It has taken about 8 weeks to get an update to you about our trip to Romania in April. To be vulnerable, it has been more difficult than previous trips to process what exactly we are feeling from our time overseas. Many seasoned missionaries will call this reverse culture shock. While this is not our first time to experience difficulty stepping back into the comfortable, material-driven mind set of the American lifestyle, I would argue that it has been more difficult to integrate in daily living than our previous trips overseas.
In 2015, when we returned from our 10 day trip to Nepal, we felt the Lord asking us to devote time each year to intentionally travel overseas to partner with missionaries who are advancing the gospel in other regions of the world. We knew that the transformation that takes place in our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit is invaluable and this needed to be a consistent occurrence. Just one year later, during my (Christian) time in Romania, God asked me to take a step of faith out of a season of comfortable corporate America and into the fulfilling, yet unpredictable season of full-time ministry. I admit, I was nervous & excited all at the same time. This was a questionable step to some, but God knew all along this would be the step He needed me to take to learn how sacrifice seems daring, but is truly complete in Him. In the few days after returning from Romania, we agreed that we need to explore more of what missions looks like for us & how He would use us in the kingdom. Through an act of God’s grace, we booked our tickets for my 2nd trip & Ethan’s 1st trip to Romania within 4 days of my initial return.
I traveled back to Romania on March 23rd to once again serve alongside my friends, Florin & Laura Mihaly (if you don’t know them, you should know them). I spent one week with the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) team from Cluj & gained more insight on how our church could make a long-term impact in this city and surrounding villages. This was an incredible privilege for me to experience more of the vision & work that is being done to include evangelism in the village, feeding & praying over the gypsy community in their homes, & speaking to a group of grade school kids about how reading can give you greater opportunity. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but includes some projects that were different than my first time in Cluj.
After my first week in Romania, one of the greatest things happened for me - the person I love met the team of people I love. Ethan, with a few of our close friends, arrived in Cluj to join me. While the second week was different in many ways from the first, God used that week as a time for us to contemplate where he is taking us in our ministry as a couple. While we couldn’t have possibly figured out everything in one short week, we know that God is reassuring us that He is faithful in every season to guide & direct our steps. We are believing he will continue to ignite the passion we feel in our hearts to continue living on mission with him.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” - Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
We firmly believe that living open-handedly is vital to living by faith & living by faith an attribute of a disciple of Christ. All of us are on a faith journey with the Lord, determined to find what our calling is in each season we walk through. May we all be encouraged that in every season, the Lord is near, whispering sweet truths to mold us into who He wants us to be.
“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” -Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
Christian & Ethan
If you have read this far, hopefully you have been encouraged by something written. We want to ask for your prayers.
- Continued wisdom & discernment on how to develop our ministry as a couple.
Prayer for an upcoming trip to Cluj. Christian will be traveling at the end of June/beginning of July, to teach on worship at the YWAM Discipleship Training School. This is a humbling opportunity and with it come nerves & excitement. Please pray specifically for peace & assurance that God is equipping Christian during her time of preparation.
God is doing an incredible work in Ethan’s heart. God is reminding him that he can trust in Him, because he alone is perfect & faithful. Please pray that as he & Christian walk by faith, they would be willing to sacrifice finances, time, & skills for His glory.
As part of her full-time ministry position at Awaken, Christian is helping organize two mission teams to serve in Cluj. There are currently 22 individuals planning to serve from December 3rd to the 19th, including Ethan, Michelle (Christian’s mom), & Lexi (Chinese student Ethan & Christian are currently hosting). All team members are beginning fundraising efforts. Please pray for provision of finances for all team members.
The need of financial support is always present. As stated above, living open handedly is a challenge we have taken on seriously for ourselves. We have increased our personal giving to our missions partners overseas & also have increased the frequency of our international mission trips. We’d really appreciate your help, if you feel led to donate.
If you'd like more detailed information about upcoming trips, please contact Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org