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

Te[am] Iubesc: We’re all still processing…

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2011, Bolingbrook, IL.

I must have sat down to write this post at least twenty times this summer, and each time I’ve ended up staring at a blank screen or a blank page for at least twenty minutes before giving up…

I just keep thinking, “what is there that I could possibly say that could ever adequately describe and satisfactorily conclude a trip that, for so many of us, changed everything?”  I am convinced that not even the most talented wordsmith around (let alone me) would be able to write something beautiful enough, deep enough, or complex enough to communicate the impact Tinca has had on the lives of Te[am] Iubesc’s members.  And yet…

We have been home for nine weeks now; we’ve gone through the hundreds of pictures dozens of times; we’ve told stories to anyone and everyone who’s been kind enough to listen; and we’ve thought about and prayed for Rachel, Dave, Michelle, Urb, Abel, Samuel, David, Naomi, Alex, Simona, Calina, Maria, Florica, and Mariana each and every day.  We’ve been home for nine whole weeks, and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all still a bit heartbroken.  I know am.

I’m heartbroken that I’m not currently spending my days digging holes and raking rocks and chopping wood and building showers and twirling kids and dancing with toddlers and holding babies in the sunshine and pushing kids on the swing as they shout “mai tare!” and learning firsthand from the amazing missionaries at the Isaiah Center.











I am still heartbroken, and I have a feeling I always will be.  And that’s OK.

You see, I left a part of my heart in Tinca… I couldn’t bring Abel and Samuel home with me; I couldn’t promise Iza that I would definitely see her again; I couldn’t stay and protect Davina from her bubble-stealing peers in the gypsy village forever… on May 29th, I had to leave Romania and begin my journey home along with the rest of my team.  (At one point, Dave “the Man” Truss joked about ‘misplacing’ our passports so that we could stay a little longer; he was kidding, but I am not ashamed to say that I seriously thought about it.)


I learned so much about myself, and about God in the two weeks I was abroad.  I learned that I, too, am indeed an incredibly selfish human being capable of thinking entirely of myself even when surrounded by the glory of the Lord.  I learned that as hard as it is to put on an attitude of humility here in the states, it’s even harder to not judge the young woman who removes her shoe and hits her child over the head with it just because he wouldn’t leave her alone.  I learned that kids are kids no matter where they come from or how they were raised: little boys like bugs and dirt and little girls like twirling and painting nails.  I learned that I can in fact sleep in the same bed I just saw a bug crawl out of, much in the same way that I can get used to the smell of trash and human waste.  I learned that I do not like eating sausage for breakfast, especially cold liver sausage; no thank you.  I learned that language is not nearly the barrier to clear communication that it’s cracked up to be.

I came to understand more fully that true love is a commitment that has nearly nothing to do with emotion.  More importantly, it is not just a commitment to the person you’re loving, but to the Lord; one that says, “God, I love You, and I trust You, and that is why I am choosing to act this way towards this person.”  I came to understand more fully just how big our world is, and was subsequently confronted by the thought of just how big our God must be.  I came to understand more fully that people matter, regardless of who they are, what they’ve done, or how they treat you.  And, since I’ve been home, I’ve come to understand more fully what it means to be restless – I have been convicted to live out Christ’s love in an active, rather than a passive, way; I don’t want to sit and just love the people around me – those within arms reach – but I also want to get up and go out and love those who are hard to find, and even harder to hold on to.

I think I will always be a little heartbroken thanks to my time in Tinca, but the way I see it, heartbreak goes hand in hand with loving and serving the Lord.  When Jesus looks at His church here on earth and sees the hurt and the brokenness and the depth of sin, I imagine His magnificent heart breaks.  Therefore, if we, as Christ followers, are really called to live our lives in pursuit of a life that is more and more Christ-like – then our hearts must truly be broken for the things that break His.  I am, and forever will be, so thankful for my broken heart, just as I will be eternally grateful for my time spent in Tinca.


To Te[am] Iubesc: Ben, Conner, Emily, Heather, Val, Kelly, Jonathan, Sarah, JP, J.D., Robbie, Justin, Steph, Alina, and Tyler, I love you all so much!  I am so blessed to know each and every one of you, and I am so thankful to have shared this with you.

To all of our supporters: You were just as much a part of this trip as we were!  You, be it through prayer or donation, joined us in being Christ’s hands and feet, and loving on people in desperate need of hope.  We love you all!

Update: Upon leaving Romania, we were able to give Rachel and her team about $8,000 (see, told you our supporters were a HUGE part of our trip!!), which was used to place a down payment on a new, large, piece of property where Rachel plans to drastically expand her ministry!  Once stateside again, Ben sifted through our receipts, and the team collected a few more donations, and, together, were able to send even more mula to Tinca!  Since then, thanks to God’s divine love, power, and grace, Rachel has been able to purchase the new property outright!!  That means that, in addition to the current Isaiah Center, she now owns a house large enough to accommodate teams our size and even a bit bigger, and the land on which to build a brand new Isaiah Center where she can take care of even more kiddos!  AND, the current Isaiah Center can now eventually be transformed into a community center where young adults can go to learn productive vocational skills and further chip away at the cycle of abuse and oppression within the gypsy community!  Rachel is truly a visionary, and it is obvious that God is not done with her, her ministry, or the Roma of Tinca!  He has not, and will not forget or abandon His children!

Much love,



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