On Sunday January 3, 2016, I moved to the other YWAM Cheb base staff apartment in Cheb, Czech Republic. I was so very grateful of how God had brought a such an authentic reconciliation between the DTS students and I the previous day but my heart was still sad that I could not continue with the team whether I was a leader or not it just broke my heart so much not to be able to finish the DTS outreach with the students and to be a part of their journey during the outreach phase.
I didn’t understand why all of this was happening but I just had to keep surrendering this to God and to trust in Him through this difficult season that I was now in. I was extremely grateful of how God had opened up the doors for me to stay at the other YWAM Cheb base
staff apartment for a couple of days before I went to Prague. It was a real blessing to share the apartment with Hannah and Mat and also to have my own room was a special blessing especially God gave me to have my own space to rest and spend time with Him.
I have to admit though when I had moved to the other apartment I really struggled with loneliness because I had got used to living in community with the team I was a part of. I had to get some groceries for a few days so I went to the grocery store by myself and when I did it just felt really strange of how lost I felt because even though I had been to that grocery store before with the team it was just so different to go there on my own. I had to literally ask God for His help of what to buy and I also ask Him to remind me that He is with me at that time.
On Monday January 4th I took a lot of time to spend time with God and to process some
things in my journal. In the afternoon it was a real blessing to spend some time with my new friend Klaudie (we met at the youth group at the local church). I also bought my bus ticket for Prague for Thursday of that week.
The next day (January 5th) I had a busy day with meeting up some of my friends I met in Cheb to get together with them and say my good-byes to them. In the morning I met with Jana (she is part of the YWAM staff team), for lunch it was really great to enjoy it with Jess, Annie and Sarah who are three English teachers that I met through my friend Beth from Canada and for dinner I ate pizza with my new friend Rochelle.
On Wednesday January 6th I was really hoping to be able to spend some time with the students and go out with them to a café but unfortunately it was not possible which was quite disappointing not to get to spend some time with them before I left Cheb. I ended up spending some time with God, processing in my journal and packing to leave the next day.
On Thursday January 7th, in the morning I spent some time with God and finished all of my final packing to leave. It was really difficult for me to leave my team that I was a part of because it really did break my heart that I couldn’t finish the outreach with them so my heart was sad that day when I left Cheb.
I was extremely grateful that Ira (she is a part of the YWAM Cheb staff team) took me to
the train station and we got to spend a bit of time together at a café before I left. Then my new friend Rochelle who I met when I was in Cheb came to the train station just before I boarded the bus which was so very sweet of her to come and say good-bye to me. It was such a blessing from God of how Ira and Rochelle gave me hugs and we took some pictures together which really cheered me up a lot in that moment when God knew I needed some cheering up.
After I said my good-byes to Ira and Rochelle I boarded the bus and sat in my seat for my 3 hour bus ride to Prague. I left Cheb at 1:00pm and arrived at 4:15pm. I was so very grateful that God had opened up the doors for me to stay at Roger and Robin’s house again for 4 nights before I returned to Romania. I honestly though felt quite nervous to travel on my own from Prague especially to take a bus, then the subway (metro) and then to find their house on my own. When I was in Prague the first week on the outreach with the students I ended up following them a lot around from the house to the subway station which is quite a bad habit that I have when I am at a new place to follow people when I am with a group and not manage on my own like I should so this is why I felt nervous to find their house on my own especially in the evening after dusk.
I am incredibility grateful for all of the people who had prayed for me during this time. I definitely felt in my heart and my spirit that people were praying for me especially for how I saw God was with me, how His hands were on everything from the moment I left Cheb to the moment I arrived at Roger and Robin’s house. I am so very thankful that my bus ride went well; I was able to buy my bus ticket for Timisoara, Romania when I arrived at the bus station in Prague at the Eurolines booth there and then I took the subway to their house.
