JACKSON, Tenn. – April 8, 2005 – The Romanian children had never colored pictures before. That shocked Union University freshman Amelia Lewis.
“As soon as we told them they could keep the pictures they had colored, they ran up to grab theirs because they had never had anything like that before,” she said.
That was one of Lewis’ most vivid memories from the week she spent in Romania in late March. The Romanian trip was one of eight Global Outreach mission trips that took Union University students, faculty and staff members all over the world for spring break.
The Romania team members loaded the Union University vans on March 19 with many fears, but with the assurance of God with them. A majority of the students had never been overseas, and there was much anxiety.
“I prepared for the trip through a lot of prayer,” Lewis said. “I expected it to be a time where the Lord showed me how he works in other countries.”
After arriving in Bucharest, Romania, the team traveled by bus for three hours to the city of Braila, their home base for the week. Each day presented new challenges as the mission team was driven to a new village to make house visits with the people of Romania. While many hoped to be able to bring the Romanian people to Christ, others understood God was in control.
Freshman Cameron Armstrong knew it was important to plant seeds for God to harvest, but it was not his job to save the people of Romania.
“People think a missionary is supposed to take Jesus into the world when the truth is that he is already there and at work,” Armstrong said. “We really didn’t have anything to offer them except for Christ.”
Learning new things about the people of Romania on a daily basis, the team quickly understood the majority of the people had grown up in the Romanian Orthodox church. Many of the team encountered resistance because of the set ways and fears of the Romanian people.
Armstrong said he was humbled by the needs of the people in Romania, but quickly realized it was Americans who have the most needs. Although the people there own very little, Armstrong realized many have more than they could ever want with their passion for Christ.
“It’s so amazing how content the people are there because although they have nothing, they have Jesus,” Armstrong said. “It was amazing to me that because some of them have Jesus Christ, they are so motivated to share the gospel with others.”
Lewis said although it would have been physically impossible for the team to meet the needs of the Romanian people, the one hope she could give them was Christ. Even still, Lewis said it is hard for the Romanians to look past the hopelessness that follows them. She said although God has laid his hands upon the world, Satan is working just as hard.
“That compels me and it should compel others to spread the word of Christ,” Lewis said. “The whole point of missions is so that others can worship God, so we should go in hopes that others will worship the Lord along with us.”
By Justin Belsly ('06)