One of the most exciting and life-changing parts of our ministry is our mission trips! Thanks to many prayers and months of preparation, our first mission trip of the year was June 13-23 and was a complete success! Take a few minutes, sit back, and relax while you read the team’s co-leader Jessica’s heartfelt description of the most recent work being done at the Point of Hope.
“It’s never easy to return home and leave a people and place you love. It never gets easier to say goodbye, but the time comes to say it every time. As I look back upon our time serving the children and families at the Point of Hope last week, I am grateful for divine inspiration and perspective. One of our devotionals this past week was about creation and how God reflected on what He created each day by saying, “and it was good.” After God created humans and saw all of the puzzle pieces of creation put in place, on the last day He declared that, “it was very good.” Every moment that we serve the Kingdom in Romania, God is creating through us and in us. He is creating relationships and disciples. He is creating bonds within the community and within team members that will last a lifetime. He is creating new dreams in hearts and making a way for them to come to fruition. He is creating more than we will ever truly know or understand. In these moments, we can declare that they are good, but at the end of an exhausting week of service, we are able to look back and declare it all very good. Despite our tiredness and being stretched in new and uncomfortable situations, God was at work. And it was very good.
Our team had the honor of putting on a Science Camp on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for preschool through middle school aged kids at the Point of Hope. We began the day working with the preschoolers, then the elementary school kiddos and finished the day with the middle school students. It was amazing to watch their faces light up as they were able to experience new science concepts and learn about how God created each of them uniquely and how He would know each of them anywhere. Though our team had to be flexible and rework our rotations to fully reach the kids where they were, we eagerly spent time with the kids in 4 different rotations- Bible story, Science Experiment, Science Art Activity, and Recreation. During our time with the kids, we learned about their personalities, about their home lives, about what they want to be when they grow up and what they like to do. We learned about ourselves too and how God can push us far beyond our comfort zones and help make it comfortable. We spent time showing the kids God’s love by helping them to understand that they are chosen and cared for. And it was good.
On Thursday we spend time serving women from the community. Mothers and grandmothers of some of the children assembled in the Point of Hope cafeteria to hear a wonderful devotional about Tabitha, who served her community well with the talents God gave her, before breaking into rotations. Our goal has been to keep families together since the beginning and many years ago we decided that it was vital to strengthen the family unit. This women’s ministry has taken on a whole new life since I first saw the divided bunch of women over 6 years ago. When we saw them this year, they were a unified group of women who cheered one another on during the game and dancing rotation, who were willing to try new things in the cooking rotation and craft rotation, and who opened up about health concerns in their community during the health rotation. When the women were asked, who is like Tabitha in your community, they weren’t able to answer right away. Then they began to share the name of a woman who has served their community well. Little do they know that each one of them is like Tabitha in their own way. Each one plays an important roll in the life of their community as they work together to support each other and to help raise their children. The saying goes, “it takes a village,” and it is true of Tarnaveni, Romania. Our time with the women was sweet, full of questions and encouragement. And it was good.
On Friday, before leaving the Point of Hope, part of our team played with the preschoolers while the teachers on our team met with the Point of Hope teachers. We approached our time together with no agenda, only with the hope of learning more about each other and how we can support them better. The teachers shared about their challenges in the classroom and their hopes for their students and we did too. There’s something to be said about knowing that people on the other side of the world experience the same challenges and hopes for their students that you do. It’s reassuring and reaffirming. We spent time asking them how we could support them better and what supplies we could provide, so that what they receive on the shipping container each year is useful. We listened and made lists promising we would do what we could. We praised them for their hard work with the students they serve all year round, for the growth that we’ve seen and for how God is using them to raise up the next generation of Romania in Tarnaveni. And it was good.
As we gave hugs to the staff and translators and loaded the bus headed back to Bucharest, our team was quiet and happily exhausted. We spent time reflecting on what God created during our short time serving His Kingdom in Romania and what He is continuing to create there. And it was very good. We are so thankful to have been a part of it.”