This morning I woke up to the roosters crowing in the neighbor’s
courtyard. Looking out the window I sensed the springtime sun shining brightly.
The tulips are pushing through the rich black soil.
After breakfast, we went to the church to take a shower. Now, that’s probably not
something you would do. Pastor Cristi has been working on their shower (where
we are staying) on the main floor and he hopes to be finished when we return to
Pitesti late Saturday night. The church put a shower in each of the bathrooms for
visiting ministry teams and for the street kid ministry. They’ve been very useful
over the years.
Lazar was unpacking laminate flooring for the
second floor room. Already, they were able to
hire a Ukrainian man to help with this huge
project. He’s making some money and settling
in. I was curious to see how the church
looked; each door I opened, each hall I
walked came with a flood of memories of
those years we were building the church and
trying to walk alongside our brothers and
sisters in Christ. After 10 years, we had
become family. Many memories of joy and
sorrow were held in those rooms. They
represented God’s enduring faithfulness and
provision to these people, his children. That
included Mike and I! The people that remain
are dedicated to serving Him. Today, it’s a
different kind of mission. We will transport
Ukrainians to a place of safety. And I wonder
how Candace and I could be so privileged to take part in this. I was handed a cup
of coffee and continued my journey through the past.
It was time to prepare to meet the bus. We made sandwiches for the long journey
and packed an overnight bag. There was only enough room for the essentials! We
arrived at the meeting site outside of the city and introduced ourselves to the rest
of this small team. Ioana, Lavinia, and Eugin greeted us. Two bus drivers were
ready to start the engine and conquer. Reminded me for just a second, my
husband’s love for driving. They kept each other company and I could hear their
full low voices chatter about everything pertaining to life in this part of the world.
The radio is turned to a popular station and the announcers make conversation like
any local radio station in the States, bantering and playing off of each other and
then they retreat to play the pop music of Romania. I’ve decided that every song
has a familiar strong background drum beat to this Hip-Hop melody.
I’ve never been to this part of Romania. It
was always out of reach and far away.
They say it’s beautiful. We drive through
the evening and night hours and watch the
moon follow us turning bright amber,
dancing through the clouds until it
transforms to a bright white globe hanging
in the sky. I think to myself, this is the
same moon that shines on the refugees in
Ukraine while they make their way to the
Romanian border. And I think, it’s time to
put the peddle to the metal! We reach a
rest point after five hours. It was a
welcome retreat and I felt my energy
I’m drinking peach hibiscus tea and my
heart is happy. Ioana, who is seventeen,
decides to have courage and asks the bus
driver if she can play her Christian music
and he says, “yes!” We’re singing and worshiping together. And then one of the
bus drivers comes back to discuss his questions. It’s a long conversation and he
has some very good questions about God wrapped up in his Orthodox
traditions. He’s not ready now to put his faith in Christ. He is wrestling in his heart
about the things we share but isn’t convinced that God is who he says he is. Those
who don’t speak are praying.
We are staying with friends of the Golas family in the countryside near
Suceava. We sing, “What a powerful name it is, the name of Jesus.” I praise the
Lord silently. Slava Domnului! I’m thankful for Ioana and her enthusiastic fervor for
the Lord. She’s from Campulung, near Pitesti.
It seems like the trip went quickly to me and we are already exiting the bus and
being taken to the Galan family home. Mr. Galan has heard about me from his
daughter-in-law, Elena. Then I remember the sweet years with her, watching her
grow up in the church. Now she lives in London with her husband and little boy,
We are crawling into bed and I ponder what tomorrow will bring, an early breakfast
and then to the border.
Blessings to you,
Family & Friends,
It’s 9:24 as I begin writing this. One
of our teammates, Ioana, asked if she
could plug in her phone to the bus
system for the rest of our ride tonight
toward the border. 3 more hours.
Words focused on the heart,
goodness, provision, promises and
power of God fill the bus .
The last few hours (and days) my
mind has wondered about what is
ahead. I have read material on crisis
trauma and helpful ways to come
alongside. Watching the news and
catching a glimpse of border
crossings, I’ve seen a greeter who
directs the arriving refugees in their
mother tongue. English may have a
limited market, but I can smile and
offer water, tea, soup, a small toy.
I’m sure there are behind the scene
needs too. Translate Now app may help me connect. Expectations can get in the
way of missing the moment before us. Praying to embrace the opportunity the Lord
gives. We each have a part we can play.
While we are here, Cristi wants us to get a good understanding of what the roles
and needs are at the border so that he can proactively share with his church in
Pitesti and contacts throughout Romania what volunteers can be a part at the Siret
border crossing. These observations and the guiding and settling Ukrainians on the
bus are our primary focus on this trip.
Many are thinking of the long term needs of these precious people. They need short
term and then longer term housing solutions, work, childcare, medical care and so
much more. At Speranta Vie they are putting down a new floor- a Ukrainian man
has been hired to be part of the team. He now has at least short term work and
perhaps the beginning of community here.
We have arrived at the home of the Galan Family. We are grateful for their
Good night from Siret, Romania. (1:00am)
Thank you for persevering in prayer for the people of Ukrainian.