I can honestly say it was amazing to see from the moment I took the subway from the bus station in Prague is when I continued to see God’s favor and His kindness shown through people. I was literally blown away by the kindness that I saw from total strangers who had helped me with getting me subway ticket, changing subway lines, helping me with my suitcase up the stairs at the last station and this woman who didn’t speak much English even helped me find Roger and Robin’s house, she even led me right to their door! Wow, God is so good! Their son Josiah was there when I arrived at the house at 5:20pm and it was a real blessing to see everyone again and have a relaxing evening at their house.
On Friday January 8th, I had a restful morning and then the rest of the day it turned out to be quite busy but it was a really great day in Prague! I met Arie (she’s on the YWAM staff there with her husband) at 3:30pm at McDonald’s to enjoy a hot drink and catch up a bit and after that she took me to this outdoor market place where I was able to buy some souvenirs.
Then I met Dada (she is also on the YWAM Prague staff team) at 7:00pm. We got something to eat for dinner and spent some time together catching up. Around 8:30pm God gave me a very special blessing during my time in Prague when I was able to join the rest of the YWAM Prague base staff and a couple of other volunteers to join their Friday night ministry to the girls who are in prostitution on the Red Light District. This was my first time to do ministry there in Prague because the last time I was there I was not able to talk to any girls since there were too many of us.
We met for almost an hour to discuss the current chapter they are on from the book they are going through together called “Stopping the Traffick: A Christian Response to Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.” I thought it was really great that they are going through this
book together because it is kind of like a training or like a Bible study time before they go out to do ministry.
I think it was around 9:30pm that we prayed and then went out to speak to the girls and the men who are “flyers” (these are men who try and get people to go inside the night clubs and the brothels). We split into two ministry teams and went out until 11:30pm to do ministry in the Red Light District area. I honesty couldn’t believe the difference that I saw in the atmosphere and the people from the day time to the evening. It was like a complete contrast and a world of a difference.
During the ministry time we handed out New Year’s gifts to the men who are “flyers” and also to the girls. We were able to talk to some of the girls and pray for them. I was really touched when one of the girls put lip balm on my lips from the gift that she got from us. I was quite surprised to see the amount of girls who were there that are from Bulgaria. It really broke my heart to see so many of them there in the situation they are in. I went to bed around 12:30am that night quite tired but so very thankful for day that God gave me.
On Saturday January 9th I helped out with Roger and Robin’s new Czech church location with some of the cleaning up in the morning. At that same location there will also be the new YWAM Prague office and the International Church of Prague will have a ministry centre there too. I’m really excited for this new church and ministry location because it is right in the Red Light District area where they will feed homeless people and reach out to the girls there. It is like a spiritual light house in the darkness!
On Sunday January 10th I went to the International Church of Prague service in the morning which was really great to go to not only go to an English speaking service but it was very international too with so many people who go to that church who are from many different countries even including Canada. I found the sermon very encouraging and very timely to hear it which was on the scripture passage from Hebrews 12:1-3, to keep running the race that God has set before you and to not give up but to keep pressing on with perseverance. I really believe God wanted to remind me of this on this day especially with everything that had happened during the outreach. The rest of the day it was a pretty laid back day I got some groceries, rested and spoke to my Mom on Skype in the evening.
On Monday January 11th it was my last day in Prague before I returned to Romania. I stayed
at the house during the day where I rested a bit, cleaned a bit and I cooked a spaghetti dinner for the family which I wanted to do because I felt really blessed of how they had opened up their home to me for a few days. Around 8:45pm Robin drove me to the bus station for me to get my bus which was another blessing from God.
Then at 9:30pm my bus pulled out from the bus station for a very long overnight bus ride. The drivers were Romanian and most of the people on the bus were also Romanian as well. On my bus ride I watched a movie; read a bit and tried my best to sleep but unfortunately I couldn’t get much sleep at all.
