After we finished our time in Galati, Romania, we said our goodbyes to the kids at the center and our host homes. We boarded a train for a six-hour ride to Brasov, Romania. Brasov is a beautiful old city in the mountains north of Bucharest. Brasov resembled a western European village with outdoor cafés and beautiful architecture against the amazing backdrop of beautiful Romanian mountains. We enjoyed great food and fruit-filled crepes as we toured this beautiful city.
Our team of Multnomah and Fox students would gather each night and process our day. Every time we would sit down together, we would share a desolation (low point of the day) and a consolation (high point of the day). These times were thoughtful and also vulnerable as we shared our mental and emotional processing of what God was revealing to us each day in Romania. In addition to our desolation and consolation, we also had an opportunity to share our life stories with each other. The lives we live on the outside are not always what our lives look like on the inside. This transition to Brasov was difficult for our team as we just came from a place of extreme poverty and brokenness. Brasov was amazing, but it was also hard for us to comprehend the disparity of how people live very different lives and how we should be engaging our world when it comes to the poor.
We also visited a castle in Sinaia, Romania, and once again were faced with opulence and extravagance. We talked and prayed together as we discussed the difficult situation we are all in when it comes to how to serve the least of these, as Christ calls us to.
We journeyed back to Bucharest and said our goodbyes to our friends from George Fox University and to Mikayla, our Word Made Flesh staff member who hosted us for the past 2 weeks in Romania.
I asked our team to share a few words about what this MUServe trip meant to them and this is what they had to add.
“As I reflect on our time in Romania, my initial response is thanksgiving, joy, and pain. I am so thankful for the time given, the friendships that were made, and thankful that the Lord met us there. I am filled with joy as I remember the times of hanging out with the kids and sharing relationship with them. I am also hurt and saddened to know how difficult their lives are. Many of them don’t have one or both parents, or running water, and they live without basic needs being met. But they were some of the most loving, joyful people I’ve met. Jesus loves the poor, and it was a time of seeing that part of His heart. All that to say, the Lord is good in Romania and He is working. His heart is so big. We saw Jesus there and that’s the true delight of the trip. People and Jesus. Doesn’t get better!”
Summit (5-year BA+MDiv program) student
“Going to Romania was an unbelievable experience. My initial interest was in learning how people who have been under oppression engage with Jesus. Instead of answers, I was given more questions. While in Romania, I encountered some of the most selfless people I have ever met. I am back in the states now, forced to face my own materialism and selfishness. It is incredibly powerful to receive something at great cost of the other, especially when it is given with joy. I have often only given out of my excess and obligation — not with joy, or when it’s hard to. I feel like my time in Romania only scratched the surface of what God has to show me through the people I met.”
Summit (5-year BA+MDiv program) student
“The Romania Serve Trip has been such a blessing for me. I had the opportunity to work with a great team of students from George Fox and MU in order to meet some of the needs of vulnerable children at the WMF community centers. I learned the way God loves vulnerable children and their families through the staff and volunteers at WMF. They have been so intentional to meet basic needs of these families and help the children live up to their full potential so as to prevent them from ending up on the streets. They are encouraged to live with purpose and hope and experience a better future than that of their parents. I have been impacted by the joy I saw in all the kids, despite their living conditions at home. I enjoyed playing games with them and helping Florina, Bogdan, and Ionica with their school work.”
This was our inaugural MUServe summer trip, and I can honestly say it was a huge success. We went to serve and discover what the Lord is doing in our world through His people. I am excited as this is just the beginning. We will be going back to Romania in the summer of 2019 to serve along-side Word Made Flesh once more. The vision of MUServe opportunities has only just begun, and we are excited for our MU students to serve and discover Christ through this amazing new program!
Associate Dean of Spiritual Life and Calling | Multnomah University