This morning I went to Sabolciu with Aubrey, Kelsey, Tabita, David, Norbi, Mircea, Victoria and Ambella. We gathered together in the church the first half of our time together to sing some songs with the children and then we split into two groups – the boys went with David, Mircea and Norbi and the girls stayed with the rest of the volunteers/ staff. I was not a part of the boys group but later I found out it went very well. David led a discussion on what it is to be a man and then all of the boys got temporary tattoos. I was with the girls. Kelsey led the discussion from Proverbs 31:10- 31 about what a noble woman is about. She did a great job leading the discussion and all of the girls listened! I liked how Kelsey asked them questions to get them thinking of what true beauty in a woman is. Afterwards we got the older girls to wipe the younger girl’s faces with hand wipes and then we put some mascara on the girls. I know the girls really enjoyed it! Just before we left we gave all of the children a snack. What a great time!
I went to Aubrey’s apartment after Sabolciu for the afternoon. After lunch Aubrey and I decided to talk about the choir tour fundraising project a little more. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages it might have to do this project and some other questions we wanted to ask Karen when we meet tonight. Yesterday I wrote out some things that I wanted to say to Karen about the camp situation so I showed that to Aubrey and we talked about that for a little bit too. We also spent some praying together too. I am glad we got a chance to meet together before our meeting together with Karen.
I met my friend Stefan at McDonalds from 5:45 – 6:45pm. He shared with me how he wanted to go to Germany to work there but things did not work out for him to go there but instead he stayed in Romania. He told me if he had gone to Germany then the opportunity to go on this mission to the Moldova part of Romania would have never have opened up for him. I was amazed by his simple child like faith as he explained to me that he originally went to Târgu Mures to bring a girl from the airport I think from Cluj to Târgu Mures, then just to stay for a couple of days and then return to Oradea.
Stefan basically went with the clothes on his back and that’s all he had with him. However the leaders of the YWAM base asked him if he could help with the team’s mission so he decided to stay. He told me how God provided for him and blessed him during his time there and how he desires to return there. He encouraged me that God has a purpose and plan for our lives and even though we may not understand why we cannot go somewhere that we desire to go God may have another plan for us. Before we said good-bye he prayed for my meeting with Karen. It is always encouraging to hear other people’s testimonies and to hear what God in their lives.
When I went to Lotus mall where the meeting was at first I couldn’t find where Aubrey and Karen were but thankfully after a couple of phone calls I figured out where they were sitting. I felt a bit nervous to meet with Karen because when I say her yesterday at the water baptism service in Sabolciu she only said hello to me and even that felt awkward to me. Then the time before that when we last spoke face to face was when we had that conflict when the team was here so I really didn’t know how our meeting would be.
We met for two hours at the Lotus mall. The first hour I met with Aubrey and Karen from 7:00 – 8:00pm. During that time we talked about the possibility of doing a choir tour in the Eastern Southern States with a group of children from the Sabolciu gypsy village to fundraise for the educational building. I was a bit surprised by what Karen said that she now does not think it would be a good idea because when she and her husband took the orphan children on tour last year it was very emotionally and spiritually draining for them so she does not want to lead the tour again and her children which is understandable. She also told us that she does not think Aubrey, Mircea, Norbi and I are capable of leading the tour and presenting in front of churches (I guess because we don’t have the personality for it?).
I know it is a huge responsibility and project to take on but to be honest I really believe that Aubrey and I heard from God and feel in our hearts that He wanted us to do this. I know the final decision comes from Cornel and Karen though. Aubrey asked Karen if she can go to the States for a couple of weeks in August to do fundraising for Pathway to Joy Ministries’ new fundraiser (I forget what it’s called – something to do with children fundraising and doing little projects) and asked her if she could continue to pray for the choir tour idea at least until she returns after that trip. We also talked about our ministry plans we want to do in the fall.
Around 8:00pm Aubrey decided to leave me with Karen and do some shopping errands in the mall. To be honest I was surprised she did that but maybe it was better that way. My time with Karen turned out better than I expected it to be and I didn’t even feel awkward with her which I was very glad that I didn’t feel that way. I started off the conversation by apologizing to her if my e-mail that I sent her on Friday evening sounded selfish or rude in any way because that was not my intention at all but I told her that I just wanted to express my desire to be with my former church for their summer camp. Her response to that really surprised me. She told me that she knew that my intentions were meant to be pure and that she knows my heart.
I told her that because I lived in Târgu Mures and was a part of that church for almost 3 years that I very much miss them, my heart is with them still and of course my emotions are still tied with them there. She really surprised me by how much she showed through our conversation and meeting together that she truly does care for me and understands me. I was even surprised that she still goes through times of loneliness and she has been here 7 years now. She understands my heart desire to be with my former church but as a full-time staff member she explained that it is important to be a part of all of the teams and the Calgary Chapel’s annual Eastern Leadership conference which is every year in June in Hungary. I asked her if I could go to my home church’s camp with the youth and young adults in August she had no problem with that. I asked her if I could visit Târgu Mures for a week in September and then again in October for a weekend for my former church annual fall conference and she also had no problem with that.
We talked about other things like about the foundation’s camp, about Steve and Tiffany moving here to Romania with their family in November (they visited here a couple of weeks ago), about how much I miss talking to my Nana about things I struggle with and other stuff. One thing she told me kind of hit me and stayed with me when we said good-bye was when she said “as a career missionary you’re going to encounter things along the way in your journey…” For some reason I never really consider myself as a career missionary and I never really said it verbally to anyone either but when I think about it I am and I know that God hasn’t called me to be a short-term missionary but to serve Him long-term. I honestly couldn’t see myself to anything else with my life and I wouldn’t want to be any other place that is not in God’s perfect will.
I would like to thank everyone for praying for my meeting with Karen. Even though the camp situation has not changed and yes I do feel disappointed that I cannot attend camp with my former church but I think my heart has changed. I believe God has touched my heart because after my meeting with Karen I felt better and not bitter, I actually felt encouraged and I don’t really have any negative feelings towards her. She does have a good heart and I’m thankful for her being my director. I truly believe that God has led me to serve with Pathway to Joy Ministries and I feel it is very important to have a healthy relationship with her as my director and the rest of the leadership and the staff I work with here.
In evening when I got home I checked my e-mails. I got a really encouraging e-mail from my friend Emma whom I lived with for a month on one of my short-term mission trips when I was in Bucharest in the summer of 2002. She said to me that totally made sense and I don’t think nobody ever said to me nor did it come across my mind either. She told me that when you join a ministry it is like you are in marriage to that ministry. Wow, I honestly never thought of that but in a way it is so true!
This is what she wrote that I think is worth having it on my blog for a time when I want to reflect back on it someday.
“I think that something Karen said struck a chord for me. She said she wanted you to be on board with this ministry that you are currently serving. I have a rhetorical question for you that might help shed a bit of light on this subject:
If you were married, and your husband wanted you to go with him to a family get together out of town at the same time when you had other plans that you were really looking forward to…what would you do? I think that if it really meant a lot to him, you would go with him, in the interest of keeping unity in your marriage.
Serving a ministry is like being married. You work really, really hard and make a lot of sacrifices, but it’s all worth it because it’s for a much higher cause that lies outside of ourselves and fills us with a rich deep wisdom within us.”
I am very grateful for the wisdom that Emma brought in her e-mail to me because it gave me a different perspective! In the evening I also spoke to m parents on Skype for an hour. It was good to talk to them like always.