Sunday March 17, 2019

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

After our long night with David, Jeff decided to stay home with him for some Father/Son bonding at the grocery store while the girls and I headed for church. Anjali found her new friend immediately and Lucia snuggled up with me during the worship time of singing in both English and Romanian. When it was time for the sermon the kids took off and I was able to sit back and enjoy the message, which was the power of love (nothing like a good Back to the Future and Huey Lewis and the News plug). The message today at church fits right in with my scripture lesson for the day (God sure does know how to drive His point home). Love is the path to true happiness in this life and the only permanent and unending love I know is in God. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Paul was telling the Romans that the kingdom of God is found in love, not in the food and drink they consume. Agape love, the unconditional and sacrificial love of God for us, was mentioned during the sermon and it made me think of a previous post about filling the invisible buckets of others. God regularly asks us to be humble in our ways, take care of brothers and sisters, lift them up when they stumble, and to love them as we love ourselves. These are not always easy tasks to do and sometimes they even come at a cost to us, but isn’t it what Christ has asked of us; to love others the way He loves us. God made us in His image so we are able to give love and receive it, just as He does. And He showed us His love for us with the ultimate sacrifice, His son. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

It was a nice service, though I experienced a bit of tension between the girls on the walk home which no doubt was the direct result of their refusal to go to bed on time last night and their now lack of sleep. Lucia went off the deep end for a bit (I actually had to carry her) and Anjali was happy to just sulk and throw in snide comments here and there. It was such fun. But after we met up with boys back at the house and had some lunch, we headed out for a walk in the beautiful sunshine and everyone seem to be in tolerable moods. It was such a gorgeous day outside and there was no way I could be kept indoors. We explored the Black Church here in Brasov, a church that began back in the mid-1300’s. There was so much history to take in, which was especially difficult to do over our girls finding every way to irritate each other. Afterwards we just walked around the Counsil Square, enjoyed some gelato, did a Facetime with some friends back in Madison, and headed to the playground. I would love to say that the kids had a great time, but I am not sure if they did or not. No one was in a particularly good mood, but besides the girls there wasn’t much fighting either. I enjoyed being in the sunshine and beautiful blue sky, so I will call the day a success.

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Counsel Square
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Lucia playing at the playground
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David and Anjali looking miserable…How could we even think of taking them to a playground?

Lucia didn’t tolerate her tiredness very well and when we got home she went downhill fast, so she was in bed and asleep (after a very long and loud tantrum) by 6:45 tonight and David followed (though with no tantrum) at 7:30. Jeff was invited to play Ultimate Frisbee with one of the dad’s he met yesterday at the birthday party, so he took off at 8:30 and was gone for a couple hours. I missed him a lot and I realized that we haven’t spent much time apart in the evenings and I find that when we do, I really miss his company. We always have so much fun, but I am hopeful he has found an opportunity for some alone time while we are here, a time to make some friends and have some fun!

Wednesday December 5, 2018

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.

Oh what a day today was. I am sure you have had those days where you just can’t catch a break and you are faced with two choices: 1) get down on yourself and a bit depressed because you feel like the whole world is against you, or 2) laugh, and laugh hard! I chose the latter and I am so glad I did because I might have been in bed by 3:00 today otherwise. I will just say that this blog post is my gift to you today…a good laugh–enjoy it! And please don’t feel bad about laughing at my misfortunes and I swear to you, this all happened just as I will lay it out for you. I don’t think I could make something like this up! Have fun : )

I was tasked with decorating a bench for a wedding here at the mission this afternoon. The older girls started it the night before and I was to finish it with various greenery from around the mission campus. I decided to go hunting for pretty leaves and branches and saw some that would look great. I went to step over what looked like mud (but I quickly learned that it wasn’t) onto a walkway that wasn’t actually there and down I went. I wish I had a video or even a picture to capture this awful, but really funny, moment…my entire lower body was covered and caked in waste of various kinds (cow, food, etc) (go ahead, laugh, and laugh hard…I did and so did Jeff!). So I crawled myself out of this stuff, which was headed out to fertilize the crops, and walked up to the apartment to clean up (thankfully Jeff was there to help shield me with a towel as I disrobed on the stairs and carried my clothes and shoes into the shower with me.

