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“To Just Love…Is a Beautiful Thing” – A Reflection From Romania

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“In the middle of playing games with the children, a young girl runs over to Jordyn…and gave her a hug, a huge smile on her face the whole time. This one moment, which may not have seemed like much, was a very special moment.”

Posted: 8/20/15 at 8:45am. Article by Tim Lamm.

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Romania for a 10-day mission trip through the Kairos Mission Initiative of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV).

I was part of a team of 12 that represented different schools and churches from across the state. (The Kairos Mission Initiative, or KMI, is a branch of collegiate ministry that helps to train and equip young adults to live a life of mission.)

TIm with some new friends.
TIm with some new friends.

One of the main differences between this trip and other mission experiences that I have been a part of is that we did not go to Romania with a specific mission “project” planned out.

We did not go to start something new or something different; instead, we went with the intention to experience the culture and life of Romanians, as we served alongside Romanian Baptists in various existing ministries.

The trip began in Bucharest and continued as we served in Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca before returning to Bucharest. Throughout the course of our time in Romania, we got to serve and minister to everyone from young children in afterschool programs to the elderly shut-ins who could no longer make it to church.

We spent time helping in high school English classes and even attended a feast with the International King of the Gypsies/Roma. Each day was packed full of activities and experiences and no two days were the same.

This one moment, which may not have seemed like much, was a very special moment.

In Bucharest, we spent one afternoon serving at an afterschool program at the Şcoală Rut (Ruth School). We led the kids in crafts and fun outdoor games. In the middle of playing games with the children, a young girl runs over to Jordyn, who was part of the team, and gave her a hug, a huge smile on her face the whole time. This one moment, which may not have seemed like much, was a very special moment.

To just love, and to have the joy and acceptance of a child is such a beautiful thing. It doesn’t matter how similar or different we may be, if we’re friends or just met, if we speak the same language or can only communicate through smiles, we are called to love and to be a light to everyone.

As we were spending time playing with these children and showing them love, they were showing us God’s love more than we could have ever imagined. These were children we had just met, children whose names we hadn’t yet learned and who we couldn’t have a conversation with. But by showing them love and through God’s love, none of that mattered.

God not only revealed his love to us through the young children that we played with at the Ruth School and other children’s programs, He also showed us His love through the elderly that we got to meet.

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Singing songs at the Christian home for the elderly in Sibiu.

While in Sibiu, we spent one morning at a Christian home for the elderly singing songs, sharing scripture, and simply spending time with the residents of the home. We had just sung “How Great Thou Art” the team singing in English and those who recognized the tune singing along in Romanian.

As we finished the song, an elderly woman turned to us, and with a smile on her face and tears running down her cheeks, she said to us, “It bring me so much joy that you, a group of young people, love God so much that would come so far from your home to share that love with us.”

We didn’t go into this home to do something new or great. We simply went to spend time with and to love the people who lived there, and through that God’s love was revealed to them, as well as to us.

The KMI 2015 team.
The KMI 2015 team.

So often we look at the term “missions” and think that we have to do something big and something new. To be on mission, we don’t have to have to do something big or have a plan, we simply have to be present and be open to love – to showing others love and to being shown love.

When we open our hearts to God’s love, sometimes we find it in the simplest of ways, like a shared meal, a smile, the gift of hospitality, or a breathtaking view. We traveled around the world to love on the people of Romania, but left feeling more loved than ever by people we had just met.

Kairos bannerThe Kairos Initiative is an organized effort among Virginia Baptists to encourage collaboration and increase effectiveness in college-aged young adult ministries with a three-fold focus: to develop disciple leaders, to build community, and to serve on mission.

The network includes churches, new church starts, young adult ministry groups, campus based BCM ministries, and others. To learn more, visit www.kairosinitiative.org.