Here is a brief report of our Go Encounter Romania 2012 trip.
We want to thank all of you for your love, prayers, and financial support. May the good LORD richly replay your kindness and generosity.
Our life-changing experience of the Go Encounter Romania 2012 team of Grace College started at Chicago’s O’Hare International airport on May 20, 2012. Long before the trip started we prayed for each other and for the children to whom we were going to minister. However, none of us would have anticipated what God will do in our lives.
Our main ministry was at Casa Dorca in Prilipet, a village in the southwestern part of Romania. Our motto came from Psalm 68:5, "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation."
We had Bible Studies with the children in the afternoon after which we would do crafts and play games. Here, Janae is helping Sami create a book mark. Here are Janae’s thoughts about the trip. “Going to Romania was an incredible experience. We got to encounter so many cross culture experiences and learned lots of things about the Romanian culture. I loved getting to know the kids, spending time with them and showing them the love of Christ. The people in Romania have incredible servants hearts and I know that is one thing that the whole team was blown away by. God is so good and I am so thankful for the opportunity that I was given to go to Romania. Thanks to all who supported me and prayed for our team. Thanks to Dr. Rata an Dr. Harstine for leading our team well and last, but not least thanks to the people in Romania who we came in contact with that made an impact on our lives by serving and loving us.”
kids from Casa Dorca. When thinking about the trip, Casey notes, “I can’t express how grateful I am that God sent me on this trip. Not only did I richly experience the Romanian culture, but by God’s grace, I was also able to meet some amazing servants of Christ who demonstrated what it truly means to be selfless. I was so blessed by the kids, the churches, and my teammates and leaders. Most of all, my eyes were opened to the fact that God is working in Romania and all around the world!”
Playtime in the courtyard: Esther with Debora and Natalie with Bebe. Esther writes, "Growing up as a missionary kid, I had an idea of how a mission trip goes. We would be helping kids at an orphanage, helping the orphanage and serving as God’s sons and daughters to these children and adults. I knew from prior trips that the feeling of "mission trip high" would be there at the end, but this trip was different. I have never physically felt a hole when leaving a place, but Romania and the children and people there will always be in my heart. Every day, I look at my Mudlove band and see the words "Isus" and remember the people I met, the servent’s hearts that I experienced, and the kids that touched my life. God broke all my molds and expectations I had, and formed ones that will never be broken. I thank God for this opportunity and I can not wait until I get to go back, but if not go back, at least have an opportunity to share my stories and have people praying and maybe even supporting Casa Dorca."
Jake with Bebe and Cipi with Beni. Cipi grew up at Casa Dorca and is now a university students studying foreign languages. He served as one of our very able interpreters.
We visited numerous village churches. Here we are at Moceris with brother Danila, the administrator of Casa Dorca.
Katie with Alexandra, Denisa, si Vanesa. Katie states, "Romania was unbelievable. The people were all generous and kind. I learned more from the kids and workers there than I thought possible! I can’t wait until I get to return!"
I was grateful to have my friend and colleague Dr. Michael Harstine, professor of business, as a co-leader.
Sydney with Beni. Here are Sydney’s thoughts about the trip. “Going to Romania was such a blessing! It was awesome to see the Lord working through our team interacting with the orphans and other people of the Romanian culture. As much as the children learned from us, I learned much more from them and I’m thankful for that. It was a life changing experience and I’m great full to God for the opportunity to have traveled to Romania.”
Ashley with Sami in the bus on the way to our 2-hour cruise on the Danube.
Joe was our accountant and, besides Jack, the only guy who was able to withstand the heat in the kitchen.
Nina with Denisa. Nina’s thoughts about the trip: "Going into the trip, I was going to fill a requirement for Grace and help out in an orphanage. However, the Lord had way more in store for my team and me than I ever imagined! The people that we came in connection with showed the love of God, had a servants heart, and gave us all when they have very little. It blew me away. It was awesome to see the body of Christ working on the other side of the world! They reminded me of the joy that we a believers find in Christ. I’ll be forever grateful for this experience, and I pray that I can return to Casa Dorca sometime in the future."
With Beni and Bebe. Right now, adoptions from Romania are not possible but the legislature is working on new regulations that might open up adoptions in the future.
Julia with Sami and Sydney with Beni. Here are Julia’s thoughts regarding the trip. "During the trip to Romania, my eyes were opened to see things I had not seen before. It was really neat to see how some people in a different culture lived their lives every day. Staying in an orphanage while we were there was also a very rewarding experience. One thing I learned while staying in the orphanage was that we must not forget those who care for the orphans. A lot of people might focus on how they can help the orphans, and while that is very important, we also must not forget to help those who are helping the orphans. Our group was asked to not forget those who work in the orphanage. It was also really cool to see how they had church in a different culture. I was encouraged to see other believers living their lives for Jesus in Romania. Experiencing some Romanian culture firsthand was also a lot of fun! I feel very blessed to get to go on this trip and experience it with our amazing group."
We did a lot of singing. Janae, Natalie, Ashley, and Casey are singing their hearts out at the Speranta Baptist Church in my hometown of Resita.
Joe and Jake with Beni. Jake thinks about how God worked in his life during this trip. “I started the trip thinking that this is just a requirement for a course. Now after what I have experienced, I now know that this was an event caused by God to help me grow in my faith. I would more than gladly give my time again to experience Romania with same itinerary and group as before.”
Vali broke his femur and had been in bed for three months. He was ecstatic when Jack gave him his tennis racquet.
Michael served as a great student leader. He preached the Word day after day with passion and accuracy. I can’t wait to see how God will continue to use him. Here are Michael’s thoughts, " I am incredibly thankful to God for allowing me to go on the Romania 2012 trip. We were blessed to serve the kids at Casa Dorca and build relationships with them. We were also incredibly blessed to be served by those at the orphanage and to be shown great examples of a humble servant of God. I hope to go back in the future!
The last day in Romania we visited Castelul Huneazilor which dates back to the 15th century.
We are grateful to God for a wonderful, unforgettable experience. May HIS name be praised!