Celebrating Christmas in Romania was definitely not what I had expected. I thought I would be sad and depressed that I was not in Wisconsin with my family to celebrate Christmas with the traditions we have created over the years. To my surprise, Christmas held a whole new meaning for me here. I realized after twenty-eight years of living that Christmas is not about traditions, opening presents or caroling throughout the neighborhood. No, Christmas is about giving. Yes I know we have all heard this our whole lives but how many of us actually practiced it? I guess it took me moving away from America to see that Christmas is about helping people in need whether we receive something back in return or not. This last month has been packed full of events, traveling and tons of ministry. Many eye opening moments for me and many hard moments.
We delivered Christmas shoeboxes to some children in the mountains, held a Christmas lunch-in for underprivileged children, gave a poor family of ten food for the holidays and handed out hot meals to a homeless community. I am not sharing this to brag or to say look at everything we did, I am saying this because each of these moments made me have a different perspective of my life. To think that I complain about so many things and then to realize that I should be keeping my mouth shut because I am blessed more than I realize. God opened my heart to these hurting people, God showed me what Christmas is really about and now I finally see what God sees everyday. He sees people who are broken, hungry, naked, lonely, afraid, helpless, needy, lost… He sees them all and for me to have the privilege to see that too will be something I will carry in my heart the rest of my life.
It has been quite a whirlwind of crazy and good since we arrived to Romania. The adjustment to Romanian life has been an easier transition than we had anticipated. God has really been our comfort and joy. Abella has been great and of course been making friends wherever she goes. She really is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever known.
The Lord has been stretching both Liviu and I as we’ve been venturing into life at Harvest and ministry here. Liviu has been extremely busy with getting caught up with the ministries he is leading (Young Adults & Middle School students). There is a lot more structure here at the church that he is still getting used to. It is very organized and spirit led, which is a great thing! I have been getting more involved with the worship team and had to audition in order to make the cut. I was extremely nervous and stressed. One of my first services, I led worship in Romanian. I swear I was having an anxiety attack over it, having so many insecurities before the service. But the Holy Spirit took over and once I got on the stage, I felt overwhelmed by His presence and it overtook me. God is always there for us even when we feel so inadequate. All He wants is a willing heart.
There are days when I feel so homesick and nostalgic, thinking of all the great memories from back in the Midwest. I’m always thinking of my Grandma, who passed away a month before we had to leave. She was one of my best friends and was always there for me. I miss my parents and their constant support in my life. They are such an encouragement to us and our ministry. I miss my brother and sister-in-law, my sweet nephew. I miss my incredible friends! I miss so many people and so many comforts of “home”. But through it all I have been realizing what really matters in life.
Our home isn’t here on earth, our home is in heaven. We need to keep our eyes on high with a vertical mindset. Things of this world seem like such a big deal to us, we get full of ourselves and our “needs” that we neglect to think of our eternal place in heaven. What is the point to living on this earth? Really? Is it to gain all of the good things this world has to offer? Is it to get a good job and be successful? Is our main goal to live a comfortable life or to find the “perfect one” for us that will make all of our dreams come true? Come on people! Life is about reaching the lost. Life is about extending the Kingdom of God. Some people, like us have gone across the world to do that, but that’s not how everyone’s story will be. You can do this at your workplace, your local coffee shop, or the market. We need to wake up and see the dying world around us. Take a moment, look to the Lord and ask Him how He wants to use you, not what you want to do, but what He wants. His dreams for us go far beyond what we ever thought could be possible.
God’s love for us is so wide and great, that it is hard for us to comprehend. Take a moment and think of His goodness and faithfulness.
We have officially started our work at Harvest. It has been an amazing and very busy first week. When we arrived last Monday evening, we were greeted by the team we will be working with in ministry. They came with flowers and groceries for us and all I could do was cry. It was such a humbling and overwhelming feeling to know that God brought us to this church, to work with these amazing people.
We have been introduced to so many people, that I am just hoping to keep everyone’s name straight. We have met with the staff, pastors, elders, our small group, young adult team, middle school team and so many more. This last weekend we had the opportunity to attend “Open Door” that Harvest presents to people who are interested in planting a Harvest Church. The sessions were informative and full of amazing testimonies of how God has been working through this church.
Liviu has been doing great with entering into his new role as the Young Adult Pastor. He has a lot to do and a lot to catch up on, but he is excited to get started. This Friday will be the first meeting for all of the youth (middle school, high school & young adults).
Our daughter, Abella, has also been adjusting really well to the change. Her sleep schedule is finally starting to get back on track. She is still reaching out and making friends with everyone she meets. She brings a smile to everyone’s face.
I have been praying that God shows me what ways I can serve here at church besides doing what is expected of me. I don’t want to force anything to happen, I want God to show me what He wants. It has been pretty easy adjusting so far but I think Abella helps out a lot, with keeping me so busy. I do not have time to think about how I am going through culture shock. When she is sleeping and it is still, that is when it hits me. I am going to call this place home. I need to make it feel like home. I miss the familiarity of my home back in the States but soon enough Romania will feel familiar to me. All good things take time and I need to constantly keep that in mind.
The crazy thing about all of this, is that I get the feeling this is only the beginning.
Our dream has finally come true. We are in Romania! If you know Liviu and I, you know this has been a dream God put on our hearts years ago, to do ministry here in this beautiful country. We are so excited for what the future has to hold.
At the same time, this is when Satan tends to attack the most even through people we love and respect. We have been put down and made to feel like this is a horrible decision and how could we do this to our daughter? The words people have spoken to us and to others hurt and I being a mother take it hard when all I want is the best for my baby. But the thought that keeps coming to my mind is that I would rather be in God’s will than my friends will.
