the people who stay behind on missions trips have come to expect big stories. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. There very often are big stories. I've had some of my own, from Zambia and China. I saw God work in mighty ways in my own life, and sometimes, in brief glimpses, I saw just what he was doing in other people's lives, too. My outlook was radically changed by the poverty in Zambia and by the atheism in China, by the different aspects of a lost world strangled by starvation in one hand and by materialism in the other. But I've had trouble pulling together my thoughts about Romania, and not really because anything big and spectacular happened.
Yes, there were moments that still shine in my memory. There was Rebeca and Estera, two sisters who followed me around at VBS. There was Bethany and Cami, the missionary's daughters, who I grew really close to, and who I'm pretty sure were the people I was sent to Romania to minister to. There were other times: when I stood in the middle of a sauna that we once called an auditorium and taught to seventy kids, via a translator, about the miracle that brought Philip to a lone Ethiopian man on a desert road and then carried him away once his task had been taught and, despite the heat, I didn't feel hot or uncomfortable at all. There was the feeling of closeness to God as I stood above Budapest and, despite the people around me, looked out at a city full of all lights except spiritual ones, and realized that He was still there, though few claim His name. There was the moment when we were all in a castle and stood in the great hall and sang Amazing Grace. The words echoed from the rafters, filling me with a sense of how awesome that grace actually is, how amazing it is, how utterly awesome God must be (and also, as a side-note, discovered that Amazing Grace really shouldn't be sung outside of a place that can make it sound so beautiful just because of the acoustics).
But despite that, there was no life-changing moment that I can point to. There was nothing that broke my heart. The thing that came closest was, perhaps, when I was talking to Mrs. Tyler and discovered that there are only a handful of actual Gospel-preaching churches in Hungary...but that had very little to do with my trip as a whole. I suppose that, besides that, the one thing I really discovered on this trip is that I'm not called to Romania. I mean, I loved it. I have made friends there that will live in my heart forever, that I still pray for, who someday I'd love to go back and visit. But I can't picture myself living there for a long period of time like I can in, say, Zambia, or even China. God sent me to Romania for a purpose, I know that, he put that desire in my heart, and there were things that I believe I accomplished. But for the first time, I think I went to a place where I was doing the ministering, not necessarily being ministered to, and a place that is now closed to me, at least for the time being. That door has closed, my purpose there is over for the foreseeable future.
I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. If that's "life changing" or not. Either way, I doubt anybody would want me to answer the question of "what did you learn in Romania?" with, "I'm not supposed to be a missionary there."
But it's true. And here I stand, waiting with eager expectation for the next door to open.
- Kyla Denae