My brain has had a work-out (rare these days) and I’m tired. I have spent the weekend at a nearby Romanian church for a homecoming with the strange name of “Barefoot.” About 400 Romanian expatriates descended in Hickory, North Carolina – coming from Georgia, Chicago, Florida, and Detroit – for three marathon days of praising God. The tradition began back in the old country, in the city of Arad. A choir director had a difficult time reigning in his singers, who wanted to improvise with different instruments or by singing their own way. The director said that first they must follow his rules, but after that, they could sing barefoot if they wanted. This annual get-together is the equivalent of “singing barefoot.” There is never a set program, but all the varied pieces (sharing, music, prayer, and piles of food) fit together to make a beautiful mosaic, incense rising before the throne of God.
When I arrived in the parking lot, the first thing I noticed was the absence of Dacias (the only car available in Romania during the days I lived there). I was a bit apprehensive because of my language ability and the fact that I didn’t know anyone. A friend of a friend who I’d yet to meet had invited me. By the time the weekend ended, I’d made many new friends. As always, the Romanians easily welcomed me into their hearts. It turns out that several of them knew some of my Romanian staff friends, so we instantly had a common bond.
I shouldn’t have been concerned about language. Most of the teenagers, although they could understand their mother tongue, only spoke in English. I was pleased that I could understand almost everything – except for one man who spoke really quickly, that is. And when I stood up to introduce myself and speak to the group, people told me I did OK (but perhaps they were just being gracious). At least, I hope I expressed my heart to them even if the words weren’t always the right ones.
My heart is full. I never knew any Romanians in Marin County, and now there’s a whole community close by. I’ve seen yet another evidence, as if there isn’t enough already, of why this is the place that God lovingly chose for Steve and I. And I’m thankful.