This is the essay I wrote when I got home from Romania. I can't believe it has been over a year since I have been home. So much has happend, so much has changed. I turely beleive that Romania changed me. I miss it so terribly. I miss my kids and the love they had for me. I am so blessed that I got to experience my Romania. There will ALWAYS be a place in my heart for my Romania.
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