Already, after only a day and a half in Romania, my heart is full. I have had many conversations with dear friends, some in Romanian, some in English, most half and half. We’ve laughed as we’ve relived funny memories (remember when ant was translated aunt?); we’ve discussed struggles the younger staff have with raising their financial support; we’ve grieved together friends who are no longer with us. But mostly we’ve connected on a heart-to-heart level that defies explanation. Many of the Campus Crusade staff were students when I met them in the early 1990s. I know their stories of when they came to faith in Christ. Some have been on staff 19 years, almost as many as I served. They were in their early twenties then and now they’re in their early forties – the age I was when I left Eastern Europe for the States.
This morning, as we sang “Holy is the Lord” together in the melodic Romanian language, I looked out on those faces that I and my teammates have loved and prayed for over the decades. The tears starting flowing. One of my favorite things to do here was to sing worship songs together in Romanian. I realized, I am back. I’m in Romania. After the singing, I slipped out to catch up with David and Susan, my former teammates. One of the guys came running after me. “They want you on the stage,” he said. We ran together down the newly mopped hallway, into the conference room, over all the microphone cords, and onto the stage.
Daniela (pictured above) spontaneously interviewed three of us women who had returned for the celebration. The first two answered their questions in English. She asked me how I felt coming to Romania. I took the microphone and said, “Mi-a fost frica” and explained why I was afraid of living in this country at that time. Everyone applauded and many told me they were so encouraged that I still remembered how to speak in Romanian. God has answered my prayers to cause a little of the language, rusty as it is, to come back. He’s also answered my prayers to allow me to quickly recover from jet lag and adjust to the new time. How can it get any better than it is already? Yet I expect it will. I can’t wait for the big celebration in just two days.