On Tuesday January 12th I arrived at the Hungarian/ Romanian border at 8:00am and then I was very surprised that the bus arrived an hour early in Timisoara at 10:00am. I had never traveled overnight in a foreign country in a bus before by myself so I did feel a bit nervous with traveling back to Romania alone but I am extremely thankful for everyone who had prayed for me because even though I had travel alone I was really not alone but God was with me and I did sense His constant presence that He was with me the whole time.
I am so very thankful of how God had opened up the doors for the American couple who has been counseling me to invite me into their home for 4 days before I returned home to Târgu Mureş where I live. Last year in September my base leader told me about them and I am so very glad that he recommended them to me because they are such a blessing from God beyond what I could possibility put into words. I had been meeting with them on Skype since October of last year once a week or on a bio-weekly base but this was my first time to visit their house where they live which is in a small village just outside of Timisoara, Romania.
I really enjoyed my time with Doug and Diane at their house even though we had 3 very
intensive counseling session days but it was definitely worth it and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I also believe God knew that I needed some time to not only process all of the “emotional stuff” that I was dealing with through counseling but to also have times to rest and relax with them as well.
We saw a few movies together, my favorite was “War Room” which is about prayer and we visited Timisoara on Thursday afternoon which was a special treat because I got a enjoy an American hamburger at the restaurant we went to. I was also really grateful that Diane was able to repair my purse that I got from Uganda that was starting to fall apart but I honestly didn’t want to throw it out because it was quite special to me.
I have to admit during my time with Doug and Diane when I was at their house I went through some extreme up and down emotions like on Tuesday when I arrived that day I found out about my acceptance to go to the Shine Seminar in Amsterdam (you can read more on that in another blog called “Going to the Shine Seminar”) and then the next day I found out from my base leader that it wouldn’t be possible to re-join the DTS outreach team for their last two weeks of the outreach in Craiova Romania (January 17th – 31st) which was a huge disappointment for me because I was really hoping to be able to finish the outreach with the students and to learn more about leadership skills from my base leader because I knew that he would be leading the team during that time but God had closed the doors and I couldn’t do anything about it so I had to surrender it to God even though it hurt so much.
One of the counseling sessions that I had with Diane on Thursday morning, she asked me if there was a worship song that we could listen to and sing. I told her there was a song called “Letting Go” by Steffany Gretzinger from the Bethel church that God put on my mind the previous day. It is a song of letting go and completely surrendering to God. After we listened to this song God then led the discussion to talk about surrender.
Song: Letting Go by Steffany Gretzinger
I told Diane that I am trying to let go and surrender to God with everything that had
happened during the outreach and now with not be able to go to Craiova it really hurts so much. I really appreciate that Diane really challenged me and told me that I must make the decision to surrender people and things to God even if I don’t feel like it or not. She also told me that right now there is a huge spiritual battle that I’m going through right now, the enemy is throwing these darts at me and the Lord is battling for my heart right now because He wants to be Lord over every place in my heart.
When Diane challenged me with these things it was very strong but it was spoken with so much love and compassion and I felt God speak directly to my heart. After I had that discussion with her I went to the room where I stayed and just fell on the bed crying out to God with tears streaming down my face. I expressed to God how much I needed Him, how much I was struggling with fully surrendering to Him because I felt like my heart was so broken so I decided to listen to the song again and as I did I completely surrender everything to God as I felt God’s presence fill my heart at that moment. Wow, God is so good and He truly does love us so very much!
On Saturday January 16th it was time to return home to Târgu Mureş. Doug and Diane took me to the bus station at 2:15pm, for some reason we had a bit of difficult time finding where the bus station was so I started to get concerned that I would miss my bus but at that moment Diane just encouraged me to trust in God and then we found where the bus was. Then it was time to say good-bye and find my seat.
It felt like an extremely long bus ride back to Târgu Mureş. It was about 6 ½ hours so it was definitely very tiring and we traveled a different way than I was use to traveling in Romania because we went through Deva which was the halfway point of the trip. When we were in Deva I had a bit of panic when I discovered that the driver couldn’t open up the back where everyone’s luggage was kept. I really tried not to worry and to trust in God that everything will be okay but these worry thoughts kept running through my head.
