An ongoing story of God's work on campus: God is real, Jesus saves, and you are loved, always.

Te[am] Iubesc: PART ONE & TWO

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 Tinca, Romania 11:30pm

PART ONE: RECAP and Jungle adventure

I’m not really sure where to begin…so here we go! We’ve been here in Tinca for 7 days and have gotten a tremendous amount of work done. Today we’re finishing up (roofing) the wood shed, totally reconstructed the garden fence, put together patio benches, finished assembling a swing set (no more fighting for swings! woohoo!!) conquered the wooded jungle to paint silly trees so silly ants wouldn’t eat them up (more on that in a minute) and filled a couple hundred water balloons.

The jungle: So here in Romania they paint the trunk of the tree with this white acidic paint to keep ants and bugs from eating away the tree (makes sense, seems like a great idea…and it is). The only problem is getting to the trees. Ya see, I was assigned the task and recruited Alina(the first time around) and Val(for round two) to help to paint these suckers. I thought it’d be easy enough to slab some weird cottage cheese looking paint a couple(more like 25) trees…Little did we know these trees rested snuggly amongst some of the biggest and scratchiest weeds I have ever encountered. The weedy boogers came up to my face and if either of us fell down and died…well, we weren’t really sure if our bodies would be found again. When we went to the very back of the property we saw the leafy beasts. So with the awkwardly small trashcan of pesticide-paint and a garden hoe I fashioned to act as a machete; we trucked our way up the hill to where the naked trees awaited us. Ripping through the weeds with the handle of the hoe I felt like Moses parting the red sea (me folding over the green sea of jungle weeds) to free the Israelites (trees) from the harmful Egyptians (tree eating ants).  It may sound silly, but we needed all the strength we could muster for this gig. Needless to say we survived the jungle and painted all the trees. We learned that shorts are a HORRIBLE idea and that charging recklessly through was the most effective way to create a path, yet the most painful. All in all, we’re rocked it and proved victorious.

PART TWO: Underdog

I’ve always been one for the underdog in life, and I feel confident saying that most of you reading this blog are probably in the same boat as me…why else do we love movies like Little Miss Sunshine, Good Will Hunting,…or every single sports movie ever made (Remember the Titans, Rudy, Rocky, Blind Side, Miracle…just to name a few). We have this sympathy, this heartache for the characters that have it the hardest and realistically no real hope at exceeding or even succeeding in their life.

Today I was introduced to a new underdog: Loomy. (I’m not really sure how to spell her name, but I doubt she’s all that sure either to tell you the truth). Her skin is one of the darkest in her village. In America we would be totally cool with being dark and probably really excited if we were darker than our friends and brag about tan or whatever. Yet here, in the Gypsy village it’s all-apart of the village hierarchy and being the darkest kid in the group is never, ever a good thing. Val and I were attempting to play a silly lighthearted circle game with the girls and had them all grab hands, but none of the girls would touch her. I tried to help by putting the others girls’ hand’s around Loomy’s to show them what to do, but they would let go, or move away from her to the other side of the circle. And it kept happening over and over again…and I started to get really fired up about this and upset for her. This was in no way fair, everyone else was accepted into the game but her…So obviously we had to put her in the most valued spot in the circle….holding hands with BOTH Val and myself. For the rest of the day Loomy and I clung to each other. Two other girls had been hanging on me the past day and today, but I wanted to make sure Loomy knew she was just as good as them, and she was loved. A few times she got lost in the shuffle and let go of me. Once I realized she was gone, I went to find her, calling out her name. It only took a couple seconds for her to come running to me, greeting me with one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve honestly ever seen in my life. I cared enough to go after her. I included her and made her a crucial role in all our games because this is was she deserved and because she was the underdog. I wanted to fight for her because she couldn’t. I wanted the other girls to see the beauty I saw in her, and the beauty God saw in her. This is how God feels about us. He comes after us, he fights for us, and he sees our beauty when we or others don’t. Tomorrow will be our last day at the village for VBS, and after that I may never see Loomy again…but I’ll pray for her and for her future. I’ll pray she learns that’s she just as good, if not better than the other girls. Ill pray that she becomes another one of those underdog stories and she learns God loves her, and I love her from a half a world away.

-Sarah

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