ROMANIA : PREFACE
The past two years of my life have been introspective and full of personal, spiritual analysis. During this time I read many books, completed several Bible studies, and sought much counsel to answer one simple question that has plagued me throughout my life: “Why am I here? What is my purpose in this life?” I have never felt called to any specific career path, and I’ve never found that level of happiness I expected to have by this point in my life. For many, many years I’ve struggled with feelings of inadequacy and personal failure. And so, at the beginning of 2006, I began a pointed search to determine just what God’s purpose for me was meant to be.
Throughout the year the Lord answered me again and again in the exact same way: “Your only purpose is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Of course, I decided it couldn’t be that simple. And yet, everywhere I turned someone was preaching or teaching or quoting this same scripture verse. Time and again these teachers used the phrase, “your purpose.” Determining to embrace this truth, to accept that my only purpose in life was to love my God, has changed the way I look at everything in my life and in this world. No longer am I tied to profession or future plans or a skewed view of personal happiness. I am on this earth for one and only one purpose. And that is liberating.
The beginning of 2007 brought to me a new desire: to find my “mission”. My church has been focusing on missional living for quite some time now, and I have never quite known how that should play out in my daily life, but I prayed one specific prayer in early 2007. I asked the Lord to allow me to join a mission trip at some point during the year. I had no specific destination in mind; I simply wanted to step out and join God at work in the world, wherever that took me. It’s a frightening prayer, “wherever You will send me”, but I have come to trust in the Lord in ways I never knew I could, so I was ready to go “wherever” if He would provide the way. Within days my pastor announced a mission trip to Romania. I was overwhelmed at the timing of God’s answer. And I knew immediately that He would provide all of the financial means and the time off from work and any other need that would arise; all I had to do was believe He would do it and live in expectant faith.
During the next months I saw God put everything into place: a donation was given that covered the full expense of the trip and I was blessed to be its recipient; friends and family provided financial help to purchase the necessary resources I needed to travel internationally, and several friends provided specific items for use during my time abroad so that I wouldn’t have to purchase them; health problems that have plagued me for most of my adult life finally became manageable before I ever set foot on an airplane or experienced a new culture. Detail after detail fell into place, and I have no doubt that God did all of it. I was blessed before ever leaving the States. I knew that the blessings to come would be immeasurable.
As I prayed in preparation for our work in Arad, I began to understand that I not only had one purpose in this life, but also one simple mission. My mission is Christ’s mission: go into all the world and make disciples of all people. Again, it’s so simple, and yet it’s the most important thing we’ll ever do in this life. I did not understand the magnitude of this until I was in the heart of western Romania, and I came to learn not only about missional living but I also received answer to another elusive heart’s desire – I have now found what Max Lucado calls “the sweet spot”. Everything I had been seeking culminated in this adventure in Romania. I cannot possibly share every story nor can I convey every emotion, but I hope that my daily journals will give you a taste of what God can do when we are obedient to His call. I was fully unequipped to accomplish one thing in the world, but I am living proof that God can accomplish anything through us. And to Him is all the glory.
continue reading: Day One