I travelled to Romania for 10 days in November with my best friend leading a team of 14 of us.
This was the furthest I had travelled into Europe. I had been invited to participate in this mission opportunity for the last three years. This year was the first time “yes” was even a remote possibility. And if I would have been left to my own devices it would have been a no.
This year has been a year of obedience. The Lord has called our family to live into a vision he placed on our hearts for the past two years. It has been hard, challenging, shaky, met with resistance, yet still full of hope and the Lord’s leading and affirmation to move forward.
So here I was again this year being met with the question to obey his leading or not. I am thankful I did. The Lord was stirring the yes in my heart, and when I had to actually put money and paperwork down, I will tell you I was nervous and still looking for an out, and to be honest, not excited. But over the months leading to the trip, my excitement grew and he affirmed my yes time and time again. The Lord will do that.
So I embarked on a mission trip to a new place, with new people who would soon become friends and I listened and looked for where the Lord would show up.
In this post, I will cover the gypsy village. We arrived to Romania on a Saturday, attended church on Sunday morning and went shopping for groceries for the the people of this village and then headed out to meet the people and deliver a tangible gift of love.
When a bus pulls up to this off the beaten path, piece of land, the kids come running. The people know that if a bus is coming, then food and gifts will likely follow. And it did with our team. The place is filled with foul smells, stray dogs and cats, and not a drop of water in sight.
Folks are dirty (no water available, unless they walk the miles to get the water), some were without shoes, some were wearing the only clothing they owned, and yet they welcomed us in to “their” space. The first thing they did was usher us over to their shelter, lean to, shack. They pulled back the covering and welcomed us to take a peak.
One after one, each family did this. I’m not sure if they were proud or they wanted us to know this is what life is for them. Either way I took note. They build and rebuild when the government comes in and decides it’s time to move them off the land at the time.
That day I experienced compassion. I had so many questions. We were bringing them groceries (meat, milk, pasta)- how would they cook them? What would do they do store the food? Do they go to school? How do they get water? Is this life every day? And I quickly realized it didn’t matter. They saw someone cared enough for the least of these to show up. They are brought hope when someone says you matter.
We also came bearing small gifts of candy (which will translate in any language), handmade pillow pets for the kids and cards saying Jesus loves you.
God whispered all week in my ear. You are my beloved. And so are they. They are forgotten. They don’t live like you, look like you, act like you. But they are mine and they are so loved. And I want you to love them today.