|Debrief after orienteering on Monday.|
A week ago, our last round of VIATA camp as participants (ages 5-17!) arrived. I was completely exhausted and not exactly enthusiastic for another bout of camp but God's grace was with me. My team leader for the week was extremely gracious and allowed me to take a nap on the first day :) Before I went to bed that night, I told God that I was at the end of my rope - in desperate need of energy, strength, faithfulness, and spiritual protection. Although the beginning of the week was a little rough, I began to realize how much I must depend on God to be led on the path of everlasting life. As I continued to read The Passion of Jesus Christ, I was blessed to realize that Christ sympathizes with me when I feel weak and unworthy to come before the throne of Grace. He knows my struggle yet he tells me to confidence when I feel my need. A verse from a John Newton hymn reminded me that my needs are never too great for God to meet:
|Trust building activities|
Large petitions with thee bring;
for his grace and power are such
none can ever ask too much.
Because of Christ, I can come before my God boldly asking him for forgiveness and for strength to die to myself and live with Christ. He loves to show up when we ask him to be a part of our everyday!
God's faithfulness was so apparent this week as I interacted with both staff and participants. This week I wanted to create a space for the staff to come read the Bible and pray together before breakfast. Most days I was by myself but 2 out of the 5 days, Marta (from Latvia) joined me. It was such a blessing to spend that time together as we read from Romans and from The Passion of Jesus Christ together. The conversations we had about the effect of sin in our lives and the grace of God were uplifting to both of us. God truly showed up even if it wasn't exactly what I had anticipated! Marta told me how much she missed her church back home and how grateful she was to be able to spend time reading the Bible with me at camp. Praise God for answering each of our prayers and for strengthening our friendship!
As for the participants, it was the best week by far! Boomer, my team leader, let me facilitate several of the debriefs with the kids. Even though he still translated for me, I felt as though I was able to get to know the kids better than I have in past weeks. Debriefing is my favorite part of camp because that's when kids are able to verbalize the growth they see take place in themselves and in the group throughout the week. My kids were also patient with me as they taught me some Romanian (colors, numbers, simple questions). One of the IMPACT interns for our group, Stefana, and I even had the chance to talk with the girls in our group about what it means to be a beautiful woman. The conversation and feedback we had during that time was amazing and I praise God for the truth that was shared! Boomer, Stefana, Manu, and I (the leaders) worked well and had such a great time together and it was apparent that the kids really enjoyed their time with us as well. It was hard to watch these kids leave, but I'm glad I had the chance to meet them. On Friday after the participants left, the staff spent some time together playing some games, debriefing, and enjoying a barbecue. At the end of the night, we said our goodbye's to most of the staff as camp is over for this month.
|Manu monkey-face :)|
Although this week had several highlights, it was difficult for me for several reasons: I'm beginning to feel frustrated with some aspects of the culture here; I miss my mom (and the rest of my family and friends); the language barrier creates just that- a barrier with participants and leaders; I can't help but to bring up "the way we do things in America" in most conversations; I miss lettuce salad, peanut butter, hamburgers, and pancakes; I miss Faith Bible Church; I miss running; and the list could go on and on. Before the barbeque on Friday, I got to a point where I wanted to be alone so badly that I started hiking down the mountain. I got a third of the way down when I realized that I didn't really want to give into culture shock. I didn't want to give Satan a foothold in tearing me down over minor frustrations. Ephesians 6:10 came into my mind so I stopped on the roadside to find my Bible.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."
|My leader/brother Boomer :)|
As I read it I realized that I wasn't fighting against my colleagues but rather against the strategies of the devil to isolate me and snuff out my light. For the first time, I feel as though I've truly realized what it means to stand firm after the battle. I prayed for strength to return to my colleagues to that our time together could end on a positive note.
Yesterday, Marta, Grace and I had a time of reading the Bible, sharing stories about our lives, and crying together. God truly answered each of our prayers about providing "family" during our time in Romania and I'm so blessed by these girls! We spent the day thrift shopping and then had dinner with Kelly, Jack, and Isaac - vegetarian spaghetti, with garlic bread, wine, and banana bread ;) Despite my nagging desire to be alone (thank you culture shock) I was glad that I stayed as we debriefed the week together sharing our sentiments and struggles about life in Romania. I was reminded that even though I'm struggling here, I HAVE learned so much and continue to learn something each day - whether it be about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, the Romanian culture, or about myself. Back when I decided I was coming to Romania, I believe that God was with me every step of the way to make sure I got here. He has a reason for my time here and my prayer is that for the next 3 weeks I continue to embrace HIS plan and not my own.
Today God continues to reveal to me how the pieces of my life are fitting together to create an amazing picture for his glory and my prayer is that he would continue to sanctify me - heart, soul, mind, and strength, for His glory. Although I have know idea what the puzzle will look like once it is finished, I am content to take each step with joy and perseverance!
|Staff and participants week #3|