Hello loved ones! After a long drive, we have made it safely to Bucharest. We arrived at our hotel around 7pm, dropped off our bags, and then went to a mall for a little souvenir shopping. We had a lovely dinner there and then came back to our hotel to settle down for bed. Our flight leaves Bucharest around 8:30am (Bucharest time), so we have an early morning ahead of us. It is hard to believe that our trip has come to an end. It has been such an amazing trip! Reports are coming in that our team's visit to the churches have been like fresh air breathed in to them! We may have been the instruments, but this was only made possible because of God. And of course, we could not have done this without your prayers! So thank you so much for your prayers and support. I cannot express enough how necessary they were!
We love you all very much, and we look forward to seeing everybody soon. We will be having a reflection service before too long, so be on the look out for that announcement at church. We will be posting this on the blog as well. Finally, at some point we will be compiling all of our photos and video clips to make a nice presentation, so we will keep you updated on that! Again, thank you so much for all you have done for us. We love you guys!
1. That we would have a safe flight back to Dallas
2. That we would get rested up and readjusted to Dallas time.
Hello loved ones! So, today was our last full day :(. We drove up to the church plant in Gogosu (a village south of Drobeta Turnu Severin) a little before noon. We took to the streets and handed out invitations to church, and then after lunch at the church, we put on our final VBS. We had well over 60 kids in attendance, it was remarkable! Again, we sang songs with them, told them a bible story and how Jesus loved them, made witness bracelets, played the straw game, fed them, and then handed out candy They were truly loved on and told of the great love that Christ has for them. It was a successful afternoon!
Around 5pm, we had a church service there. Roger, Casi, and Jen gave their testimonies, Emily, Casi, and I (Mark) sang a few worship songs, and then I got to preach again. It was a beautiful service as another 6 people came up to give or rededicate their life to Christ!
We then went back to Drobeta Turnu Severin to have dinner with Pastor Aliyn at one of the restuarants, and now we are all back at the hotel settling down for bed. We will be leaving here around 10am and hope to arrive at Bucharest around 7pm. Our flight leaves Friday morning and we willl be arriving back in the states Friday afternoon.
1. Pray that we would have a safe drive to Bucharest.
2. Pray that God would help us proces everything he has shown us this past two weeks.
Hello blog followers! Emily here. I was dubbed "blog writer" for today. Happy to do it, so here it goes. :)
Today started off at Pastor Alin's church, Baserica Dominica. We had some sweet worship in Romanian and English. Alin and his lovely daughter Estera, sang a duet that was absolutely beautiful! Afterwards, Pastor Alin shared his testimony and heart for the church's ministry. This man has an incredible heart for the Lord and it is truly inspiring.
We headed to lunch, then afterwards went to a village (which we are not sure of the name) about an hour away from Turnu Severin. There, we did more of the street evangelism via passing out invitations to come join the church worship services. It was great to meet more brothers and sisters in Christ who are missionaries to these villages. They are such a beacon of light there.
Dinner was a treat tonight! We had the pleasure of eating with Alin and his family at their house. They fed us the very best, chicken and mashed potatoes. For dessert, ice cream and homemade cakes! They also gave us 2 CD's each and a music video of one of Alin's songs. We thanked them multiple times and headed back to the hotel.
We are now back and soon going to sleep. Tomorrow is our last day of mission work before we drive back to Bucharest on Thursday. Thank you for all the continued prayers, we all appreciate it so much. Love!!
Hey loved ones! We're back! Sorry about missing yesterday's post, but the internet was down at our hotel yesterday :(. Now it is fixed! Hooray!
Well, let me try to fill you in a little for each day!
We started Sunday by taking part of the church service here in Drobeta Turnu Severin. Casi, Kathy R., and Jennifer shared their testimonies, Casi and I (Mark) both led a few worship songs, and then I got to preach! God was truly working at the service as 5 people came to receive Christ that morning!!! It was SO awesome! We then went to lunch at our favorite lunch spot near the Danube River, had a little time for a quick nap, and then went to an evening service at a church service plant at a village about 30 minutes away. There, Liz, Kathy L., and Jennifer gave their testimonies, Casi and I led a few worship songs, and then I got to preach again. God was really working at this service as 6 more people came to accept or rededicate their life to Jesus! What a humbling experience! We then came back into town, had dinner at our favorite pizza place, and then called it a night. Oh ya, this was the day that we got to move into AIR CONDITIONED rooms!!! This was the first time during our entire trip that we had AC. It has been unusually hot here, in Romania, so AC is a real treat!
Everybody woke up sad this morning, because nobody wanted to leave camp! We got up and helped all the campers pack up their tents and get ready to head back to Vilandes for church. We got on the 50 person bus with about 65 people, which was a little interesting, and headed on the three hour drive back home. We arrived at church and the Americans did our skit for the service and hopefully the Latvians in the church liked it. After church ended, we all moved back into our designated rooms in the church and said bye to all our campers for good, it was really sad.