I can’t even begin to describe the smell that permeated the bathroom and the entire apartment, so I will let your imagination do the work. I proceeded to rinse my clothes and hope that they were not ruined (they weren’t) and then wash them, over and over and over and over again. I think I washed them for about 30-45 minutes before the water started appearing less black, then I let the clothes and shoes soak in the soapy water for a while.

Now it was time for me to shower, which should be the easiest part of this whole debacle, but it wasn’t. Life on the Farm has it’s challenges. Now I really can’t be certain why, but as I turned on the shower there was no water pressure at all, the water was actually dripping from the shower head and, to top it all off, there was no hot water. I was covered in smelly, nasty sewer waste and all I had to work with is freezing cold water that I could only access from a spigot in the shower. Jeff came in to see if I needed any help and we both just started laughing, really hard. I mean what else is there to do? So I reached for two small buckets that I proceeded to fill with freezing cold water and then dump them over me, again and again. Then shower and rinse. This took forever and was probably one of the most unpleasant showers of my life, but I got clean and no longer smelled of sewer waste.

After cleaning myself up and washing my clothes one more time through and leaving them to soak, again, I realized that my ankle was not feeling great and that I must have twisted it during my fall. So here is a recap…while trying to decorate a wedding bench I fell into sewer waste and then had to wash myself by pouring freezer cold water over my body with small buckets, only to notice that I twisted my ankle. But there is no rest for the weary, that bench needed to be finished. So I went back to work finding leaves, but this time I just avoided that whole area; I learned my lesson. I finished the bench with some help with some wonderful ladies here and it turned out really pretty. We received an invitation to the wedding, and our family got to experience an Indian Christian wedding. It was a lot of fun and was the highlight of my day.

One would think this would have been enough for one day, but it wasn’t. Thankfully the final thing wasn’t that bad. As I was laying in bed at the end of the day writing my blog I accidentally hit delete right as I as about to publish it. This normally would not have been a big issue, except I had forgotten to save it as a draft and I lost the entire blog that I wrote. After trying to recover the lost blog to no avail, I just sighed and closed my tablet, resigned to the fact that I just needed to rest. So I curled up to my husband, who again was laughing with me (or maybe at me) to watch something on Netflix before falling asleep.

This was quite a day. I truly felt beat down and could see how very easily it would have been to just cower in my room and wait for the day to end, but I didn’t. I managed, with the help of my husband and my own sense of humor, to find joy (laughter is synonymous with joy for today) in all of it and I will tell you that it was much easier to get through the rest of the day. Even on a day like today, there is no question in my heart and mind that we are where we are supposed to be. I am meant to be here (though I think I could have done without the fall in sewer waste) and I have never felt more alive. I knew there were going to be challenging days, actually we have already had our fair share, I just didn’t know they would like this! But if you can find the humor in these moments they pass much quicker and they make for fun stories and memories.

My reflection for today, find joy in everything and you will find peace. I know this is backwards from the scripture, but it is going to have to work for today…this is the best I can do : )

Sunday December 2, 2018

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 

Church is today and I am so excited. We had breakfast at 7:30 this morning and then relaxed until church at 10:00 am. Lucia was quick to bring out her Barbies to play with her new friends while some of the older girls had a photo shoot with Uncle John. It was a beautiful morning before church.

As we went into church this morning, it hit me how much I have missed fellowship and church. The first thing we did this morning was sing Noel and I found myself tearing up. My heart was so full to be in a place of worship that is done in English with people that share my faith in Jesus Christ. This service was filled with singing and praising God; it was beautiful and just what my soul needed.

After church Anjali had a group of kids playing Pass the Pig while David ran around the mission with the boys. It was a very relaxing and peaceful day.

At 4:30 Rick came to ask if Jeff and I wanted to join him for a Muslim wedding, to which I was happy to oblige (Jeff and I decided that it would be best if one of us stayed home with the kids). Auntie Peggy joined us, along with 3 of the older boys. We had about a 45 minute drive to the wedding, but this was such an amazing experience. Here are some pictures of the wedding.

The walkway to get to the wedding.

The wedding gang

The wedding—you could fit 2 football fields in it

Auntie Peggy and I

The Indian version of the “dollar dance”—the father of the bride sings and people shower him
with money for the bride.