My wife once made a profound statement that “Sometimes God takes us one place just to get us to another.” This should be our mission statement. We will be married eight years in May. During those eight years we have lived in Lubbock, Houston, and Romania. That may not seem like much but we have had three stints in Lubbock, one in Houston and one in Romania. This does not count several moves in Lubbock and several in Romania. This means a lot of moving. During our stint in Romania (2004), Blogs did not exist or were not that popular, and even if they were, we did not have very good internet access to post. What I did do was keep a daily journal of this memorable journey. So, I hope you don’t mind if once a week I share with you stories from our time in Romania.
A PLACE TO HANG YOUR HAT
Home to most of us is where our family is, where we reside day-in and day-out. Some say, “Home is where the heart is.” If that is the case, then home to me is Romania, Russia, Latvia, Kenya, Guatemala, Mexico, Lubbock, and now Houston.
Romania may be one of those initial places where I “left my heart,” but it definitely did not begin that way. Oh, the memories! I will never forget our first day and night in Romania. This was not my first visit to Romania, nor was it Kacee’s. We had both been to Romania on several occasions; however, this trip was different. For the first time, we did not hold a return ticket in our hand. We didn’t even know when we would return. We had accepted a position with the International Institute for Christian Studies and would be serving in Timisoara, Romania, at Banat’s University. Finding a place to serve was the easy part. Finding a place to live was the difficult part. So tough, we were forced to take a giant leap of faith and allow a career missionary family, which we had never met, to pick out our apartment.
On August 25, 2004, my good friend Daniel drove two hours to pick us up at the Timisoara Airport. I’m sure he immediately regretted this offer when he saw the number of bags in our possession. We had enough books, clothes, and supplies to live in Romania for five years. Upon arrival to our new home we soon realized we should have left that stuff at home and brought paint, carpet, brooms, mops, and cleaning supplies. As we stepped into our apartment I thought Kacee was going to have a heart attack. She now admits she questioned what I got her into! This place was a dump. Daniel even said “I live on a farm and my cow and chickens have a cleaner place to stay!” He was right. The paint was falling (yes falling) off the walls, you could grow a garden on the floor, the bed was a pull out couch, and only one of us could be in the kitchen at a time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not expect five star accommodations; however, I had hoped for something comfortable that was big enough we could have our students over for socials and Bible studies.
As if jetlag was not bad enough, Kacee cried herself to sleep. I lay in bed our first night with a million questions running through my mind. Praise God the second day was a little better. We did a lot of cleaning (and crying) and it felt a bit more like home (good thing we brought one bag full of pictures and frames, and another bag of shoes). But, all the pictures in the world could not fix this place. Nighttime was the worst. I remember trying to watch the Olympics on a 14 inch black and white T.V. while eating from a “Target special” plate balanced on my lap. Our saving grace was my Dell projector, laptop, and several seasons of M.A.S.H. (now you know why I always quote M.A.S.H.) and a deck of cards.
Finally, after a month of washing our clothes in the bathtub, watching movies on the wall, wearing out a deck of cards, and sleeping on a couch, we decided to find ourselves another apartment. Life has a funny way of working out. We found an awesome apartment on the other side of town that was close to the university, convenient for our students, twice the size of our old one, and most important, it was clean!
As the old saying goes, “what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.” Living in that apartment didn’t kill us (we wondered on several occasions) and we can now look back and laugh. Probably one of my greatest memories of these first few weeks was the reliance Kacee and I had on each other and our reliance on God.
Hope you enjoyed the reflection. Aspire to new heights.
6 days ago