On January 11th, 2020 I stepped onto a plane with only the knowledge of where it would land. I planned to spend the next four months in Moldova and Romania, hoping by the time I landed I would find a place to stay and a ministry or church to work with.
It was the Spring semester of my junior year in college. After three years of short-term summer missions trips to Moldova and studying Romanian for two years, my prayers had finally been answered. For three years I had been asking the Lord to provide an opportunity to spend more time in Moldova and Romania to study the language and minister to the people people, and He had answered, just not in any way I would have expected.
During the summer of 2019 the Lord placed a deep conviction in me to go on this long-hoped-for trip my spring semester in 2020. I had been guided by this kind of Spirit-conviction before. As circumstances for actually going in the spring continued to look bleak in the months prior, I clung to the conviction He gave me as well as the words several friends shared about this trip. Even when all the ministries I applied to work with in Moldova said they didn’t have anything opportunities that spring, even when the Moldovan staff for the ministry I worked with the last few summers couldn’t find me a place to stay, God was still working. I purchased plane tickets in August, once again at the Lord’s prompting, but they were for lucrative dates in my mind—January 11th through May 1st. I had no idea what I was going to do or where I would live those 112 days, and I couldn’t stay that long in Moldova anyway. A few weeks in Romania was added to the foggy itinerary.
I knew I was supposed to go—which was crazy, because normally I am a planner and I love handling the details and knowing all is in order! As I prayed about what to do, I felt the Lord telling me “I am your travel guide; I have the whole trip planned. Just get on that plane, sit back, and relax.”
To simplify a long and wonderful story, while on the flights to Moldova I found my host family and emailed them between flights there! The first month of my stay in Moldova was hard, as I spent the first week horribly sick and the rest of January learning how to rest in the Lord and not make life about accomplishing things. The second month the Lord guided me to a wonderful international church community, welcomed me into a Moldovan church and youth group community, and provided me with a ministry to serve. February was hard but beautiful, full of delighting in God’s miracle. Daily I woke up in my own room in a home with a wonderful host, served at a ministry by painting a mural in the morning and tutoring kids in the afternoon, and spending the evenings at various church events. There were many lonely, hard, and slow moments, but I was always completely aware that the Lord was with me—how could I not be, when I lived in a home I’d known nothing about until I was flying here?
Then came March, when we had decided would be best for me to go to Romania for a short bit and then return to Moldova so I didn’t overstay my 90 days in-country. On March 1st I arrived in Iași, Romania, and was welcomed into community. I had a host family, a church, and a ministry to work with the day I arrived, that I’d all known nothing about a few weeks prior. I found my host family the day before leaving.
The first two weeks of March were incredible; I served with CRU teaching English and explored the city with fellow college students, learning more Romanian language and culture. Then came the quarantine, and everything shut down. I was brokenhearted, because I had fallen in love with the people of Romania and suddenly found myself having to be closed up with my host family. I had become very hopeful for what my time in Romania could be like, and then it seemed like those hopes were shut down, because everything was shut down!
At that time, a friend from the international church in Moldova posted about starting a “Fear & Anxiety” Bible study for anyone around the world who wanted to join. I didn’t feel very afraid or anxious, just sad and lonely, but I figured some Bible study community would be the thing to solve that. I texted my friend, joined the WhatsApp group, and downloaded the Love God Greatly app to keep up with the devotions and daily readings.
Love God Greatly’s Bible study has been one of the greatest blessings during this quarantine. The arrangement of verses was very helpful and the devotions thought-provoking and encouraging. It was so uplifting to read how God is ministering to women around the world, caring for each and every one of our individual needs and multiplying the power of His Word infinitely to feed the hungry souls of every human who comes to Him. It was so encouraging to read how God is at work in individual’s lives and in every country around the world. I love that Love God Greatly and the WhatsApp group both provided opportunities to see that! When we finished the “Fear & Anxiety” study, almost everyone was so sad to have ended it, that we started another Love God Greatly study, “Words Matter”! Through both studies I have learned and been encouraged so much, and I thank God that part of His “travel plans” for this trip included finding out about Love God Greatly!