All the Amercians gathered in the meeting room and made the decision of going to lunch, AT MCDONALDS!!! Everybody went crazy when we got there, people were actually running to the doors and pushing people to be first in line, it was a sight to see. After we ate, we all went around Old Riga and did some sight seeing and shopping. We got back to the church and got ready to go to dinner. We went to Lido, which is a very popular restaurant in Latvia, think of Luby's, but Latvian style. After dinner we hung around the town and watched some live music and had some coffee. When we got back to the church at around 11, we had a meeting in the church and talked about our amazing week at camp. We were all tired but the meeting went well, especially when Gayle told us that we actually got to sleep in and enjoy a free day in Riga in the morning!
We woke up on Sunday in our soaked tents and went to our daily meeting and breakfast, then headed to worship. After worship, we had our last morning discussion of the camp which was pretty sad. Then we ate lunch and got ready for our last extreme event of the camp, Extreme Monopoly. This game consisted of rolling a big dice and moving our mascot around a huge board and each space on the board had a mini game or task that we had to complete for points. We got to roll around in mud, climb the rock wall, and even find a santimu (coin) in the bottom of a pot full of mixed eggs and milk, gross, I know. After the game, we all showered up in the lake and went to dinner. After dinner, we went to our final worship service. Before the discussion, the Amercians got to preform the skit that we had been working on for the campers. The campers really took this seriously and a lot of them told us that they really like it. Karlis spoke and talked about the events that happened during the past week. He invited people to share the decisions they made and we all prayed over people for about an hour while we worshiped with music. We then split for our very last evening group discussion which was really sad because we had to say goodbye to some of our new friends.
We woke up to another burning hot morning in the tents, with the sun shining in our face. We had our morning meeting and prayer with the Latvian leaders, and headed to wake up the campers, then we went to the tent for Josh and David to do some of their own aerobics, with their pants pulled up above their bellybottons, which was a very interesting sight. After that craziness, we headed to a delicious breakfast of grits and jam. Then we went to worship, and after that, we split up and talked more with our groups of campers and got to know them better. After we ate our lunch, it was time for the most extreme event of the camp! We were told to find two longs that were two meters long and make our own three meter rope out of anything we could find in the forest! After we found and made our supplies, we had to carry our equipment and find Toms and Tabita at a river. They then told us to carry our supplies across the freezing water, and we also had to keep two of our group mates completely dry, meaning we had to carry them over our heads across the water!! Tabita then give us a bag of empty bottles and tape and told to go back across the river and back to the camp site to start building a raft! We had to swim our rafts across the lake, which was so crazy but so much fun! All the campers really enjoyed it.
We woke up and all of the Americans and Latvians met to have our daily meeting and prayer before the day began. We woke the campers up by bringing them all together and Gable, Chandler, and Dibrell led some funny aerobics consisting of weird dance moves. After our “work out”, we had breakfast and headed to worship. Worship was full of fun songs and dancing, an amazing speech, and some fun games/challenges. The challenges usually consisted of the Americans playing tricks on the Latvians, they were all very entertaining, or some challenge of endurance. Today the challenge was to hold a piece of paper at arms length for as long as you can. Tori won the contest by doing it for 30 minutes. Go ahead try it for yourself. Also the loser of the challenge had to go jump in the lake. After worship, we split up in our small groups and had our daily morning discussion time. Between small groups and lunch, a Latvian leader brought everybody together and made us do this weird clappy thing, They called it body music where we just made a cool beat until the lunch bell rang.
We woke up in our tents to the bright sunshine that had come up around 4 a.m. as well as the ‘bah’ of the lambs. We then met with all the Latvian leaders and were all assigned tasks that needed to be completed before the campers arrived. Finally they arrived and we helped them pitch their tents that they had brought to sleep in. We ate lunch and talked with the campers. Afterwards we found out who was in our small groups. So we got together with them and came up with our team name, made a team chant, and built a mascot out of what we could find in the forest that we would carry around with us. After presenting all of that to the rest of the teams, the games began. We played a series of different relay races to begin earning points for our teams. At worship that night the Music Performance Team/ MPT (consisting of Dib, Tori, Valters, Jay, David, and Nick) performed the YHWH dance, meaning Yahweh, which is a more religious take on YMCA. After worship we had our discussions in our small groups where we talked about what had been discussed in the sermon. Next we played the “something else” game of the night which was a counselor hunt through the woods. Many of the American leaders got to be the ones who hid in the woods or other places on the territory. Of course you have to remember that to play night games in Latvia you have to start late since it is light til about 11.
We worked on the drama that the Americans would be showing one night during worship at camp. We then packed and began loading up for camp. We got to the camp site and it was absolutely beautiful. Everything was green and just flat out beautiful. The aroma of nature and sheep filled the air. We knew we were to be sleeping in tents, but what we didn’t know was that we had to pitch our own. We paired up and began the long process of trying to set up where each of us would sleep. Pretty much everyone was skeptical at first except JT who ended up just sleeping outside the first night. Supposedly the bugs weren’t as bad as they had been, but they were everywhere. Some of us did the ropes course that they had and It included a zip line with super safety man, Josh at the helm. After dinner we all spent time togther by jumping in and out of the sauna and lake. It was awesome. Afterwards we sat by the campfire, talking and singing with some of our new Latvian friends. At the meeting that night we found out who each of us were assigned to be with as the leaders. All in all it was a really good day, we went to bed excited and nervous for the campers to arrive the next day. Hit read more to see pictures.