I am "officially" planning to return to Romania in September!
You know what's weird though...I'm also extremely excited to return for a longer adventure in the fall. I can't imagine coming home and not knowing if/when I would be returning to Sighisoara. Honestly, I would be devastated. Obviously, I miss my family, friends, home, etc., but this is where I truly feel I'm supposed to be right now. I think I've mentioned this in a blog post or maybe just in conversations with some of my family and friends, but I feel at home here. No, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, but I can honestly say that it's been FABULOUS (I have to keep using this word...it applies to so many situations!). I have experienced so many new things...escaped my super comfy comfort zone...learned how to better serve others...and so much more. Remember when I talked about the peace? THE PEACE. That feeling hasn't come to an end, and I don't think it will. Many of you know that the song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" spoke to me during the time leading up to my departure. The one line that ALWAYS hits me is, "You've never failed and you won't start now". This is the truth.
The sermon in church today was about fulfilling your purpose. We've been working our way through the parables, and Roberta spoke about the fig tree in Luke 13: 6-9. She talked about finding our purpose by doing three things: having fellowship with others, worshipping God (every day...not just at church on Sunday), and...the third thing has completely escaped me. Ugh! That's what I get for not taking notes. BUT, she referenced I Peter 4:10, and I know I've read/heard the verse before, but it really struck me today. It says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms (NIV)." Before I came, I was a little anxious about how I would serve during my time here. Once I arrived, it became clear that that wasn't going to be an issue. There were/are so many opportunities for me to use my gifts and talents. As someone who hasn't always been the most confident in her abilities, this is kind of a big deal.
In looking I Peter 4:10 up to type it above, I happened to read the verses before and after from The Message, which paraphrases it to say the following in verses 7b through 11: "Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!" Enough said.
The thought of having to share this EXCITING news via social media (Facebook, blog, etc) makes me cringe. It feels a bit impersonal, and I hate that. However, I did not want to wait until I got home to share the good news. And I know that all of FABULOUS supporters would want to know this information ASAP!
Upon returning, I will be doing a lot of what I've been doing...working with teens, children, people with special needs, etc. I'll continue to work with Veritas and the Church of the Nazarene. There is also a social work student coming in September, and I will also be helping to supervise her as she completes her social work field placement/internship through the Romanian Studies Program. I'm very excited about that opportunity as well! There are so many things I want to do when I come back and so many relationships that I want to continue to build. I realize that I'm smiling to myself as I write this post...It's THE PEACE I tell ya!
I'm still talking with the folks from Nazarene Mission Corps about the financial piece...which I definitely just typed as "financial peace". Coincidence? I think not. Anyways, I don't know my official total for the year, but I will be sharing that with you as soon as possible. I'm hoping to have some type of fundraising event when I'm home in order to connect with you and share more about my adventure. Yay! Details to come...
In May, I met someone who had served as a volunteer for Veritas a while back for about 5 years (I think). We were talking about our experiences, and raising support. She put people into three categories: those who are meant to GO, those who are meant to GIVE, and those who are meant to PRAY. This struck a chord with me for many reasons. For the longest time, I was in the PRAY category...then I moved into PRAY and GIVE...and now GO. I hope and pray that you will think about which category you fit into...for yourself, but also in how you might be able to support my Romanian adventure.
And of course, I can't end this post without thanking you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As I wrote in my last post (Insights & Investments), I would not be where I am without all of you. I truly believe that the peace I've felt is, in part, due to your prayers. The financial support has also been unbelievable. Thank you does not even begin to cover it. I look forward to sharing so much more about this adventure during my time at home as another way to thank you. Thank you.