Sunday, July 5, 2009

Romania 2009: The Final Day

After an evening spent with the family, Hunter and I crashed out and got up fairly early so we could do a little shopping before leaving. Didn’t find what I was looking for and so we decided to have a traditional English breakfast of a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin, hashbrown and OJ followed by a Starbucks Frapuccino.
Heathrow terminal 5 is actually really nice as airports go and we had no incident getting through all of the formalities before boarding our plane. I decided to still wear my Houston Dynamo shirt to travel in and not one person asked me if I played for them. Maybe it wasn't the shirt and my athletic physique that made people think we were the team but the fact that there was a group of us wearing the shirts. I’m going to stick with my original premise until proven otherwise. As we boarded I tried to convince the flight attendants that there was a mistake on my ticket and instead of row 37 it should have been row 3 or 7. No-one seemed to buy it.
We arrived early into Houston and had no real wait at immigration or customs and on the other side were the beaming faces of my wife and daughter. It was good to be home.
As I end out this series I wanted to share some final thoughts. First, I hope in some way you got to share in the amazing experience we had in Romania through this blog and through the photos. Second, missions work is something, I believe, every Christian needs to be involved in. It may not be travelling overseas but there are so many people who are in need not just physically and materially but most importantly spiritually. There are a lot of groups who do great works to help meet the material needs of those less fortunate but at the same time are leading people down a spiritual path that will not lead them to eternal life in heaven but an eternity separated from God.
Third, with a group of 27 people travelling together, thousands of miles away, to a country that doesn’t speak much English, there were so many things that could have gone wrong – travel delays or lost baggage, sickness or health issues, weather problems, personal disputes – but essentially the trip went off without any major issue. All of that is not luck but the power of prayer and a God that blessed this trip.
Fourth, in Romania there are a number of challenges that Christian (biblical) churches face and for the youth the pressures are even greater. Romania is developing and money is coming into the country but at the same time a lot of the worldly influences are coming in which are trying to suck the youth away from their faith. Not only are they under attack from the influences of the world but even the Orthodox churches are not shy in their condemnation of anything non-Orthodox. The majority of the elderly people go to an Orthodox church if they go to church at all and the public dislike for bible-based churches is very evident.
Fifth, I have never met any of these people before as it was the majority of our group but it was almost instantaneous that two groups separated by a language (America and England are separated by the same language J) had a unbreakable bond through the love of Christ as Christians. In the first few moments together on a coach they were singing songs together.
Finally, never take the blessings you have for granted. No matter what you are going through now for a time, there is someone else who is going through a tougher situation. The answer to many of our issues is not a focus on our own problems but a serving of others and a seeking for the Kingdom of God.
Until next year – May God bless you, and keep you and may His face shine upon you.2 Corinthians 2: 1-9 – “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him."

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