Wednesday March 1st was our first full day in Romania. We had our first breakfast at AMEC and headed out to get our day started. Our agenda while here is very full but our first morning was spent doing a walking tour of Sibiu. Our guide was Eugene, that was not his real name but he said it was easier if we just called him that. He was so funny and knowledgeable. He shared some incredible history with us regarding Sibiu, the churches, the buildings, the walls, etc. This was a very interesting way to begin our day.
We also went to the exchange for the first time. There are exchanges all over the city. There are lots of folks that work outside of Romania and come home so it’s a convenient way for them to exchange their money. There are travelers as well so this is also a convenience for folks like us that need to obtain Romanian currency. Lucky for us the exchange rate was in our favor however we were cautioned to exchange only what we need as we would not be exchanging back to American currency.
Michael had a surprise for us today – it’s a special holiday! Mărțișor (or Martie in Romanian)! It was fun to walk through the city and see all the people set up to sell pretty things in honor of the holiday. This is a special holiday on March 1st where they are celebrating the arrival of Spring. In celebration of Mărțișor (Martie) you will see red and white strings attached to everything. I read online that the belief is that the person who is wearing this will have a prosperous and healthy year. The ancient Roman new year used to begin on 3/1. The tradition is that the men give the women in their lives gifts with the red and white strings/colors as a semblance of admiration, friendship, and or respect (source: click here). Eugene told us of his area’s tradition where the women give to the men something they have made by hand. Here’s a video of Eugene sharing with us: (link here)
In this brief couple of hours we saw so much of the city and learned of some amazing details. It was a lot of fun to spend time with Michael & his family in this way. His girls’ personalities were coming out and it was fun to get to know them. We also enjoyed the company of a couple of girls from the church that were there to help translate for us as needed. They were so sweet and friendly! This was a neat way to start connecting with others and learn amazing history about Sibiu. There are too many things to recount but since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are a few thousand words from our first morning in Sibiu:
Later that day we had the opportunity to spend more time with Marcel and run through all of our songs. It was becoming very evident at this point that I was getting sicker. I started losing my voice toward the end of What a Beautiful Name – glad I saved the tracks until the end! We finished up practice and then hung out until the ladies began arriving for our ladies fellowship. We spent time eating pizza (or a sandwich on gluten free bread in my case 🙂 ) together and then we gathered in a circle to do introductions and sharing. The Americans went around and introduced ourselves and shared what we do, a little about our families, and if it was our first or 2nd time in Romania. When we got to the Romanian women they also shared casual introductions but they had a paper they were answering questions from and one of the questions was about prayer needs. Some of the women really opened up and shared true prayer needs. It was powerful.
Pray for my husband. Pray for my marriage. Pray that I may know the Lord more. Pray I grow closer to God and grow in my faith. Pray that I am able to buy a home. Pray that I can find a job. Pray that I am healed.
Big prayers – true needs.
It was beautiful.
I was trying to capture the needs on my notes in my phone as fast as they were translating. And then Amie had us paired up with different women with different needs after we prayed for those in need of healing. It was a beautiful time of prayer and fellowship. God was already knitting our hearts together and we’d barely been in the country over 24 hours.
Oh and an incredibly awesome thing that happened tonight – the lady that asked us to pray that her husband would come to know Jesus – well he came later that night and one of our team members led him through the prayer of salvation!! How cool is that? We had just prayed for that very thing earlier in the evening and then it came to pass. What a blessing!
It was late when we gathered back at the AMEC center to debrief and Amie asked me how I was feeling and I totally broke down. I’m talking full-on ugly cry. I was exhausted and SO SICK. My body was so achy and weak. I was so angry – I did not come all this way on faith and prayers to sit in a room sick and broke down – but why hadn’t God miraculously healed me yet? Was I failing Him by giving in and admitting my weakened state? My 9 American sisters gathered around me and prayed over me. The prayers they prayed were as though they had opened up my heart and looked inside – their words matched my fears and my longings. Ugly cry got uglier. I officially could no longer breathe through my nose I had cried so hard but I needed to exhale all of that emotion and weakness. As it turns out, I was totally meant to stay back at AMEC the next day – God had a plan, I just didn’t understand it yet. (I’ll save the details of that next day for another blog entry.) In the middle of the night, I found myself still weak and sad at my situation so I reached out through my blog for prayers and I know you prayed for me. Thank you my beloved friends and loved ones, and strangers that stumbled upon my weary pleas. I felt your prayers and God certainly met me in my need. He’s good like that. He’ll send you to do His work, remind you that you are there in His strength, allow life to slow you as He desires, and meet your needs as you go to meet those of others. He’s beyond our comprehension and I’m still so grateful to have been a part of this grand plan that was our mission trip to Romania…
More to come…
With love in Christ,