Today was quite a bit different than any other day that we’ve been here. We had to eat breakfast and lunch all while packing up and waiting for our driver to get to Holland’s Hof, which is the farmhouse that we stayed at in Romos. We were heading to camp. Camp week is the week where we volunteer and run the program at a camp that is already well established here in Romania. The kids come from Christian homes already. Which is really quite a bit different than the places we have been previously.
While I actually had 4G coverage, I called my dad on FaceTime hoping for a talk with Norah. I haven’t been able to talk to her all week because she was always sleeping when I called. She likes to hug and kiss the phone when we are on FaceTime and she hugged me for so long on the phone that it made it very difficult to not sob while I was talking to her. I truly miss my family so much and that’s the hardest thing for me on these trips. Saying goodbye for a time to come serve is hard on so many levels. I am trusting them to the care of another and thankfully I have always had wonderful people on board. This time, my sister-in-law selflessly dropped everything four days before I was supposed to leave to drive out to Cheyenne with her five children to watch my three kids with her five at my house. It was heartwarming to see the support for me and Skylar, especially at a moment when I started doubting if I should really be going.
The drive up to the mountains was quite spectacular. It actually reminded me a lot of the drive up to Estes Park in Colorado. There was a river right next to the road with a row of houses and cottages on the opposite bank. The mist and clouds hung between the mountains like someone painted them there. Even once we arrived at the camp, the river had so much mist hanging above it. I’ve never seen anything like it, even in Michigan where it’s humid and gross most of the year. I have never seen mist form everywhere except when I was in Ghana and it was only at the tops of the mountains. Not like Romania at all.
We got to explore the stream and I fully anticipate lots of quiet time spent here for me. I love the mountains and the river because it reminds me of home so much. It was incredibly peaceful.
I had a Romanian man come up to me when we first arrived at camp and ask where we were from. I told him Colorado, like I tell everyone. No one usually knows where Wyoming is on the map, even in the States. We split our time pretty evenly between Wyoming and Colorado and we own property in both, so it’s safe to say we live in both states. And the man said, “Yes, me too.” I literally thought he was joking since he had a Romanian accent and we are in Romania. He ended up being in Colorado Springs and he escaped from Communism to the United States. I will never understand how people can push so hard for Communism here in the US when so many people ran from it here in Europe. It seems just insane to me. His name was Val and he and his wife and three boys just moved back to Romania from Colorado a month ago to become missionaries. He was on fire for God and his wife was truly lovely. We did exchange Facebook names so hopefully we can meet up again if they are ever back in the US again or I am back in Romania.
The camp kids here started playing with these fantastic bubble wands and Skylar joined right in with them. It opened a door for two kids about her age to talk with her. These kids mostly speak English and Romanian so it’s wonderful for her to have friends and not have to have an interpreter there with her. I really love how accepting the kids are here of her and I pray that she makes friends this new school year just as easily and with kids with Jesus in their hearts like these kids do.
The team is coming together quite nicely and you can see the bonds that have started to form. I struggled sometimes in a team setting because there are so many people that you need to work with and sometimes personalities can clash. This team works so well together and we love to hang out and be with each other a lot on our down time. We share a lot together during the team meeting everyday and slowly we are all getting much closer together. The rawness of us all is exactly what God is connecting together and it’s weird how it’s all working. I see so much beauty in the others in their personalities and their stories and how God is using them. Every single one of them has surprised me to some extent. My anxiety sometimes gets the better of me when I start to doubt that I have anything to offer besides photography or that I am not worth them getting to know or that they don’t really like me. It’s difficult to silence that voice even though you know it’s the enemy and your own chemical imbalance talking.
Tomorrow the new set of kids arrive that we will be working with very closely over the next week. We have seven lessons to teach and it’s exciting to see how this will play out with a completely different mindset of kids. I am exhausted every single day and today is no different. It’s cooler here which feels more like home. And the mountains give me a peace and remind me of my husband waiting back at home for me. I am so thankful for his support of this trip and what it means for my daughter and I and the kids we are serving. Knowing that he is supportive and has my back during this has made all the difference in how effect I can be. I am not worrying about his opinion of me during this trip because his support has been extremely evident every time I have talked to him. His belief that God can work through someone like me has carried me this whole time. I am broken. I am weak. And I am fragile. And knowing that God can use me too during this trip for these people has made me feel amazing. I never want to feel like I am not making a difference somewhere for someone. I want to be able to give back somehow and these trips are what I am called to do. I’ve known it since before I was even married that I wanted to take my kids to experience the world and serve in some way. At 36 years old, I am finally able to bring my kids along and it’s truly been life changing for me to see Skylar working and serving here. She’s brave, strong and compassionate and I truly hope when I grow up that I am a little more like her than I am right now.