"...That we gave to reach the dying
let it be said of us
by the fruit we leave behind
let it be said of us
that our legacy is blessing for life."
The month I spent living with a Romanian family and playing with beautiful, lice covered gypsy children taught me more than just how to live on two showers a week and make Earl of Grey tea. It taught me a different way to minister. How so? Well, when I let the five day AIM training camp in Gainesville, Georgia I was PUMPED UP. As my team and I got our last bit of Starbucks in the Atlanta airport before leaving the country I was literally SHAKING from excitement--and the caffeine. I had just spent the past five days getting to know my awesome team better, sitting in during multiple sermons and ministry workshops a day, praying in a completely new way, and worshiping God in on the freedom you can have when you're surrounded by your brothers and sisters in Christ. I was ready to take on Romania!
My look on ministry has always been that you go somewhere like Jesus calls us to do, and then verbally share His story. With absolutely EVERYONE. Everyone. And if I didn't, I had failed in someway. But then you get to Romania, and hardly anyone speaks any of my language and besides my limited Romanian vocabulary (which consisted of the valuable words "bashina" which means "to pass gas" and "forte buen" which means "very good"), I had ultimately no way to communicate to these people. Problem. How was I going to shove the gospel on these people when I had basically no way to hold a conversation with them?! That realization created frustration and the feeling of uselessness in my heart. What was the point of me being here? What could I possibly do?
Plus, all the things we PLANNED to do in the country while we were at training camp (create a VBS program) didn't happen. At all. A lot of my days in Romania were spent helping our host family out around their house, cooking, cleaning, exploring the village, and watching lots and lots and LOTS of Romanian soaps while playing lots and lots and LOTS of card games.
This was not what I was expecting. What of the gypsy families and their caravans and campfires? What of meeting new, different people and sharing the gospel with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM? But then, I saw...I was expecting something completely opposite of the situation I was in and I was only expecting God to work in the way I had planned. That wasn't what the Lord had in mind, in the least. My amazing leaders began to tell me and my teammates about just loving and serving people, not holding an emotional revival. All that is good at the right time and place, but Romania wasn't the time OR place. My team and I were called by our Father to just simply love and serve our contact family and the people in the village around us, to die to ourselves every single day and SWEEP that room for the third time that day or PLAY that same game of cards with the same two boys who always cheated. It sounds so easy in retrospect, but it really, really wasn't.
And I failed and failed over and over again. My laziness and flesh battled with me nearly every single minute. I was tired, I just wanted to journal and process...but if I had just journaled and processed the entire month because I was exhausted, I wouldn't have the good memories I do of me cleaning the kitchen with Sanda and Rita and Laura, or playing games with Lisi and Beni.
And I finally saw that I wouldn't be remembered by the Romanian and gypsy people by the way I shoved Jesus' story with them every opportunity that arose, but I would be remembered by the way I tried to shove Jesus' LOVE through my ACTIONS every opportunity that arose.
"And they'll know
we are Christians
by our love, our love
yes they'll know
we are Christians
by our love"