Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A Change in Me
When I left for Romania I had a clear plan for the path ahead of me. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I needed to get there. I never would have thought the Lord had something completely different for me, and I needed Romania and its people to finally figure that out. I not only grew in knowledge but more importantly I was able to love more than I have ever loved in my entire life. I never was able to recognize that change while I was there, but now being home I can see that there has been a change in me.
The night before I left for Romania, I had never cried harder. I was afraid. I was confused. I didn’t think I was strong enough for what I was about to do. Then having to walk away from it all, leaving everything I loved and cherished at home, I almost died inside. I remember walking up to these girls that I didn’t even know and just crying. I was terrified but I knew that for some reason the Lord wanted me in Romania. I just wasn’t ready to accept that yet.
When we arrived in Iasi, Romania, I was in sort of a haze. None of it really set in for me that I was actually in Romania, what seemed like light years away from those I loved. I sort of just blocked it out of my mind until I noticed everyone was not speaking English. For some reason, leaving home was behind me the moment I stepped on Romanian soil. I was okay. I knew I could do this but I knew I needed the Lord’s help. I was happy and excited to be in a new and exciting place. I remember the first time I started to get homesick and upset. We had been in the country about three weeks and we had still not been able to start working yet. I grew anxious and sad. I felt useless. I wanted to be doing what I had come to Romania to do. I was tired of sitting around. The Lord wanted me in Romania to do a work and I was tired of not doing it. Then about a week later we had the opportunity to start working at the hospital. Every ounce of bitterness and regret left me as soon as little Ozmond in the hospital yelled out and ran to me the moment he saw me, yelling, “Mommy, Mommy.”I will never forget that moment. As the tears ran down my face while I was holding him, I thanked the Lord for His tender mercies. I was finally able to “forget myself and go to work.”
That initial high carried me the rest of the trip. Sure after this experience I had some definite lows, but through them I was able to recognize the good I was doing and how much I needed, for myself, to be there. My lowest of lows was when I was sick while in Romania. For weeks I had been waking up with more and more bites all over my body. I had counted over eighty bites on my body at one time, and those were just the ones I could see. I was emotionally drained and I could not stand anything to touch my body. Not only did I have these bites but I was also extremely sick. I had not been able to eat for days and I had lost seven pounds. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me and not the other girls. I needed help and nothing seemed to make me feel better. I had to turn to my Heavenly Father for help. That night the Elders came over to give me a blessing. As Elder Loveland was speaking for the Lord, I could feel the love He had for me and I knew everything would be okay. I was confident in the words that were spoken. I didn’t immediately get better but I knew deep down in my heart that everything was going to be okay and that the Lord was aware of me and my condition. That knowledge led me though computer crashes, homesickness, and my endless battle with Ioana against Satan for her to find herself worth. But through those events I always was able to look back and remember the words Elder Loveland had spoken for the Lord and I knew that I could conquer all.
I have never been more distraught and unhappy as I have been while I was in Romania but that is nothing compared to the happiness and love I felt while I was there. My time in Romania was filled with tender mercies from the Lord that He poured upon me. One of my favorite moments when I was at the orphanage was working with Izabella. I had been working with her for weeks and I desperately wanted a reaction or some sort of change for her to notice me. I began to tickle her back and her face like I did everyday but this day was different. She started to giggle and laugh. Up to that point I had never seen a reaction of any kind in Iza but for some reason she found me incredibly funny that day. I played with her for over an hour the whole she was giggling and screaming. It was one of my favorite moments with her.
Another moment that I will never forget was one with Ioana. I had been through a rough rollercoaster ride with her and I had grown to love her so much. She had been so unhappy and far from the Spirit. She even came close to death in one case. She called me late one night to tell me that she had prayed and that she knew that the Lord loved her. I immediately started crying. She finally realized that she was worth it and that so many people cared about her. She was finally happy. She finally understood what I had been telling her the past three months and why I had always said that I loved her. She never knew why. Now finally she had the breakthrough. She knew that I loved her because the Lord loved her first.
One of the most sacred moments that I had while in Romania was at our final group meeting. It was such a special moment for us to reflect and ponder on all of our experiences. It was a moment for each of us individually to be able to thank the Lord aloud for all He blessed us with. The Spirit was so incredible. It was a moment of understanding. The Lord blessed me with these ‘moments of understanding’ the entire time I was in Romania. They came in glances, in hugs, in kisses, in goodbyes, and in letters. They helped me survive. They helped me with being able to leave and know that I did something good. These moments of understanding are what helped me survive while in Romania but their memory now is what helps me breathe everyday. When I had to leave I think I left a piece of me there too. I am not sure I will ever get it back. I think it was something that I needed to lose in order to find myself. Romania has become a part of me, a part that I never had until I went. I had never before quite understood my life or what the Lord had in store for me. I still don’t but I know now that it is okay.
That I know I can trust in the Lord, I need not fear, and that He shall set me free. A true transformation has taken place. Some would say a change of heart, but I think it was “A Change in Me.”
