Okay, so it’s been a little over a month since I returned home from Mexico… and I am just now posting about the second half of my outreach. My sincere apologies to all of you, especially my supporters. The truth is, I have been putting it off, not because I don’t want to sit down and write, but because I still don’t want to accept that my DTS is over. As I told one of my friends the other day, I go through withdraws. I miss it so much, and writing about it makes me have to think about how it’s over, and I just can’t have that now can I?
But here I go, I’m going to brave it.
The Republic of Moldova, how different it is from any place I have ever been to. See, Moldova was under a communist government only nine years ago. Needless to say, the mindset of the country is still one of communism. As an American, I was so shocked to see the communist symbol on the streets. (It was election time) To us, that is a symbol of hatred, evil, and just plain bad news. However, to some of the people who have lived under that government their entire lives, who don’t know any thing different, that symbol is one of hope and order. You can actually physically see traces of communism in the streets too. The apartments are gray and they match all the other apartments in the city. The cars are of a few versions and are painted in dull, grayish colors. However, while there, I had the chance to go past that, and see a different side of the culture.
We were at a YWAM base in Cahul, Moldova. Cahul is the biggest city in the south of Moldova, and it is about 10 kilometers from the Romanian/Moldovan border. The base there is quite small, and has a small staff. We partnered with a Salvation Army there in the city where we worked with English classes, women’s groups, girls’ groups, and orphanages. Each day we met with one of the groups, or went out for a prayer walk or to meet YWAMers for another task. We lived in two different apartments within walking distance of each other, where we cooked for ourselves and made a temporary home for ourselves. (We even had our Thanksgiving meal there!) Two other girls lived in the apartment that I was in and I must say, they were pretty awesome to live with. 🙂
One of the most common things we did was work with neighborhood kids in their English class. For most of them, this was their first English class, so we were starting from scratch. Our first class was pretty awkward. They didn’t know us, we didn’t know them, they spoke Russian, and we spoke English. We were so different. However, one day after class, I went outside to leave, and they were outside playing in the snow. So obviously, I started a snowball fight. This turned into chaos as Meghan and I went up against six boys in a snowball fight. It ended with all of us on our backs in the icy street, laughing uncontrollably. After that, they became our friends. We struggled through the language barrier, and came out on the other side with new friendships.
On Thanksgiving Day, I was a little downhearted. I wanted to be in the states with my family, and so I was missing them. All I could do was embrace my circumstances though, so when one of us was to speak to the older women that day in women’s group, I thought I could speak about Thanksgiving. At women’s group, I told them the story of Thanksgiving, and the traditions that go with it in the states. They loved it. We talked about what we were thankful for, and chatted over tea and cookies. Afterwards, the women taught us how to knit. Now remember, all of this is in Russian and through a translator, but there was one translator and 5 women. It was difficult, but I learned how to knit in Russian. 🙂 Looking back, I wouldn’t trade that Thanksgiving for anything. I was able to spend time and love on some women who I may never see again in my life, and that is pretty rad if you ask me.
DTS is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I learned so much about myself, God, and the nations. It was an experience that will forever have an impact on my life, and I miss it everyday. I miss my classmates, I miss the base, and I miss the people I met all over the place. It was something that I am extremely grateful for and will never forget. God showed me so many new things during those months that I could never have figured out on my own. So, I just want to thank all of my supporters who made this happen. Everyone that bought a t-shirt, or supported me financially or through prayer. I don’t know what God has for me next, but right now I am in college studying Broadcast Journalism. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my DTS, and if I’m honest, I daily long to be back in Mexico, Romania, Moldova, or anywhere but my classroom. But I am reminded that I am where God wants me, and I have to understand that He is using me and moving in me now too.