Working with the Roma people I have been able to see God’s light shining and have learned about their families, what music they listen to, and just about anything you can act out. As we sang our songs, I watched the Romas and every single person was smiling and having such a great time.
Throughout this trip, I have been searching for my “Aha!” moment, and I’m beginning to think that work like this could be my calling. I love knowing that I am making a difference in other people’s lives even though they are halfway around the world. I am beyond thankful to have been given this opportunity.
Knowing how the Roma are treated has touched me even more because we are all so privileged and take what we have for granted. It’s the little things that make the Roma so happy, and I could definitely see that from talking with them. Even though I could only understand a few words, anytime we would both understand each other, a huge smile and lots of laughter was brought to their faces, so singing our songs has become much more meaningful and emotional.
Logan Trotter (Sophomore, Weaver Academy)
The Lord is vast—much larger, much deeper than I can begin to comprehend. God is not confined by language or culture. God is not American, He does not drive a Mercedes. God is not distant, in a land far, far away; He is not held within the walls of a white building. He is everywhere. God is in our homes and schools; in our places of work and in our places of play. He is in our songs, and in our thoughts and conversations. God is in the beauty of the sunrise, and in the coolness of night. He is in Greensboro. He is in Romania. He lives and shines through the lives of the Roma people. He lives and shines through the lives of the Bucharest youth. God lives and shines through the lives of First Baptist youth. He is at work here. He is unrelenting, chasing after us—Roma and American alike. He is faithful. He is vast beyond measure. God is here. He is there. He is now.
Stephen Rich (Senior, Grimsley)
The churches are smaller and older. They have less technology and “shiny new stuff” than our churches, but I have noticed that a lot of them are more devoted to their faith and stronger in their relationship with God. Communication is fun because we have to think of universal symbols to get our point across. The people are so nice and joyful despite their surroundings. This has been a fun experience and I will be sad when I leave.
Megan Barlow (Freshman, Northern)
The beauty of this country, the vastness of the world and the ways that God works through me never cease to amaze me as I have spent this week in Romania. Just yesterday, about 5 hours outside of Bucharest, I was fortunate to witness a breakthrough nobody expected to see.
From my previous experiences, our services had become routine: meet Romanian youth, butcher sentences about each other, ring, sing, sermon. I was more than satisfied with our work, for our singing and our translator Alex filled in where we couldn’t, but I couldn’t help but feel that I wasn’t personally ministering and breaking the language barrier. That’s when Steve ran up telling me that there was one woman in the back who spoke Spanish. I could not have been more elated to hear this news as I had already studied Spanish for nearly 7 years.
I almost sprinted over the pews just to say “Hola!” to this woman. Miller Townes and I had a brief conversation with her where we found out that she had learned to speak the language by watching “Telenovela” on Univision (Spanish Soap Operas). When Steve showed us this woman, we were able to share our faith one-on-one without awkward pauses and grunting; thus, by the grace of God, we reached a woman, una hispana hablante, in the eastern mountains of Romania, thousands of miles from home in a remote village. A chance that was truly one in a million, this one experience makes the whole trip for me. Thanks be to God!
Sam Messick (Sophomore, Grimsley)
You see a variety of things driving up and down the countryside in Romania. Instead of the flashing lights and bright colors you find in the U.S., some cities are cloaked in shades of gray and black and seem a few decades behind in technology.
Driving through the country, the farmlands seem infinite. The fields are precisely divided, displaying different hues of green, yellow, brown, and black. Wendy Weeks commented that it looked like “ribbons” and I thought that was a good way to describe how the colors laced themselves over the hills. We’ve all seen cows, goats, horses, chickens, and stray dogs before, but I’ve never seen a flock of sheep with their shepherd. Luckily I have seen a few while here in Romania, but one in particular caught my attention this morning.
I looked out the bus window and saw an open field. Up in front of the bus, on the right side of the road, was a large flock of sheep looking our way—except they were not staring at us. They were staring at one sheep on the other side of the field. Two shepherds were with the sheep urging it to come back to the flock. All I could think about was Jesus searching for the lost sheep. In that moment I began to finally feel that Jesus had shepherded us to Romania to do his ministry through music.
My brother and I had to face a few obstacles in our journey to Romania (delayed flights, missed flights, baggage left in Amsterdam) and through it all I just wished I were with the rest of the group. Even when we finally joined up with the entire group, we still faced obstacles (cold showers, no water). But when you’re working with people who face obstacles every day, all of the ones I work through become incredibly menial. This experience reminds me that very hassle at home, even though it may be challenging, is so small! Now each day as we start driving, the lyrics of Carrie Underwood’s song “So Small” reverberate through my mind, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Lindsey Kalish (Senior, Bishop McGuinness)
P.S. Many thanks to Anna Stephens, Wendy Weeks, and Clair Johnson for the great photos this week!