Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Romania & What I Brought Home

“I will never leave you, never will I forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5
I had never fully recognized or experienced the depth, truth, and significance this verse held in my heart until I found myself in Arad, Romania this summer. It truly took being separated from the people I know and the life I lived in my comfort zone for God to get my attention and show me the depths of His love. By this love and the opportunities He placed in my life, I was able to spend nearly 90 days in Romania. Those three months changed my life, my spiritual walk, and my relationship with God forever.

This summer Global Outreach International arranged for me to serve seconded to RCE, Romanian Christian Enterprises, where I worked alongside some of the most passionate teachers and faithful Christians I have ever met. I spent two months working as a teacher’s assistant at an RCE ministry site, Sunshine School.  At Sunshine School I worked with two incredible women in a classroom of five boys, all of which had special needs or disabilities.  I was also fortunate enough to be a part of other RCE ministries by working at “Darius House”. The Darius House is an orphanage that provides care for abandoned children who have substantial needs.

 After arriving home I still, in my mind, continue to see the smiling faces of the children of Darius House and Sunshine School. The work that God is doing through RCE to help abandoned children and Romanian families in need, overwhelms my heart. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to minister into the lives of the children and families benefiting through these ministry efforts.
When the Romanian school year ended I was able to serve in summer camps as a camp counselor and room leader. The summer camps gave the children an opportunity to leave their towns and villages to spend time with other children from Romania. Summer Camp also gave camp counselors an opportunity to share Jesus through their actions, bible studies, worship, music and sports. It was incredible to see how dramatically the children and their relationships with Lord changed during the course of the week.

On the first day of camp the children were unsure and shy, however by the end of the week they were receptive to the songs, sermons, and games that related to walking with God. On the final night of camp, the children and leaders sat around a huge camp fire, sharing songs, bible verses, and prayers that God had placed on their hearts. The memories of the last night around the campfire, seeing how much the children had grown to be confident and proud of their relationships with God continues to bring me much joy.

The time with the children, the bonds I formed with coworkers, the love I felt from the families that welcomed me into their homes, and the relationships I developed have deeply impacted my life. Considering all these, I gained something far more valuable while serving in Romania this summer, and it continues to remain in my heart.

While in Romania, I had a significant amount of alone time. I lived alone, I toured a lot of the city alone, and I spent every night alone. I discovered that the time in my life and how I used it could be such a powerful tool in my Creator’s hands. God molded the time I had “alone” to show me how ever present He truly is in my life. I can’t count the nights that God kept me awake, speaking healing into my heart, helping me grow in Him, showing me how valuable I am to Him. There was so much that I lacked in myself and in my relationship with God that He was able to instill into me while in Romania. All those sleepless nights came together to form an even stronger Christian and woman that what I left for Romania as.

When I first felt lead to go to Romania, I had such a hard time surrendering to the call. My pride, fears, and insecurities were overwhelming. I couldn’t understand why God would send me- someone who had never seen much of her own country, to another country so far away. Why he would send me- who in the past had walked in disobedience, to the point of spiritual disobedience at times, to another country to share Him and His word. Why would He send me to show His love to people who I had never known Him?
Today I recognize that God sent me to not only share Jesus with Romania and to see lives changed, but that He also sent me to be “changed by Romania.” God allowed my time in Romania with Him, and with the people of Romania, to penetrate my heart. He taught me that He does not call the qualified, but that “He qualifies the called.”  I came home with enormous hope for my future and I now walk ultimately submitted to the One who holds that future.
 Now that I am home, I’ve made it a priority to never forget Romania or what my time there  taught me. I finally understand the sovereignty of my God;  How in control He is, how much He loves and cares for me, and how He has planned a future for me that surpasses my every expectation.  Importantly, I have learned to listen, because I never know where God’s plan for my life may lead!
In closing, I can never begin to express my fullest gratitude for your financial support, words of encouragement, and most importantly your prayers for me as I served in Romania. I could feel your prayers covering me each day. My experiences and memories are invaluably etched on to my heart forever. Thank you and I pray God richly bless you.
With loving appreciation,

Madalyn McCombs