“A Change In Me”
Artist - Beauty and the Beast soundtrack
Album - Beauty and the Beast
Lyrics - A Change In Me
There's been a change in me
A kind of moving on
Though what I used to be
I still depend on
For now I realize
That good can come from bad
That may not make me wise
But oh it makes me glad
And I-- I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams
But I don't mind
For now I love the world I see
No change of heart a change in me
For in my dark despair
I slowly understood
My perfect world out there
Had disappeared for good
But in it's place I feel
A truer life begin
And it's so good and real
It must come from within
And I-- I never thought I'd leave behind
My childhood dreams but I don't mind
I'm where and who I want to be
No change of heart
A change in me
Sunday, November 11, 2007
November 10. 2007
It felt really good to be back to my home away from home. It was a little hard to go back to the trash and the murky feeling that hangs over Iasi. But I was still happy to be home. We definitely took most of the day to recoup. Sniff it was so nice to be home.
I decided that i wanted to go to Saturday sports with the branch. It was crazy. It stared to rain. So we ended up playing soccer in the rain. It was really fun but super tiring. I was exhausted but I am glad I went.
Since we missed Mihai's birthday we were going to take him to dinner. We forgot again that Saturdays are impossible to find somewhere to eat. Everything is always booked of weddings. We ended up going to the mall and eating in the food court.
November 9, 2007
We got up early this morning to go and visit Bran Castle and the fortress. It was so fun taking a tour and looked at all of the places. What was a little frustrating was that we got like a half hour to go through each place. So we were definitely rushed. I would have liked to spend more time but I guess you take what you can get.
After that I spent the rest of the day and the hotel watching movies. I had to rest my hips and it as really nice to relax. What is funny is that i thought the hostel was going to be completely stressful and horrid but it actually ended up being more relaxing than our hotel. Probably because we weren't as busy.
Our train left tonight at like 11 so I am super tired and it is not a sleeper car. This is going to be really fun:)
November 8, 2007
When we got to the hostel this morning I honestly thought it was a joke that we were staying here. It looked like the armpit of Romania. Honestly I was afraid to touch anything, it looked terrible. I think part of it was how grumpy and tired I was. But it was a little bad. When I woke up I felt much better about my surroundings. Yay!
After some much needed naps we took a short walk around the city and visited the Black church. Brasov is so beautiful it was one of the only cites in Romania to go almost completely untouched by Communism. It is right at the base of a n incredible mountain range just at the right time where all of the leaves are changing. It was so beautiful.
We went to this authentic Romanian restaurant for lunch. It was really good and fun to be able to go and eat different Romanian foods that we have not yet tried. We went back tot he hostel and hing out the rest of the day. It was so nice be able to just sit and relax.
November 7, 2007
Today was our last day in Hungary:( It was really sad to leave because Budapest is so beautiful and i loved the city so much. But that is okay! On to Brasov!!
For the last few hours before we got on the train we went to the House of Terror. Wow it was really neat. It is this building in Budapest that was the head quarters for the Hungarian Communist Party and the Hungarian Nazi's. It talked a lot about all of the terrible things that went on there. It was really creepy and authentic. It was a little hard to get into it thought because it was all in Hungarian but I still enjoyed it.
We left for the train station two hours early. Only to sit there for a long time and almost miss our train. Our tickets had the wrong information on them so we did not know where we were suppose to get on the train at. Luckily we made it!
However by this point in the trip my hips were killing me. We walked a minimum of 8 miles a day because our hotel was so far from the city center. I honestly could not walk, and lying down I just cried because they just ached. So once we got on the train I took some medicine and just lied there. It was a really long train ride. But I made it and I think I just need to walk as little as possible.
November 6, 2007
Today was our relaxing day. We went to the baths and walked around shopping.
Shopping was really fun. We wen tot this huge warehouse place that they have this giant market. It was really fun to go and interact with the locals and see all other things they buy and sell. Then we headed over to the hotel Gerret. It was so incredible. The building is huge and looks like a castle. The baths are sort of like swimming pools but really beautiful and indoors. The ceilings were at least three stories high and all mosaic tiles. It was so incredible and breath taking. We all got massages. Ha that was an experience. I will never have a European massage again, but I am glad I got the experience. He he he.
Now that I am home I am so unbelievably tired and this was suppose to be our relaxation day.....
November 5, 2007
Today was a beautiful Monday in Budapest. We spent the day walking around and visiting all of the sites. In the morning we decided to split up the group and visit different areas of interest in the city. Laura, Natasha, and Alie went to visit the Jewish Synagogue. Christina and I were planning on going to this really big beautiful museum but it ended up being closed. So we decided to walk around the city. It was really nice to be able to have a little time alone. It sort of do what we wanted and not be stressed or hurried. It was fun.
We then met up with the other girls and went to St. Stevens Basillica. It was absolutely beautiful. In it is St. Stevens hand. It was a little gross but that is okay. We then bought our tickets for the dinner cruise and decided to go home and get ready.
We hurried and got ready and decided to take the metro to the Fisherman's Warf before the dinner. However things went a little haywire. It stared pouring rain and we never were able to get on the metro because of how crowded it was. It took us two hours to walk in the rain to the dinner cruise. We were soaked, it was really fun though. Laura got the bus splash, it was hilarious she was drenched head to toe.
We finally got to the dinner cruise. It was beautiful. The dinner was authentic Hungarian and so good. It was so nice cruising along the Danube and eating a wonderful dinner. It was so relaxing and romantic. Too bad i had no one to be romantic with....maybe someday soon:)
We then went back to the hotel, I am so exhausted. I am going to bed!