Monday, April 16, 2018

Run, Ask, Seek, and Knock

This is my second post written from Baile Tusnad, Romania, where I am volunteering at an orphanage for Hungarian children. I've gotten more used to the activities here, the kids have gotten more used to me, and today was an especially good day. It was fully, truly, completely warm out, sunny, and so instead of staying in to watch music videos many of the kids came out to play.

A carload or two of children returned from Easter vacation today, as well, so it was quite the jamboree in the back. Kids shared roller blades and drew with chalk-like "sponge bricks," climbed on the jungle gym and kicked soccer balls.

Well, it was a jamboree but it was also normal life. One of the boys who was returning clung to his mother, crying. He didn't want her to go. He had two siblings and his father was an alcoholic who kicked out the mother and kids, and the mother had no way to provide for her three children. The boy cried for a long time.

Earlier, I had hiked up to a tower Pete, Eva, Robi, and a boy named Alex. We stopped to view the city from the tower but continued on past it, down a path I hadn't been down before. We adults talked about languages and explored a water collection facility that looks like a mysterious forest house. The last landmark we stopped at was a clearing on the edge of the mountain where two cell phone towers stood, Telekom and Orange.

Normally hiking is a special event, something I do occasionally, and because of this I'm never really prepared for each semiannual hike I go on. But today's hike was the fourth I've gone on with the foster parents and children here, and I felt like I was finally getting used to it. Usually I'm afraid of falling, but I pushed myself and didn't suffer any mishaps.
Paul tells us to run. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it," (1 Corinthians 9:24).

Try anything enough times and it gets easier. Interacting with the kids became easier because we were outside, but also I think the kids and I were figuring each other out. It's easier to interact with little kids when language is a challenge, so I've been pretty chummy with the youngest ones. So that's probably why when the youngest girl of all returned, a five-year-old, she learned my name immediately.

This is remarkable because largely around here, I'm known as "the Romanian woman." In my normal territory in Romania, I'd never be known as Romanian. Though as in Baile Tusnad, sometimes even American visitors think I'm Romanian. Anyway, this little girl nick-named Gabitzi (gah-bee-tzee) took me up to the jungle gym and we played together on the slide, and I got some nice photos of her, too.

Later Kati, the firecracker, grabbed my hand as she roller bladed and took me with her this way and this, and I ran to keep up with her, camera and all. It felt good to do something, not just try to get by with Romanian or limited Hungarian or lucky English or gestures. I try to show love and affection to the kids, especially the girls, and sometimes they don't buy it. I understand. I'm just a visitor.

But I keep going. I'm not as exhausted by everything as I was in the beginning. I have four full days left, and I'm going to focus on being all in, all hands on deck, full speed ahead. I don't need to be perfect, but I do want to be present.

Matthew 7:7-8 tells us to ask, to seek, and to knock. "For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." This is one of those rare verses that gives us a specific cause and effect. We cannot receive if we do not ask. How can we find if we do not seek? And nothing can be opened if we do not knock.

While this passage is not a guarantees that I will receive, or find, or get an open door, these things are only possible if I try. We may rely on God for our daily bread but he does not call us to remain idle. We have a role to play.

Even though my time with Hungarian children proved difficult, mainly because of the language difference, I learned a lot and experienced something that will inform my future. God does not want any of us to give up even when things are hard, because if we do what we must, we may just win the prize. We may find our time was put to good use after all.

Thanks for reading. Please check out my Go Fund Me page to donate to my continued work in Romania with teenage orphans.