I’ve been asked a multitude of questions about my trip to Romania this summer, so here’s my compilation of an FAQ of sorts in honor of the 3-week countdown!
1. What will you be doing?
I am heading to Romania with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). YWAM “is an evangelical inter-denominational, non-profit Christian, missionary organization”. For the majority of my time, I’ll be at a base near Cluj-Napoca. This trip is independently-organized; though I will be working with a YWAM base, I am not going with a team or through the organization. The best way to describe my role is as an intern. But really, it’s a mission trip that I have planned and executed mostly on my own.
The project I’m most excited for is an arts camp as an outreach to local youth in July. Many of you know about my passion for hand-lettering. I’ve been teaching workshops recently, so I imagine my involvement in the camp will be similar to the classes I’ve been hosting here! There has been discussion of a dance and worship camp in June, but I’m not sure if that was ever made official.
Aside from that, I’ll get the opportunity to visit two other YWAM bases for a week each so I can get a feel for other parts of the country. I don’t know yet what I’ll be doing there, but I am looking forward to it!
And finally, for the rest of the time at my “home” base, I’ll be participating in daily ministry and helping out with tasks as needed. I’ve been told that there are some blank walls that I can paint and letter on. Oh, I am SO excited for that!
2. Why Romania?
I studied abroad in Lithuania three years ago in Spring 2014. That semester, I fell in love with Eastern European culture and history. Once I decided that I wanted to do a mission trip this summer, I brainstormed with my mom and future sister-in-law while out for a drive. In a matter of minutes, one of them suggested Romania, and I knew in my heart that this was the right country for me. It’s a location I have not yet visited but has similar elements to some countries that I dearly love.
I contacted family friends who used to run a YWAM base in Romania, and they helped set it in motion! In December, I met the current directors of the base while they were visiting the US. They shared some of their plans for the summer, like the art camp, which only served to reinforce my commitment. We seemed to connect quite well and have similar passions. There are no red flags, so I’m trusting that this is an open door and will help me discern how to incorporate ministry, my passions, and my career in the future!
3. Why 2 months?
On vacation last summer, I was chatting with a dear friend about her month-long mission trip to South Africa. It was very inspiring to me. Hearing her talk about it encouraged me to consider the possibility of taking a month (or more!) to travel and serve. I’ve gone on seven mission trips that have been a week or less in length. They’ve all been meaningful, but I wanted to try something different. It takes time to understand the culture and connect with the people I am ministering to. I’ve always said that if I didn’t need to be State-side for grad school interviews, there is nothing else holding me back from teaching English abroad or working with another international organization. Thus, I decided that spending the summer before grad school serving internationally would still be a powerful experience. I no longer have grad school waiting for me when I return home, but I am still choosing to serve in Romania because God has given me this passion and cleared this time in my schedule.
4. How can I be praying?
- I’ve gone through a good deal of trauma and hurt in the two years since graduation/starting life on my own. Some days I struggle to get out bed because I don’t want to deal with all the pain. Pray that the time away provides relief, healing, and perspective.
- I’ve been so busy with grad school applications and turning my lettering hobby into a business that I’ve slacked on fundraising. Pray that God provides the funds for my trip. He’s given me this passion, and He’ll also make it happen. (If you want to donate, visit my fundraising page HERE or send me an email)
- Pray for safety and health while abroad. When I was in Lithuania, I had migraines every day for three months straight as a result of culture shock. That made it incredibly challenging to engage. Also, I have an uncanny propensity to injure myself. Case in point: my hair caught on fire my first night in Lithuania. Also, I sprained my toe while using a slip-and-slide last Memorial Day. I would love to be able to exercise, dance, and walk freely while in Romania.
- Pray that I have employment lined up when I return home. I’m not sure if I want to find another research job, focus on my lettering business, or something else entirely. I’m leaving my current job in order to go on this trip, so I have nothing awaiting me. I’m flexible, so I’m trusting God to provide, as usual.
Thanks so much for reading! I’m excited that you want to support me in my time serving in Romania! Keep checking back here for updates, or join my email list by leaving a comment or sending me an email.