God has blessed us and the children we serve with amazing supporters. We deeply value and appreciate the friendships God has given us. Through their dedicated investments of time, love, prayers, and finances they are transforming the Roma community surrounding the Point of Hope.
Jan Larson is more than just an ACF supporter. She is our close friend and was one of ten volunteers who went on our June mission trip to Romania. As one of our earliest supporters, she has helped ACF grow and become the ministry it is today. Here are her reflections from her most recent mission trip where she served the families she holds so close to her heart.
“There is always something comforting to coming home to what is familiar, who will greet you, and how you feel about the environment. Coming ‘home’ for me is pulling up to the Point of Hope. I am greeted with hugs and kisses by my Romanian friends and their children. This is always a reunion of friends and colleagues. My association with Point of Hope has spanned the past 9 years and has given me a different perspective that only time can provide.
Resilience is the one word I would use to sum up my perspective as I reflect on my most recent mission trip to Point of Hope in June. Our teams began working with the women of the community in 2011, the changes I have witnessed has been transformational for both the families and the mission team members. The friendships that have developed over the years are strong, the women greeted those of us returning with genuine trust and joy. These women demonstrate a willingness to listen and learn, to take risks and try new experiences. They are learning to learn. That is a gift that we have offered them; a chance to explore and discover how strong and resilient they are as women. We used the story of Tabitha as the focus for our time with the mothers, highlighting how Tabitha used what she had and what God had given to her to bless others. The women were challenged to find ways they each could bless their community.
As our team began meeting in preparation for the June mission trip, Jessica and I regularly emphasized the gift of flexibility in serving on a mission team. Resilience is the way team members were prepared to shift schedules, expectations and priorities. Resilience is letting go of preconceived notions of what we expect and be present in the NOW of ministry. Resilience is fighting fatigue and depending on the strength of God to get through a strenuous day. Resilience is pulling from deep in your spirit to share pure agape love to one another.
Leaving Romania and the people is always hard for me, like leaving my own home. But one thing that always comforts me is knowing that God remains with my Romanian friends and community and one day we will all be reunited without borders or language barriers. Reaching, teaching, and transforming is God’s work through each team member and we are richer for ‘Making Him Fully Known’ as our 2019 Mission Trip theme was demonstrated.”