Hello, my fellow world citizens. It is me, Margaret, coming at you hot from my couch in my Romanian apartment! It’s been amazing month already; I’m honestly shocked I’ve only been here for a few weeks. There’s not a lot of places I’ve been to that’s so welcoming and comfortable; okay, maybe not materially, but you’ve never felt love until you’ve been given ciorbă (soup) and cascaval (cheese) and an affectionate nudge all in the matter of seconds.
Camp ended really well! We went to the park, played a bunch of hilarious (and maybe a little dangerous) Romanian games like “Baba Oarbă” ((Blind Old Lady)), and had a field day. I somehow managed to get out of going to “survival camp” with the tweens (fun fact: they had to move their location because they accidentally picked a spot between a mental hospital and a Roma village ((everyone survived, by the way)) and instead helped with the little kids. My pièce de résistance was supervising eleven Romanian tots by myself for 45 minutes with my limited arsenal of Romanian words (“here”, “there”, “sit down”, “robots?”). We made little certificates like “Best Team Player” and “Most Enthusiastic Lion Roar” (a two-year-old named Darius, who literally has my heart, won) at our little graduation ceremony. It was a sweet ending to a busy, but hopefully meaningful, program. I also tried pampansi (a dessert that uses cottage cheese and miracles) and went to a festival in Sinaia (which is a perfect little village tucked in the Carpathian Mountains ).
It was a terrific end to my first section of my stay here. My time in Romania can essentially be divided into thirds. The first was pulling off the VBS, the last will be the whirlwind tour when my mom comes over with some ladies from my church back home to do a leadership conference with a women’s ministry, and the middle was an honestly terrifying mystery.
As soon as the kiddos left, I began to have so much insecurity. Why did I come? Am I going to even be useful? There’s not a whole lot of clients here right now; I was terrified that coming here was selfish, more about my experience, what I was going to get out of it, my comfort. Was I more than a hinderance than a help?
It was then shared that Mana Deschisa has just gotten over some years of whirlwind activity. They’ve had so, so many trials as so many other ministries do; as churches hurt financially, it trickles down to missions. But they have always felt like they can’t turn anyone away; how can you when the only other option for them is the street and a perpetuation of brokenness? After going and going and going on just hustling, being thrifty, and being faithful, God has blessed them with a time of rest, to develop other programs and initiatives, to focus on the clients that are here (a bunch have just graduated), and to get their house in order before the harvest. I’m here to be a small help in that rest. You don’t need to see the initial arrival or departure of the clients to know that Mana Deschisa does mighty work; you can see it in the way the community interacts with everyone here, how friendship seems to be visible in the air, how just doing the chores is an act of worship.
You can lose perspective when you only see what’s affecting you. I came here only understanding a notch on the timeline of this ministry. As I do and learn so much more, I can’t wait to stay involved to see how this notch is used and blessed in the whole context of the work done here.
Anyways, that’s how I became the kindergarten teacher. Mana Deschisa does a homeschool curriculum that’s the first Christian homeschool in Romania. The real kindergarten teacher comes later but they need someone to get the little tots acclimated with English; who better than an American who can’t speak Romanian with some training in ESL? We’re preparing the room and the lessons plans and of course, it’s a big pitch-in effort. I’m pretty excited that this will be what I’m doing for a month!
So long story short, even in my insecurity, it all works out.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to share about all that’s going to be happening here in the next month, so I’m about to start a series of throwback blog posts I’m recycling. Stay tuned for exciting reads such the story of the time I saw a dead body at LAX, the reality of being a former honors student, and some other surprises! Get hyped!!