It’s the old joke: “You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
Our mission in Romania has always struck me as evidence God laughs. I had plans, and those plans certainly didn’t include going to Romania. That’s something Warren Jaycox and others were doing from the St. Andrew family. And God bless them! Then through a variety of circumstances I ended up in Romania with Bob Jones and Kymry Borkenhagen, and I “got it.” Since then doors I thought would swing wide open have slammed shut, while other doors have opened in ways I could never have imagined.
Sighisoara…Archita…Danes…places I have never heard of before going there. Now the faces of children and friends float into my mind’s eye along with a deep sense that we’re supposed to be there doing exactly what we’re doing…living a partnership in the gospel. It’s not that we go over there to teach them how to run a Vacation Bible School. There’s something else going on, for everyone who participates always comes back with the deep sense they received more than they gave. Like our work in El Salvador, we’re showing up in a place Americans simply don’t go to. And there is something about being Christian Americans caring enough to make the difficult journey because we care, which becomes a big part, if not the biggest part of the message. The Holy Spirit is doing something we don’t fully understand, but is part of a bigger plan and is making a difference. Our partnership with Florin and Paula Boruga, Florin’s brother Sabin, and the people of their churches.
I’m reminded of Luke’s account of how Paul and his team ended up in Philippi. That wasn’t their plan until the Holy Spirit appeared to Paul in a dream. As you read Acts 16:6-10 (from the Message), instead of Europeans in verse 10, substitute Sighisoara Romanians…
They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
“Come over and help us.” That was Florin’s invitation—so that’s what we have done. This Sunday you’ll hear from Brian Ness and Tracy Walthard, as I talk to them about what they learned about God, themselves, and our partners in Sighsoira. The other members of the team included Felicia Ballard, Kelsey Walthard, Kristie Walthard, Chris Pena, and Kymry Borkenhagen (Our veteran of many Romania trips!). Some of the things they shared with me about their experience…
- “We had obstacles to overcome from the first moment we landed…I was reminded we weren’t in control, God is! Our difficulties offered an opportunity for us to witness the kindness of the Romanian people.”
- “I am humbled by the strength of the faith of those we encountered during VBS Romania. Without the busyness of life here in America and the abundance of material goods that often occupy our time, the Romanian people seem to have more ‘room’ in their lives to love God and one another.”
- “We showed up, entered the arena, and dared greatly for God in our efforts. It was worth it!”
- “The young, thin children in Archita were eating ‘two-fisted,’ yet offering me half of their sandwich when I was nearby.”
- “It feels so easy to find God in the absence of security. With so little in their lives, they are able to fill it with SO much God. It feels like there is no space for God in our full lives.”
To wit I would say—maybe the reason we find God in these moments of mission is more about our being present in the moment and finding God is “here,” wherever “here” is! I love Jacob’s response to the dream he had at Bethel: “The LORD is here! He is in this place, and I didn’t know it!” (Genesis 28:16) We’ll be sure and talk about not only the challenge of traveling to serve, but also the challenge of being mindful of God’s presence right here in Sonoma.
More Sunday…Here’s what I have on my desk…
HELP SEND A LOCAL TEEN TO YOUNGLIFE CAMP!!
The congregation of St. Andrew has blessed many campers in the past by funding camperships.
Whether your donation funds a full or partial scholarship, you will bless a camper and open the door for that camper to find a relationship with Christ. The total cost per camper is $600.
Please use the envelope in your Sunday bulletin for your donation, make your check
PAYABLE TO “ST. ANDREW”, MEMO “YOUNGLIFE CAMPERSHIP” and place in the offering plate.
BE A PART OF THE WELCOME HOME CARAVAN 2016 TEAM! We need volunteers to help in the kitchen on Saturday, August 6TH and Sunday, August 7TH, when our Senior High Youth Group and their adult leaders return to St. Andrew from a week on Caravan to prepare for the Caravan Sunday Worship Service. We’re looking for a few volunteers for these meal shifts to help with set up, prep in the kitchen and clean up afterwards:
Saturday, August 6th: 12:45-2:45PM: Lunch Buffet
Saturday, August 6th: 4:30-7:00PM: BBQ Dinner
Sunday, August 7th: 6:30-8:30AM: Pancake Breakfast
Sunday, August 7th: 9:30-11:30AM: Set out snacks for the Caravan youth between services in the Fellowship Hall and final clean up
If you can help with one or more of these shifts, please contact Linda Felt 938-8023 or [email protected]
Now you know what I know…