Today we rose bright and early to go work our final day at the work-site. Our group split up as seven of us went to work and the remaining three went to go spend the morning with the kids from the Sunshine School. As the work team unloaded at the house, we got to work pouring concrete columns on each side of the house. We worked efficiently and finished before noon. By the end of the week we had completed both the inner and outer walls and put in reinforced concrete columns.
While the fellows went to the work-site, the ladies walked to the city park with several Darius House and Amy’s House kids. The walk is only about 25 minutes, but many of these roads are main roads. Us Americans had death grips on the children’s sweaty little hands on the main roads. It was fun to see them playing on the playground with all the other children. They were living out RCE’s vision of a normal life. There are tons of swing-sets at this playground and they are a fan favorite with the kids. The park is huge and the RCE workers are amazing at keeping track of the children and keeping them engaged. The park has lots of spots of shade, so we were able to spend most of the morning there before heading back to the Sunshine School for lunch.
After lunch, we finally received another siesta today. Our work schedule has been great but very full, and we have often asked why Romania doesn’t take a siesta like other parts of Europe. This is one tired crew! Our post-siesta, afternoon activities included shopping and The Arad Street Food Festival. Ovi, ever the amazing guide, first took us to exchange dollars for lei. The exchange rate is about four lei per dollar and US money goes a long way. Just down the street was another pastry shop where we sampled sauerkraut, potato, chocolate, and apple pastries on the street. We hit up a souvenir shop in the city then headed to “the ‘burbs” to visit Jumbo, Romania’s Toys ‘R Us, and Real, a huge supermarket. We purchased six different flavors of Fanta at Real and proceeded to have a Fanta taste testing in the parking lot. Will was the final judge and his verdict is orange is the best. Everywhere we went we were amazed at how little we spent, especially at the grocery store!
Ovi informed us this was the 3rd year of the Street Food Festival. They had moved it to the city park some of us toured the other evening and with the shade from many trees it was lovely. We got there early and crowds and lines were not very long. The event consisted of about 20-30 food & drink trucks, live music, picnic tables, a pop-up bar, and beans bags scattered about for lounging. We were all able to order different things like huge German sausages on pretzel roles, Angus beef, tacos, and chicken sandwiches. Will, who always likes distinguish himself from the rest, chose McDonald’s. He has set a goal of visiting McDonald’s in every country he visits, so he can check Romania off his list. We walked through the city to a specific street vendor Ovi knew about for ice cream cones after dinner. They offered two flavors of ice cream: chocolate and cantaloupe. Some ordered a mixed cone; cantaloupe ice cream probably a first for many of us. We then took a quick stroll by the river and headed back to the Sunshine School.
Our time here has quickly come to an end and we had to say goodbye for now to Ovi, but we look forward to seeing him in the states this Fall. It is time for us to pack our bags as we head out of Arad at 5:30 tomorrow morning. We will take the same route home; traveling to Budapest by car, a quick flight to Frankfurt, a short layover, and then the long flight back home. We will arrive home with tired eyes, but very full hearts.
There are certainly comforts of home we have all missed, but we will be sad to leave Romania for many reasons. To name just a few: the people and their warm hospitality, the need, the food, the loving children, and specifically the RCE staff and Martin Family. The RCE ministry here has been the most amazing thing to see. It is so much more than most of us ever knew before we came. The ministry is commendable for how they care, shepherd, steward resources, and so much more. We have been touched by and applaud their efforts to work with the local churches here in Romania for every Caring Project Family. We have also been pleased to see and hear about how they educate, counsel, and mentor families, as to not enable them. The people of Romania get mercy ministry. Even this week we saw many, many examples of those who RCE had helped giving back because they know that is what the Lord has called them to do. The Lord is touching hearts here and may everything RCE does glorify him!
Please pray with us for the ministry here:
-Pray specifically for the C Family. Pray their lives would be changed by their new home. Pray they would heed Ovi’s guidance and learn to care for their home. Praise the Lord for their local church and its involvement in their lives.
-Pray for the workers as they continue to work on the home and hope to have the roof on in the next month.
-Pray for Ovi and Doina Martin. Pray for strength for them both in this ministry. Pray for wisdom as they help make decisions about where the ministry will go next. Praise the Lord for their beautiful family, and pray as their daughter gets married this month.
-Pray for all the RCE children and placements, as well as all the Sunshine School children. May they live normal lives. May they know the Lord as they are able. It can be hard to just see pictures online and get a good feel for them, but they are all special in God’s sight.
-Pray for the RCE staff, who are all a delight. Give them strength as they do this very challenging work. Pray they would have perseverance even when they cannot see results.
-Pray for more opportunities to help those in Romania. Shout praises for the Lord’s providence and provision in the families he has already brought to RCE.
We are all off to bed for an early flight! Well… except Robert and Daniel, two of our teenage teammates, who were invited to play soccer with some folks from Ovi & Daniel’s church… starting at 10pm. We hope they are having fun! It looks like this trip is a wrap, please pray for safe and uneventful travels tomorrow.
THE SUNDAY SCARIES: I can’t help but feel the Sunday Scaries, and it has nothing to do with work on Monday. I know it is only Friday, but I’m not sure I want to leave. The scaries are setting in for a couple of reasons. First, our time here has been so beautiful and these people are so loving why would we want to leave? Second, our lives have been changed by being here. We must go back and decide how this will impact our lives in the States. How will we steward our resources? Where will we invest our time? I’ve been told to expect culture shock returning to the states, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it yet… this trip has sure given me a lot to think and pray about.