“Do you never start the motor when you drive downhill?” I asked when we went down from the house in the mountains.
“No, this is the way I have done it for years,” he replied.
“I have a family at home waiting…would be nice if I could meet them, alive,” I thought.
Happily, we arrived safely, but it was a rocky ride for sure!
The theme for this week was about sowing seed, growing the Church.
Here are my seven highlights:
- In the late evening, when we were hunting for some food, we found a boy sitting on the sidewalk, we had met earlier that day. He was learning the Lord’s Prayer. His interest was so moving. We shared some food and conversation. Our team is great in these informal encounters. I was watching it in amazement.
- During the women’s high tea, we saw the happy faces of the women. They were so glad to have some female time, games, encouragement, and crafts. The theme was sowing and growing. On the last day, one of the women sent me this message: “Thank you so much for your presence here. We are so encouraged that you see us and show us an example of Christian life. We are challenged to follow Christ and grow in Him. May God bless you, and please do come back.”
- The place we stayed was quite interesting. It was a former refugee center, but because of lack of money, it did not have a lot of maintenance in the last twenty years. Still, we were very happy to stay there as we connected very well with the team what worked there. The first days, we blinked our eyes at the tap dripping the whole long night, the lack of curtains, the wet floor in the bathroom, and even the full bin left by the people who came before us. But, after a few days, we got kind of used to it and learned in creative ways: sleeping with a scarf to darken the curtainless room and covering my ears against the dripping tap. I learned to focus on what counts, and that was a good experience.
- I experienced student life again talking with my roommate Elvira until the wee hours at night about stuff that really matters in life. May God bless us as we continue our journeys.
- One little girl in the Roma village thanked Vedrana profusely. She was so very happy with the family Bible she got and promised to read her little brother a story every day.
- It was fantastic working together and going over a rocky road in this past week with a great multicultural Balkan team and visiting one of our team member’s old baka. (grandma) She giggled when her grandson gave her a deep massage. Her grandson pointed to a little stone house in the corner of the plot: “That’s where my grandfather was born, and there, my father.” Baka never leaves the hill. She smiles from ear to ear and is so happy with the table full of people. It’s not hard to love her smile! Just before we left, I played the recorder, and she clapped her hands in enjoyment.
- We got encouraged in church from Isaiah 55. I had been asked to share a testimony and I thought back and was amazed by the works of God in our lives. We can let go of the work of God’s hands.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
On the drive home, Gypsy rock and roll and hallelujahs are the background music. Music and dancing are deeply rooted in Roma culture. As I love our Roma friends more and more, I also love their precious culture more and more. All I can say is, it is quite unique!
We are very satisfied and oh so ready to see our loved ones at home. My family is waiting, and so is the laundry.
P.S. I made a whole set of lovely laundry line photos. I can’t wait to share them, but first, some real work here. I will post them when this job is finished: my laundry clean and dry on the shelves in the wardrobes.
Janneke, happy to be home.