One of my biggest worries in pursuing my call to Romania, in going out and raising support, is that people won't understand what I'm trying to do. They won't have eyes to see the importance or the merit of missions, and most of all they won't see how much power they have in it. Let me explain.
I am not worried about people who are not Christians. People who are not openly Christian have, actually, supported me in my call to missions, and for this I am grateful. But it is the Christians I am worried about. With all that is happening in our country, as values shift, as some people embrace the cultural changes while others hunker down against them, God's work in other countries gets overlooked. We have so many things demanding our attention, why should we send people to volunteer thousands of miles away? I am afraid some Christians are not adopting the eyes God can give us to see things from his perspective. Missions become an after-thought, or, ironically, a luxury. Missions is becoming an elective course in the curriculum of Christianity.
What am I trying to do, anyway? Have an extended vacation for the rest of my life? I will admit, while travelling the world is appealing, that is not what I setting out to do. I have traveled, and I have enjoyed it, but I am not asking for support just so I can satisfy my wanderlust. While there are few places I'd like to see before I die (mainly London and NYC), I am called to one country and one country only.
Romania. What is it about this place? Well, truly, everything. The landscapes, the food, the culture, the language(s), but mainly, the people. No place is perfect, but you know, if you've read my first post, that I felt a connection to this place, to this people that left me yearning to go back. The only thing I was unsure, even insecure about was what, if anything, I would be able to contribute.
I felt so useless at certain points in Romania, especially the second time I went. I was uncomfortably shy, fluent only in English, and struggled even with leading Bible study on the first trip. To my embarrassment to this day, one evening on the second trip I quarreled with another girl from my church because we both wanted to do the harder part of washing the dishes, rather than drying them. I just want to do something that made a difference. I was chagrined when the Hungarian missionary appeared and said, "Girls, don't fight." I was in a difficult place emotionally. Here I was, back in the place I had wanted to get back to, and I loved it, but I had nothing to offer. At least that was how I felt.
What is to say I won't feel the same when I return?
I went to India. Now, this may seem like a big detour, like I got sidetracked or something along the way. But India was the perfect arrangement, from Jesus, for me at the perfect time. I shone. I did photography, one skill, and writing, one skill, and played with children, which, as it turns out, is another skill. Along with me being equipped by God in his timing, I was with people who helped me grow, encouraged me, and appreciated what I had to offer. I smiled bigger in my pictures in India that I have smiled in any other pictures, ever. Yet, I don't compare my experiences in India to Romania.
Are you wondering why in the world don't I just go back to India, since it was so great?
One evening in India, I was sitting outside with everyone else, for evening prayer and worship. During a song, which I didn't know the words to (because they were in Oriya...), I just quietly sat and watched the sunset, a ribbon of pinks and yellows. Suddenly and unmistakably, out of nowhere, I heard a word from my God: Romania. Wouldn't you like to go back to Romania? I am calling you back.
It was as simple as that.
I had actually always intended to go back to Romania. A guy friend of mine, who is not a Christian (anymore) said that in going to India, I was following my "highest excitement;" in other words, a good thing. In my eyes, I was just following where God was calling me to go. But regardless of my knowledge, or my plan, or anything I assumed, God was working. God called me back, definitively, in a moment as tiny yet as valuable as a diamond. I didn't need to ask anyone else for their interpretation, or opinion. That was it. These moments are indeed as rare and precious as gems. I try not to take them for granted.
So to wrap this all up, what could my story mean to Christians in America? What, if anything, could my story change in their hearts to help them see that they are not just living in the United States of America, but in the world? In the world, but not of it. Yet are the gypsies in Romania not your neighbors? Are the child soldiers in Uganda not warmed by the same sun as you are? This post is not meant to create guilt, or pressure, or bad feelings. I just think, rather than live in our occasionally insular homes and churches, we need to have eyes to see our place on the planet. How much power does God have, and how much power does he impart to us! Maybe you do not see it as power. But take a moment to see all he has given you. What will you do with it?
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