This summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel with Pastor Love and the youth group to Romania. It was a miracle that I got to go because I had no money and no way to get it, but through lots of prayer and donations, God provided what I needed. As with any trip, there are always some quirky and amazing things that just happen.
Tingling with Excitement
At Dulles International Airport on July 26th, we were all tingling with excitement to finally get over to Romania. We boarded the plane, put our carry-on luggage away, took our seats that were clustered together, and waited to start taxiing. And after almost an hour we were still waiting. I peered behind and noticed an open door and the crew loading food onto the plane. Finally, the plane took off. We landed late in Munich, our connecting airport. Since we only had a 1 hour and 10 minute layover to start with, we ended up having a 10 minute layover. As soon as we landed, we jumped off the plane and ran to our gate with seconds to spare. Our second flight was mostly uneventful except for the fact that the plane began to taxi as we were still standing.
Upon arrival in Bucharest, our first stop in Romania, we headed off the plane to the baggage belt to gather our luggage and meet our contact that was to take us to our hotel. The only problem was that our luggage wasn’t there. Exhausted and barely awake, at the baggage claim office we arranged for our baggage to get on the next flight from Munich and to be transferred to our hotel. We would receive our luggage at around 3 am the next morning.
This hectic trip cross the pond was just another testimony to how God can bring us through situations we never expected. I am so grateful that our trip started off like this. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A Hearty Welcome
We were welcomed with open arms by Greater Grace Bucharest and immersed into Romanian culture. The church is small with an attendance of about 15 people. What this church lacks in size, they make up in heart. They are one of the most amazing group of people I’ve met. They literally served us day and night. They always had someone there to help us navigate the city and give us advice on where to eat, exchange money, etc.
One of my favorite parts of our stay in Bucharest and the whole trip was our first full day there. That night in a park, some of us played basket ball with a group of local teenage boys. At the end of the game Pastor Love held a short prayer asking if anyone wanted to accept Christ as their Savior. There must have been 7 or 8 boys that accepted Christ. It was truly amazing and it’s a thing that I will never forget.
Share the Gospel
We ended up coming back to that same park for three more nights. Every night we saw many of the original boys. Along with the basketball outreach, others talked with people around the court. One night, I had a very interesting conversation with a young Romanian Orthodox woman. We exchanged beliefs on Christianity and God. Before I had a chance to really ask her about salvation we had to leave. If I had to guess, I would say she was saved but I will never know. All I can do is pray that she made that prayer and became a Christian. God only knows. This conversation will really stick with me because I learned that we should never hold back from sharing the gospel.
After four amazing days in Bucharest, on July 31st, we packed our bags and boarded a train to Brasov which is a smaller city in Transylvania. We spent one day there and in that one day I fell in love with the town, the culture, the people, the church, and the fellowship with the Body. We met new friends and an amazing church about four times bigger than the one in Bucharest. I felt the Holy Spirit in the church. People there are so amazing and on fire for God.
After church service that Sunday we headed to a gyro restaurant and then to a pavilion at the top of a hill where we had a rap. Then, we went to our accommodations for the night and prepared for our journey to the summer camp the following day.
In order to get to the camp in Vlahita, a small Hungarian dominated village located in northwest Transylvania, we had to take a two and a half hour train ride to a city, followed by a thirty minute bus ride.
The camp was an amazing experience. We were greeted warmly and shown much kindness every day by the Romanians. We heard anointed messages by Pastors John Love and John Boyce. One of the highlights was baptism. It was truly amazing to see so many people who love God so much.
On the last night we had a huge 3 story bonfire capped off with worship songs and camp fire tunes.
We drove 5 hours in a private van from the camp to Bucharest, the capital. That ride was very “interesting” with no air conditioning. We finally arrived at our accommodation for the last night. The next morning we woke up at 5:30 AM and headed to the airport. We boarded a short flight to Vienna for our connection. After a quick layover, we boarded a ten hour flight back to Washington-Dulles.
Reflections on the plane
As we were on the long flight coming back I was reflecting on how amazing this trip was and how it really affected me. I’m so blessed for everyone who was so kind to support me and helped me to go. I prayed to God when I first found out about the trip and said, “If you want me to go, provide the money.” And I guess He wanted me to go so He provided the money.
Upon arrival in Washington we headed to the Customs to re-enter the United States and to baggage claim to collect our belongings. After that went to international arrivals where our families were waiting for us.
Want to go?
This year I have had the amazing opportunity to travel to Europe twice. I went to Budapest, Hungary for Eurocon, in March, and Romania this summer. I was so blessed to able to raise the money for these trips, but I didn’t do it alone. God provided everything I needed. What I want to say to any young person wanting to go to Eurocon or Summer Harvest next year, is that if you want to go, go. God will provide. Don’t stop believing and praying that God will get you there. If He wants you to go, you’ll go! You’ll get there!
Make a difference
I just wanted to share this verse in Mark 16:15- “He said to them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to all creation.”
I really love this verse because it says that everyone can go and spread the Word of God. You don’t have to be a pastor, you as a teen or as a young person can go and make a difference.
A Word from Auston
I had the chance to be with Auston in Romania and when he found out I was writing this article, he asked me to share something he said about the trip.
“Going to Romania was such an amazing experience. It was truly life changing. It really helped me get closer to God and establish my personal relationship with Him.” -Auston Pellegrino
I have now set my eyes on Eurocon and I’m starting to raise money. Please pray for me that I will be able to go. God bless!
by Ryan Green, GGCA Student