On the 11th of July, Alex and I went to a camp for a few days - Alex as a helper. The place is run by American missionary friends. They had invited us to help with VBS and camps last year, so this year we were excited for the experience.
We held our own first camp at the same place at the end of July for the children from the Jina church. We had 11 kids from Jina, one girl from another village, as well as Alex and me. The camp was only three days, yet none of the Jina children had ever been away from home that long before, and none had gone to camp prior to this experience. We played, sang and learned. Our family got to the camp the evening before to organize, and the next morning the kids came, together with a few adult helpers: three other missionaries from the area, and the mother of two of the kids from Jina. During those three days, we had English and music lessons, teaching sessions on the fruit of the Spirit, games, and ultimate fun. (pics)
We live on a hill. The ground is held in place by the trees that grow there, but to build our house we had to cut down some of them last year. So the hill lost some of the stability the roots of those trees had provided. In order to make sure the hill wouldn’t collapse on our house, we had to build a retaining wall, so we had an excavator come and dig in the back of our house both to prepare the yard for some pavement (we'd been dealing with a lot of dirt before) and to get a ditch ready to pour the foundation for the retaining wall. But after the ground was flattened, cracks formed in the hill above; when the ditch for the foundation started being dug, the hill slid downward, closing the ditch, with huge pieces of dirt falling especially on one side where the excavator had just dug out. Inside the house we felt the ground shaking. Mom wouldn’t let us go near the place, for fear that the earth would suddenly swallow us. Again the excavator dug, and again the earth collapsed into the hole. They had to take dirt from farther up the hill to provide a big enough slope to ensure that the dirt wouldn’t fall in again. Eventually we got the retaining wall in place, even if a bit closer to the house than we had intended...
This struck us all with a sense of awe: not of the hill, but of its Creator. God controls not only this, but every hill, valley, and mountain. He made and controls every single molecule in them. And yet He cares about someone so simple as me.
A week ago I got my ID card. I went to take my picture for it in July, before my birthday, but the office was closed to the public until the middle of August. They took my picture and made my “buletin”. Everyone who is 14 and up in Romania is supposed to have this picture ID card, because that’s the age that you can first go around by yourself. When I was going out, a lady grabbed my arm and told me, “You have your ID card. You are an adult now.” I guess that’s what they want us to think, but it’s really so people can identify me if I die!
Trans ... something, something
For Alex's birthday, we went on a road through the mountains. It took 7-8 hours, because we stopped to take pictures at certain points along the way. There are two different roads around us that you can drive on through the Carpathian Mountains: Transalpina and Transfăgărășan.
We went on part of Transfăgărășan a few weeks before this trip, but the views weren't as breathtaking. Actually, the thing I remember most about it was seeing tons of creatively decorated cars in a group driving from Western Europe all the way to Mongolia, so we happened to be on the route they took crossing Romania and going East. One of the cars had a boat strapped to its roof, with a guy sitting in it!
Transalpina yielded some awesome sights. For the first section, we drove slowly upwards and passed two huge dams. At last, we were on the tops of the mountains we'd seen from a distance. We stopped every now and then at rest stops to take pictures. And when I say "rest stops", don't imagine something like a gas station with a bathroom. No, these rest stops are clearings on mountain ridges where people set up large stalls to sell things! Some sell food, like cheese or pastries, and some sell souvenirs made in Romania such as hats, rugs, and decorations. The journey through Transalpina took us through at least 4 districts (Romania has about 40 districts / larger counties).
In my last post, I described school like this: "School is great, because it's over." I would rephrase that now as "School is great, because it started again." And that's where I am...