Our day started just like every other day here. Breakfast at 8:30 am, followed by prayer time for the program today. We pray that the kids’ hearts would be receptive to the message and that bonds would be formed. We did a little worship time as well.
We were headed back to Geoagiu again. This is my favorite community and I was happy that we ended our time with this one because I loved it so much. I wanted to focus on shooting the older generation of this place because I feel their stories will be ending soon and I want to be able to share them before they are gone. I saw the woman from Wednesday and I was able to give her a huge hug and she kissed my face and told me, “God bless you.” She was my favorite person of entire time here. Our souls connected the first second I met her. It was instant and deep. I’ve never felt another human being so quickly or deeply. I can usually connect pretty quickly with people even before any words are exchanged but this woman was different for me. She was kind and tender and loving and there was something about her that was different than anyone else I have ever met. I knew that the people here would effect me more than I would them but I was not prepared for her. And my time with her was probably about two minutes total the entire time I was here. Briefly one day and even briefer the second. It was almost like God reached inside me someplace very deep and created a bond with her in only the way that He can. I desperately want to come back next year just to see her for another two minutes. And maybe I can know more Romanian enough to not need a translator so I can go to her alone and spend time with her.
I also saw Alex, who is the boy from the first day with a mental disability. I saw him in the community when we were collecting the kids for the program with his family and I was able to go up to him and hold his hand and give him a kiss. He smiled and hugged me and his family’s faces lit up and were so happy I knew his name and took the time to come over to him alone and see him.
I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday that I actually saved to my phone and printed it for my Roterfaden journal. It said, “We all smile in the same language.” This has never been so true to me as much as it has been here.
I was teaching again today. I was teaching storytelling to the kids here. Sometimes it feels like you are fighting for the words to say and the kids will wait for the translator and then still have blank looks on their faces. But then you hand them the cameras for them to practice and they shock you with what they actually heard and picked up from the teaching. There were two boys that have come every single day and have done an exceptional job each time. Aria taught the devotional and the kids in our group were extremely receptive and you could feel God right there with each of us there.
There was a little boy that attached to Enoch so much so that he refused to leave when the rest of the children did. He stayed with us for another hour until our ride showed up and then burst into tears when he found out we were not coming back the next day. We don’t know what kind of place the boy lived in or his family experience but these kids are starving for love and attention.
It was our host’s, Gerry, (said like Gary) birthday today. She wanted to do a BBQ up at their cabin at the top of the mountain. So we had another hike ahead of us. Thankfully it wasn’t nine miles, but it was straight up the mountain. They don’t believe in switchbacks here. It’s literally straight up and intense.
They dropped us off at the closest road and drove the truck up. The roads are too washed out and slick from the wet season they’ve had this year to carry us all up. So while we all hiked, they drove with Jessica and the kids with all the food we were going to make up there. When we were nearly to the cabin, we found the truck they were driving had nearly slid off a cliff with Jan (pronounced like Yan), Gerry, Jessica, Rosalie ( 1 year old) and Louie (pronounced like LOW-ie) (4 years old) inside the truck. A small tree saved them from sliding completely off the cliff. It was truly terrifying. We all worked together with their neighbor and would use the jack to jack up the truck on the side of the cliff, stuff tree branches under the tire, move the jack and repeat that process in layers. Then about seven of us piled into the back of the “French machine” as Jan calls it and added weight on the back tire. Finally it pulled out back onto the road.
The turn on the road where it opened up into the property was stunning. Never had I ever seen anything quite like it. While these are not the Rockies where I live, they are something quite unique. Grass covers the mountains and willow trees grow with thousands of species of trees and wildflowers, wild cherries, wild strawberries and wild blueberries. The sounds of bells carry on the warm breeze from the cows just beyond your field of view.
Jan and Gerry started the BBQ and cooked an authentic Romanian dish for us. Pork chops, uncured bacon, sausage, mountain potatoes with a special cheese, homemade bread and a salad made from tomatoes, homemade mozzarella and cucumbers. We sat under a trellis made from wild grapevines and tree branches with a specific “V” in the top. It was actually quite clever. It reminded me of something my dad would Jimmy-rig together.
I took Jessica’s family picture here because they needed a new one for their website and newsletter.
The truck ride down….where do I begin…Let’s just say that I have a very intense fear of heights. Most of the time I know that its an irrational fear and I really don’t need to worry. Not this time. The road was so slick it was like ice. It was also so washed out that every slip and drift meant only a few inches was saving us from careening to our deaths below. I was sitting on the floor of the bed of the truck holding onto Rebecca and Careena’s legs with my eyes tightly closed and trying not to cry. I literally thought we were going to die right here in Romania on the side of this mountain.
Safely back at the farmhouse, we ended up living for today…We did manage to get a video of the ordeal among the bumping, bruising, jerking and sliding. We had ordered pies (cakes) for Gerry’s birthday and it was chocolate with rum. I’ve never had anything like it but it was quite fantastic!
Tomorrow we head to camp where they have zero cell reception or wifi so it will be awhile before I can chat with my family or post a blog post.