Mission team journal
May 15, 2012
It's time for another update. God has been gracious and provided many blessings over these past weeks.
Last week, me and my team (Amanda and Jessie), with our leader Annie, had the opportunity to visit the Word Made Flesh Community in Romania. It was very interesting to see what they do there and to meet the Romania staff. Since they've been present there for over 10 years, things are much more established compared to Moldova, where they've only been for 2 years. They have their own building with a huge garden in the backyard where they grow all kinds of vegetables. We helped out with watering the garden, played jump rope with the kids, and helped with other random jobs. The following week we got to attend a week-long Word Made Flesh Regional Retreat which happens every 3-4 years. It took place at a camp in the mountains in Romania. The Word Made Flesh staff from Moldova, Romania, and Sierra Leone were there. It was an exciting time to learn about the ministries in these countries and to hear first hand information about their experiences in these places. Fortunately for me, almost everyone there loved to play games. We played Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Peurto Rico, Dutch Blitz, and cribbage, and there were even some tournaments going on for these games. It was a lot of fun!
While in Romania I received the sad news that my grandfather passed away. It was extremely difficult hearing this news while being so far away from my family. God blessed me with a supportive group of people here, and the retreat in Romania provided much solitude time for me to reflect on my grandfather's passing from this life to the next. It has been really tough not being present with my family and not being able to attend the funeral. Throughout all the tears and sadness, I have recieved a lot of peace from God during this time. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to Skype with my extended family for an evening when they shared memories about my grandfather. It was a huge blessing to be part of this. God has been so gracious during this difficult time.
I now have 3 weeks left in Moldova. Please pray that God will keep revealing his light in situations that seem dark, broken, and hopeless, that I will see Jesus in the kids I work with at the boarding school, and that I can live and be present here knowing that God's kingdom has come and I have been given new life in Jesus. I really appreciate all your prayers.
P.S. Here are some more cultural facts about Moldova:
-There is something called "the current" that many people fear because they believe it will make you sick. This includes any breeze/draft/airflow that enters indoor spaces. On trolley buses and microbuses (which are large vans that function as buses) it can get really warm, especially when it's 30 degrees outside. However a maximum of 1 window can be open, no matter how hot it is, because if 2 windows are open it will create a current. The same goes for inside buildings and houses. If a breeze is coming through the window it will likey be shut.
-It is also believed that if you walk around barefoot inside the house you will get sick. I am offered slippers almost every time I enter someone's house.
-Moldovans are very generous with their food. They will never eat something without offering you a generous portion of it. Whereas in North America it is common to have your own lunch or buy a snack and eat it without sharing with others, in Moldova, people will generously share whatever amount of food they have. Instead of giving whatever they don't want to finish, they will share the first bite or the best part. It's beautiful and something us North Americans can learn from Moldovans.