Today I had an amazing day! It was our last day of the retreat and I think it was one of my best days the whole weekend. In the morning I started my day off with prayer with my prayer group, a little morning stretching that Sue led, devotions and breakfast.
After we ate breakfast we had our last session at the retreat. This was our last chance to present our partners to everyone so I had no choice but to do it this time as well as everyone else that didn’t do it yet. My partner Lavi presented me first and she was so sweet of the words that she shared about me.
Lavi told everyone that I am working with orphan and gypsy children that I have a lot of
courage to live in another country. When I shared I didn’t speak as long as Lavi did because I did it in Romanian and I felt nervous. Even though it wasn’t “perfect” when I presented about Lavi, I’m glad that I took that step. I’m glad that no one laughed at me and they seemed to understand me so that was a bit encouraging for me.
One of the Pastors shared about evangelism for the last teaching session today. I really liked when he said prayer goes hand in hand with evangelism. I definitely agree with that you cannot effectively share the gospel without first spending time in prayer and pouring out your heart to God for the people who desperately need to know the hope and love of Christ.
After the morning session we ate our lunch which was our last meal at the retreat centre. During lunch I had a good conversation with Pastor Cornel (he is one of the three Pastors at my church). He asked me a little about myself of how long I have been in Romania and what I do here. I also asked him a couple of questions too.
I asked him about translation at church and how to become a member of the church. He told me to become a member I need to be committed to the church for at least six months (if I go away for a weekend that’s fine) and then one of the Pastors will interview me. I thought that was interesting to become a member you have to attend at least six months. Though I think they are looking for commitment. I also thought it was interesting that we need to have an interview with one of the Pastors at the end of the six months. I guess every church does it differently.
After lunch we took a group picture of everyone who went on the church retreat. Then we
were free to leave to go home if we wanted or the other option is to go on the hike to see the waterfalls. I really hesitated if I should go again on that long hike or stay behind with the others who didn’t want to go. I mainly hesitated because my legs were still sore from yesterday but I still really wanted to see the waterfalls.
In the end I decided to go on the hike again to get a second chance to see the waterfalls. I knew if I didn’t go see that waterfalls I would have really regretted it because I don’t get a lot of opportunities like this to see a waterfalls run down a mountain. I’m so glad I made the decision to go again because that time God gave me was so priceless beyond what I could put into words!
I have to admit I was still feeling tired from yesterday’s attempt to go see the waterfalls so it was hard to get my body moving and walk another four hours today but I do believe God gave me the strength that I needed to do it. If I didn’t go again today I wouldn’t have had the bonding moments that I had today with some of the people from the church. It is kind of interesting that the people who I spent time with today I really didn’t spent much time with the first two days of the weekend.
The first hour I got to spend a lot of time with Lavi and Cami. They both didn’t know English very well so they wanted to practice their English but I also wanted to practice my Romanian. In the end we just went back and forth but mostly we spoke in Romanian. At first I felt ashamed of myself because my Romanian is so bad and I even told them that my Romanian is bad.
I was surprised though how incredibly encouraging they were to me. They never laughed
once at me and in fact when I think of it now no one laughed at my poor Romanian the whole weekend. I don’t know why I had this feeling of being ashamed of myself then. I felt overwhelmed the whole time we were on the hike how much encouragement that I received from everyone and even all weekend at the retreat.
I just felt so encouraged by how both Lavi and Cami told me that I am a courageous person to live in another country and do what I do. I mean honestly sometimes I don’t feel very courageous at all! I explained to them it is because of the call of God on my life and the love He has given me for these children I work with. I wanted them to understand that it wasn’t about me but it was about God who has called me to Romania otherwise I definitely wouldn’t be here today.
When we got the point where we turned around when I was with Chris and Sue yesterday I thought to myself okay here we go again. I told a few people that I came to that point but I was disappointed that I couldn’t go further to see the waterfalls. After a quick break to catch our breath we started to make that climb up that part of the mountain.
Almost everyone went ahead of me except for Lavi, her husband Mihai and Pastor Cornel. Lavi was a little ahead of me and she encouraged me to keep going forward. Mihai and Pastor Cornel were behind me (probably because they saw I struggled and maybe they wanted to wanted to make sure I was okay). I was quite surprised how afraid I was climbing up that part of the mountain. I was thankful for the help and guidance that Mihai gave me of where to place my feet to go up and also the encouragement that Pastor Cornel gave me as he told me to be more courageous.
It was a great feeling to make it past that difficult area! The rest of the way to where the
waterfalls wasn’t as difficult but we still had to be careful where we stepped as we still hiked up and through the mountain. On the way to where the waterfalls was we enjoyed picking some berries. There were some delicious blackberries that we enjoyed!
When we finally arrived to where the waterfalls was I was amazed at the sight. The waterfalls was just beautiful as it ran down the mountain! I am so glad that I decided to go today otherwise I would have missed this beautiful creation by God. It was totally worth it to see it. Romania is definitely a very beautiful country!
After a short break at the waterfalls we headed back to where to the retreat centre. It was nice to take a break to take pictures and some people enjoyed picking berries. Unfortunately my right foot slipped into a pool of water when I turned around to get my picture taken so the rest of the way back my foot was wet which wasn’t very pleasant. Oh, well things happened and I do not in any shape or form regret for going on that hike!
The first hour on the way back as we hiked through the mountain it was a bit easy at times
but then a bit difficult at other times. I am thankful again for the guys who helped on the way back. The last 45 minutes or so on the way back I spent time with Cami. It was great to get to know each other a bit more. We went back and forth to English to Romanian. I am thankful for that time that God gave us together and also with Lavi too.
I am so grateful for the unique and special time that God gave me on the hike to see the waterfalls. God gave me a very special bonding time with some of the people from the church. God also taught me a lesson of courage and perseverance especially when you have a goal you are aiming towards to not be afraid or give up even when it is difficult and you’re tried. If I wouldn’t have gone again the second time I wouldn’t have had this experience or learned these lessons.
When I got back to the retreat centre everyone was ready to go home. I went back with another family because the car I came with was now full. It was so neat that I went back with Calin and Lavi (this is not the Lavi I went on the hike with but another one) because I found out that they used to work with Pathway to Joy Ministries for a year and they were very involved with the beginning of the ministry at the Sabolciu gypsy village on Sundays! It was great to hear what they did with the kids and families!
I arrived home around 9:15pm. I felt bad that I wasn’t able to see my friend Eva when
got back home because she had already left and I got home much later than I expected. It was great to see Minnie (my cat) when I got home! She seemed happy to see me too as she purred when I picked her up.
I called Eva to see how her weekend went with Minnie and she told me that everything went well. I apologized for not calling her during the weekend and told her that I couldn’t because I didn’t have any signal in the mountains. She told me that everything was fine and even Minnie finally got used to her. I was so glad to hear that everything went well while I was on the retreat.
What an AMAZING weekend I had!! I would like to thank everyone for remembering me in your prayers as I was at the retreat. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go on this retreat with the church. Before I left for the weekend I really wasn’t sure how it would go but it was even better than I expected it to be! I am so grateful that I was able to meet and get to know so many people from the Viată Nouă (New Life) church and I felt comfortable enough to even speak Romanian with them! I have decided to make it now my home church here in Romania! Praise God for all of His faithfulness!