The back story - Tami is 100% Romanian, but her family heritage and our music ministry had never found a point of intersection until recent months. We were invited to sing at Romanian churches in North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona and Florida! And because of the Lord’s amazing orchestration of incredible events, we spent the entire month of May 2019 ministering in the country of Romania!
A note from Tami...
It's hard to believe that a little over a month has gone by since our family returned home from our trip to Romania. To be honest, it took almost a week to recover from jet lag. For the first few days, we all were wide awake at 4 AM, staring at each other bug-eyed, ready to start the day! YIKES! We are so thankful that those days are behind us!
It's taken the last few weeks to really process all that took place while we were in Romania. Erin and I kept journals, and I am so grateful that we did, because there are still moments when I think to myself, "Did all of this really happen?"
I've tried hard to think of a way to best present this trip to you without writing something as long as War and Peace! I've decided to break things down into 4 categories: the services, the people, the country and the relationships.
When we boarded our plane in Chicago on May the 1st, we had 9 concerts on the schedule for the month. But by the end of our trip, we sang a total of 19 concerts! And we even had to turn down a few more, simply for lack of time! Every service was unique, and brought with it something memorable. (Again, thank goodness for those handy, dandy journals, and of course-Erin's amazing photos!) From big city congregations, to village churches, to a gypsy gathering clear across the country almost to Moldova, to an orphanage, to chapel services at a Christian high school, to a youth event that was standing room only, to a tiny mountain community where we literally sang until the cows came home.....the Lord's presence was so powerfully experienced in every concert. In spite of the language barrier, after the translator would express to the people the general idea of each song, we would sing, and the people would begin to smile or clap or cry unashamedly. It was amazing to watch as the music would bridge every gap (culture, age and language) time and time again. Men and women alike would hold onto us, kiss us and thank us for coming...and beg us to come back! Pastors expressed their gratitude to us for bringing a revival of joy to their congregations. These services filled our hearts with a holy awe and brought a humble gratitude for the privilege of being able to share our ministry with these dear people!
Being Romanian myself, I realize I am TOTALLY biased in saying that my people are beautiful! But it's the truth! From the moment we landed at the airport in Timisoara, I felt like I was home. The deep brown eyes, the olive skin tone, the dark hair and the distinctive facial sculpting, all contribute to the unique look that is simply Romanian! From the littlest of children to the most elderly, and everyone in between, we were captivated by the people of this country. Especially in the settings where we sang, they were so welcoming and receptive to our words and music. It was a mere 30 years ago that Communism loosened its hold on Romania, and many of these dear folks remember so vividly the pain caused by separation from family members who stood boldly for Christ and were tortured, persecuted and imprisoned. At times during our services, we could see the hurt and pain that have tried to take up residence on their countenances and steal their joy. But there was a twinkle in their eyes too, and a far away look at times, wistfully beckoning their spirits to embrace freedom in worship. We continue to pray that God would send a spiritual renewal and revival to this land.
Simply put-I did not realize that Romania was such a beautiful country! But we have the pictures and the memories to prove it! Against advice to hire a driver (driving in Romania can be quite hazardous....but we will save those stories for another time), we instead rented a little stick shift Dacia, and with Rich at the wheel, drove hundreds and hundreds of miles all over Romania. It was downright dangerous at times, but this gave us a chance to visit places and see things we never dreamed of seeing! Cobblestone streets of towns built centuries ago, breathtakingly beautiful city piazzas, castles and citadels and always the awe-inspiring Carpathian Mountains all around us....many times we chose not to speak but to instead, in awe and wonder, allow the tears to roll down our cheeks. The magnificence of this land must truly be experienced in person.
We had no idea that we would form such lasting friendships during our month-long visit. Many of our concerts were booked by some wonderful guys in a gospel group from Vladimirescu known as The Message, and we were privileged to sing with them for 9 of our services. You get to know people when you spend so much time together, traveling and setting up and ministering with each other. They were genuine in their love for the Lord, and their servant hearts shone thru every time they sang. God knit our hearts together with them and some of their extended family as well, and needless to say, our goodbyes were a teary mess! We made other friendships as well with pastors and lay people, and because of social media, we are doing our best to stay in touch and pray for these wonderful people that are like family to us now.
This update is probably longer than some of you have time to read, but not nearly long enough to express all that God accomplished...not just through us but IN us! We quickly throw around the words 'life changing' these days, but each of us came home very changed people indeed. We left a part of ourselves in that little country with a population of just a little under 20 million, and we would be lying if we didn't admit that there is a big hole in our hearts, and a deep desire to return. The door is certainly open with many invitations to come back. Many of you reading this letter played a role in enabling us to make this trip, and we could fill volumes trying to adequately say thank you for your giving, your support and your prayers. Would you continue to pray with us that if the Lord wants our family to travel back to Romania, that He will make that plain to us, and that the timing and finances and details would come together in a God-ordained manner?
Thank you for your love, expressed in such a tangible way. As I stood in my Grandma Morar's hometown of Capusu-Mic, I couldn't help but wonder if she was looking down from heaven and watching her granddaughter standing on the streets where she once walked and played. This Romanian girl and her family were given the opportunity of a life-time! Please know that the Lord will surely bless those of you who played a part, and that heaven has already recorded what your generosity has done to bring eternal change to someone's life in Romania.