When I think of Abella in the ministry and being involved in missions, it honestly brings a big smile to my face. I know God has big plans for her and already she has brought a smile to everyone’s face that we meet. Her friendliness and sweet personality draw people in and they want to know more about this joy they see. All I can do is pray that God gives Liviu and I the wisdom to know how to raise her and how to show Christ to her.
I have come to realize that the comfort I love and hold dear in America is something that can be so crippling as a believer. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that living in a nice house or having a nice car is wrong but there is a chance that the material items we are so use to can be a distraction from God and our faith as a whole. The comforts of life can get in the way of the lost and hurting in this world all because we don’t want to leave our comfort zone.
As I was laying in bed at 3:47 AM, this passage of scripture came to my mind. It is one of those scriptures that haunts me and reminds me where my perspective should be and it should not be on myself or what others think of me.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV
I am not trying to push this on anyone, just writing my thoughts and from my heart. We officially start on Tuesday and can’t wait for what is ahead!
This song has been going through my head ever since it came out. There are so many things going through my mind. So many things that I need to check off on my check list. Yet this song brings my heart and mind back into perspective. I will worship You, You will do the rest. Plain and simple. Yet it is hard for us to do this most of the time.
We have nineteen days until we leave for the journey of a lifetime. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared of the road that is ahead of us, but sometimes doing it afraid is the best place to be in. If God is for us who can be against us, right? There will be many obstacles that will come our way, naturally because when you do the work of God, that’s what happens. But if I am being really honest, I would have it no other way. The Lord has been leading us to this road for a long time. He has prepared our steps the entire way and I know that every detail in the end will work out for His glory. God is good and to have Him for us is incredible. Walk out in faith. It is so worth it.
It has been quite the changing of tides lately. So many changes happening, but we know in our hearts we are moving forward in the right direction.
Liviu and I resigned from our position as Youth Pastors from Romanian Baptist Church of Metropolitan Chicago in June and had our last Sunday there on July 2. It was not easy to say goodbye to the youth that we had been serving the past 4 ½ years but we knew that it was time to be released to focus on our mission to Romania. We will be focusing these next few months on traveling to churches and partners to talk more about our ministry and how to get involved.
We are currently still raising support to make our way to Romania by the end of September 2017. We only have a few short months left to make this happen. We are scheduled to be at a few churches the last couple weekends of July to talk about our ministry and how to partner with us financially. We have 30% of our funds raised so far and we are praying that the Lord continues to provide for all our needs before our deadline in September.
God has been showing Himself faithful in so many ways. We have had different confirmations along the way giving us peace that we are doing the right thing in moving to Romania. It is a big step of faith, but we would rather step out and do it afraid than to have never done anything at all.
In August, we plan on moving from Chicago, IL to Kenosha, WI until we leave for the mission field. We will be spending time with my (Chelsea’s) family as much as possible before leaving. We will be busy handling the details in moving, shipping packages to Romania, and having a moving sale.
We would love to meet with anyone who is interested in partnering with us in ministry. Please contact Chelsea or Liviu if you would like to meet for more information on what we will be doing in Romania and how to get involved.
Our family is embarking on a new adventure. We will be using this blog to post about the latest updates in our lives, to be an encouragement to others, and to express ourselves in the most vulnerable way possible. We are so excited for what God is doing in and through us even though it can be the most terrifying state to be in!
Let me start from the beginning. Last summer Liviu was approached by Harvest Bible Chapel in Arad, Romania to consider going there to be a youth pastor. We thought this was an amazing opportunity but wanted to make sure that this was something God wanted for us and not our own will. We prayed and fasted for about six months until we felt like we knew God’s answer. We took the step of faith and accepted to be Young Adult pastors and have been taking the proper steps to move forward.
We started looking into various missions organizations to see what would best fill our needs and wanted them to keep us financially accountable. We finally found one called International Ministerial Fellowship (IMF) that is just outside of Minneapolis. Everything about this organization has been wonderful and we are so thankful that we have been able to work with them. Liviu and I both are now licensed ministers through IMF and are also approved missionaries! This organization helps us take care of our finances by having our financial partners send money to them, give them tax write offs, and dispensing the money into our account so that we can be active missionaries.
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that asking for financial support is not my favorite thing to do and is very stretching for me. But the more and more I look at it, I realize that it is absolutely vital for our family to do this in order to be missionaries, especially in Romania. Now I know what some of you may be thinking… why should you have to pay money in order for us to minister in a different country? Well the answer to that is actually pretty simple, but first we need to understand the biblical foundation of missions and supporting missionaries.
- The example of Jesus (Luke 8:1-3) – Many people supported Jesus and His disciples
- The teaching of Jesus (Matthew 10:9-10) – A kingdom worker is worthy of support
- The example of Paul (Acts 18:4-5) – He stopped tent making to preach full time on support
- The teaching of Paul (1 Corinthians 9:1-18) – He had the right to be supported by the churches
So the simple answer is: it’s Biblical. I know it may be hard to understand from your perspective and my own as well, but God has called each and every one of us to extend His kingdom, whether that be the one that GOES or the one that GIVES. The main thing that I need to constantly remind myself is that God is the source of our funds not the donors. It has been a huge step of faith putting our financial future in God’s hands and to be honest there are times when fear takes over and I have no idea how everything will come together, but in the end I know that God will provide for our needs.
I would rather step out in faith than to have never stepped out at all.
This is only the beginning of our story. We plan to leave for Romania the end of September! We are still in the process of raising our financial support, getting passports, finding a home in Arad, etc. Please be praying for us and all of the details that need to be taken care of before we leave. If you feel like God is laying on your heart to help support us financially, please contact us and we will give you more details on how to do so. God bless!