpected of ways is something you can’t forget…you can’t let go of those memories. They are deep in your soul. I praise Him for what he has done here, what He is doing here, and what He will do in Hunedoara County in the far future.
People commonly say that having your first child, falling in love, and marriage are things you won’t understand till they become a part of your life. I had heard so much about Romania from my friends, and I thought that I basically knew what they had experienced. They had told me it was life changing. My own sister has been to Romania twice, and she just told me that I would have to go. For a while God didn’t call me. He called me to spread His name elsewhere. This year I knew it. God told me, and I went. Romania is one of those experiences that you just have to live because it is like nothing else. God is moving in Romania in ways that I have never seen. His presence is filling Romania.
I have been on other mission trips to places like the Bahamas and New Mexico, and I was thinking that Romania would be unique. Europe was going to be new to me anyways. When I got to Romania, I was shocked to see images that I wasn’t expecting. Roads, trees, buildings, chickens, cows, and adorable old folks roaming the streets left my eyes captivated. The people I met were giving, and they wanted to get to know me for who I am. My team and I stayed in Casa de Emanuel with the sweetest children on the earth. They love each other, and they loved us for no reason. I never thought that you could love a child so much. I have lots of experience with kids, but never in my life did I think that I could meet a sweet girl in Romania that would change me. Florina, a girl in Casa, lights up a room. She doesn’t care what people thinks, and she sticks up for herself. We couldn’t talk to each other, but our games were enough. Christ speaks beyond words. Florina showed me that, and I don’t think I could ever forget such a beautiful girl.
My team also had the pleasure to visit the High School in Brad, and we absolutely loved visiting each day. We would walk in to stares of numerous pairs of eyes. I honestly didn’t mind, and once we got to know the students the stares became smiles. We would invite the students to the Christian Center in the center of town. At the Christian Center, our team shared simple messages of Christ. These messages included that Jesus loves us, He cares for us, and that we are being pursued by Him each day. We would be asked many questions after each talk. The Romanians were intrigued by what we shared. They asked questions about joy through Christ and accepting Him. Christ was entering hearts day by day. Sometimes it meant that a sweet girl would be brought to tears, and then a prayer of acceptance of Christ would be prayed. Other days it just mean that Christ was beginning to work with someone more than before. The most amazing thing is that Christ has been working in Romania for years, and even with previous teams from our school. I talked with a girl who was concerned that a girl in her class didn’t know Christ. She came to know Christ through a team that God sent years ago. We were watching Christ enter lives, grow His children, and reveal Himself. They were overwhelmed by the Gospel, and they wanted to hear more.
Many Christians talk about how we should thirst for God’s word. Others say that He melts hearts and moves mountains. I saw all of this happen in a week. People wanted to know Him and give their lives. Some who were scared of religion accepted it. He moved some from hating God to knowing that they need to love Him. I watched the Spirit work, and I will never forget singing of His love with Romanians.
I was expecting Romania to be great and all, but I never would have known that my heart wouldn’t be the same. I thought that I would love it and get over it. There is no getting over what has happened. Facebook and Skype have connected us with those that we met. I find myself waking up early to talk to Romanians, and taking time during lunch to Skype them. When I am praying, my heart instantly starts pouring out to God for the Romanians we met. I know that some have just began to understand Christ, and my main concern is praying that it doesn’t stop there. That is why the internet is a great tool. We can talk about their questions as they come, and I can still tell them I love them. I don’t want to be a missionary for Christ who just leaves. Christ never just left, and neither will I. If it is God’s will, then He will bring me back. For now I won’t forget His purpose. His purpose is to love. His love endures forever, and my love for Romania will endure forever.
Hello all 🙂 My name is Lila, I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been to Brad, Romania three times for mission trips. Each time, God has blown my mind in innumerable ways. If I were to write them all down, Ruben’s blog would be completely clogged with testimony on top of testimony of God’s prevalence.
However, I am writing to simply expound upon my general impressions of the people of Romania. Just to give you an idea from where I am drawing these impressions, our work consisted of relationship building with teenagers from one of the high schools in Brad. During the day, my team and I would visit their English classes and talk about life, or whatever came up. At first, I was struck by the students’ incredible ability to speak MY language in THEIR classroom. I was completely blown away at their overall English speaking and comprehension, but I became even more enthralled with the way that the majority of them learned: American movies and music. In school, I am currently taking my 10th year of French, and for me it takes so much focus to understand just one line. And they’ve managed to learn the better part of a language from them! The work ethic behind it is undeniable…something that I admire very much.
Another chunk of our work would take place in the evenings, when we would spend hours at the Christian Center in Brad, where we would play get to know you games, give a devotion/testimony about Jesus, which would spark deeper conversations about Jesus, religion, and different world views. A topic that seemed to come up time and time again was the Orthodox Church, which has proved to be a polarizing entity in the lives of Romanian teens. While there were some who claimed it as their faith, the majority of the students seemed to find it to be out dated, harsh, and hypocritical. Most of students, while they understand the traditions and the motivation behind them, find the general feeling of hypocrisy and overly ritualistic practice to be stifling. There were a few times that I was presented with the same description of little old church ladies gossiping about everyone in the congregation, which isn’t too different from certain churches in America as well. This image is the epitome of what most individuals (including myself) struggle with-separating the imperfections of the congregation from the perfection of Christ. However, in terms of the Orthodox Church, I got the impression that the students saw it as a particularly rigid religion, and less of a way to find spiritual encouragement and community. In fact, it seemed to be that there was entirely too much religion involved, and not enough tangible spirituality-a feeling that is common among young Christians in America as well.
I could write for pages and pages and pages, detailing every thought, every breath, every taste of Romania…so much of me has been changed for the better by these three trips, and all of the people that God used to work, Romanian and American alike. I’ve seen God transcend language barriers and stark differences, and go a step further to illuminate similarities and be the rock on which international relationships can be built and maintained. How is God so good?