I decided to send Doug and Diane a SMS text message and ask them to pray about it. Doug responded to me and told me that it was a good thing that I was not in control but God was and it was another opportunity to trust in God. Then just shortly after I got his text message the driver was able to finally open the back after trying I think for at least 15 minutes or more. When I found out he was able to open it I just praised and thanked God for giving me another miracle. After that the driver told everyone to put their luggage inside of the bus because he wasn’t sure if the back door will open again if he closed it again at that time.
That evening I arrived home around 9:30pm. It was so good to see Minnie my cat again and also Miriam (I live with her) as well. I went to bed that night so very thankful of how God had taken such good care of me especially for all of His protection and provision over the last week and few days since I had left my team. It was a very difficult time for me but I am grateful of how I had grown closer to God through this time and also for how God had reminded me of how close He was to me of how He never left me during that time.
During the two weeks the DTS students were in Craiova, Romania it was still in my heart to be with them but I had to keep surrendering it to God. Now when I look back I am really thankful of how God gave me some very special times of encountering Him throughout those two weeks (January 17th – 30th) as I spent time with Him and read a book that He really spoke to me a lot. I am so very thankful that Doug and Diane had recommended me to read the book called “Trusting God even when Life Hurts” by Jerry Bridges because the Lord really revealed a lot to me from that book.
I would like to share some of the insights that God spoke to me from that book and I hope by sharing these things on here you will also be encouraged to go deeper in your faith and trust in God as well.
• I realized anew that, just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time. Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but my will. I never feel like trusting God when adversity strikes, but I can choose to do so even when I don’t feel like it.
That act of the will, though, must be based on belief, and belief must be based on truth. The truth we must believe is that God is sovereign. He carries out His own purposes without ever being thwarted, and He so directs and controls all events and all actions of His creations that they never act outside of His sovereign will. We must believe this and cling to this in the face of adversity and tragedy, if we are to glorify God by trusting Him.
• David did not exercise his heart in seeking to understand them (adversities). Instead he chose to be still and quieted his soul in submission and trust toward God. If we are to honor God by trusting Him, and if we are to find peace for ourselves, we must come to the place where we can say, “God, I do not have to understand. I will trust You.”
• You and I, like David, must wrestle with our thoughts with God’s help we too, can come to the place, even in the midst of our adversities, where we will be able to say, “I will trust in Your unfailing love.”
• Now I am learning that trusting God is first of all a matter of the will and is not dependent on my feelings. I choose to trust God and my feelings eventually follow. If we are to trust God, we must choose to believe His truth. We must say, “I will trust You though I do not feel like doing so.”
• To grow in your ability to trust in God in times of adversity, you must first lay a solid foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Only as you know Him intimately and seek to obey Him completely will you be able to establish a trust relationship with God.
Well, I must say this blog ended up getting much longer than I had anticipated it to be which is probably because I’m such a detailed person when I share some of my experiences but I hope this blog was a somewhat of an inspiration to you to keep your eyes on the Lord through all of the trials in life you will face, to keep trusting in Him even in the midst of all of your pain, questions and “mess” that life throws at you and to always remember that God our Father will never leave us or forsake us because He has promised in His word (Hebrews 13:5b) to always be with us.
I just want to thank-you for taking the time to read this blog, to listen to my journey that God is taking me on in trusting in Him more both as a missionary and in my personal life and thank-you for all of your prayers as well.It means so much to me to know that there are people who are interested to hear what God is doing in my life, to be a part of it with me and for all of the times that you have prayed for me too. You are truly such a blessing to me beyond what I could put into words and I’m so very grateful that you are a part of my life!
Some of the other scripture verses God spoke to me during this time were: Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Peter 5:6-11, Romans 8:28- 29, John 7:38, Psalm 13:5-6, James 1:2-4, Hebrews 6:19, Ephesians 6:10 – 18, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 and Isaiah 41:10.