Romania 2016, Travel

(i) The Road to Romania

The opportunity to travel to Romania came a little unexpectedly.

The great adventure that had been on my horizon had been my trip to Colombia with Open Doors back in June to work alongside believers persecuted for their faith in that country. After all the fundraising, praying, and preparation that had gone into that trip, and the unforgettable blessing of meeting and standing with Colombian Christians persecuted for their faith while I was there, I didn’t expect to be travelling abroad again for a while.

I thought I’d have a quiet end to the summer, recovering and reflecting, preparing for the next year at university. That was until a couple of weeks ago, when a couple of spaces opened up on my home church’s annual trip to Romania. Each year, we send a team to the country to work alongside an organisation in the country called FAST.  FAST is an incredible organisation that works in the region of Brasov alongside Roma communities living in poverty and impoverished conditions. The vision of Daniel and Ema, the wonderful Christian couple who founded the organisation, is to

…run projects that meet educational, work skills and social care needs, together with practical improvements in living conditions for needy families [and] eliminate poverty, deprivation and discrimination [in Brasov], and to promote social integration.

One of the ways FAST works to do this in Brasov is through their “Better Homes” project, which seeks to provide housing for marginalised families. When we’re out there, our team will be building one such house in Tarlungeni. As well as this, they operate a Mission House to support children at risk and from marginalised rural areas, through the provision of pastoral care, support and education. Their Integration Centre and Training Centre provides vocational training and education for young people and families who “continue to fall through the cracks” by “offering them a chance to help themselves.”

In the past, I’ve always loved hearing the stories of the teams who have been out and supported FAST’s work in Romania. You can only rejoice when you hear the personal, individual stories of families who have been rejected or neglected by their society experiencing the love of the Father by being provided a house, or being welcomed into community through the work of FAST. God’s Kingdom is on the move in Eastern Europe, and He’s bringing hope and restoration one child, one mother, one father at a time.

If I’m honest, the idea of travelling to Romania with the team myself had always been a bit of a pipeline thought in the back of my mind. Particularly this Summer, after travelling to Colombia, another mission trip was the last thing I was expecting to do! When I was first approached about the opportunity a few weeks ago, I was a little surprised, responding that I’d love to go – but at first, in truth, I didn’t expect to actually go forward with it. 

As I started to have a few more conversations, and everything started to fit into place, I realised that God was in this, prompting me to go again. He does that, calling us to make last minute plans and unexpected journeys. Once again, God’s taught me to trust Him completely (with finances, with strength, with preparation) – and totally trusting Him I am, that He’d truly make His strength perfect in my weakness, that He’d work through my small offering.  I’m so joyed that he opened this door for me, for my wonderful family at church who asked me to come, and for the opportunity to spend more time with my brothers and sisters abroad.

But what I’m most excited for is the chance simply to witness the Father doing what He loves to do – heal the broken-hearted, lavish the neglected and the rejected son and daughter with His love, bring healing to the hurting, and bring transformation to entire nations. I can’t wait to be a small drop of the tidal wave of God’s love roaring through Romania.

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