A little over a year our family finished up initial support raising, said emotional goodbyes, and boarded a plane bound for Bucharest, Romania. As we’ve settled in and communicated with friends and family back in America the common question has been, “What’s it like to live in Romania?”
We have pondered that question over the last year and one common answer always comes to mind, “It’s like having to relearn how to live all over again.” We have moved to a different country with a different way of doing everything and now we have to learn their ways. We have had to learn/relearn how to speak (Romanian language), how to shop, how to pay bills, how to cook, how to order food, how to travel, how to see a doctor, how to purchase a vehicle, etc. You get the picture!
What we’ve also quickly learned is the stress of living overseas! It is real, and at times it takes a toll! There are good days, bad days, and everything in between. What we have figured out is how much we still haven’t figured out.
We will never forget the first time we had to order food at McDonald’s. We chose to eat there a few times our first week because many menu items are the same in Romanian and English. To make a long story short, it did not go well. Most of us did not get the drinks we ordered, and Melissa did not get the meal she ordered, so we had to go back and get it corrected. At this point we did not speak a word of Romanian. While it was frustrating not being able to order a simple meal correctly, we praised God that after the craziness of that moment we all had something to eat and drink. We were quickly reminded just how dependent we are on God for everything.
I am also reminded of the time our language tutor had me say my very first compound sentence in Romanian. I was very nervous, but after some encouragement from her, and some coaching, the sentence came out even though it sounded like a toddler learning to talk. The point is, this past year has been a whole lot of learning and relearning. There are days that are really hard and days where God sends us encouragement right when we need it.
Another sobering thought about living in Romania is that spiritual warfare is very real. Our main enemies, the flesh, the world, and Satan, remind us daily how much they do not want us here. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age…” Our spiritual enemies try every day to use those tough language moments, mistakes in public, challenges in church or ministry, conflicts in our home, rude interactions, etc., to get us to quit or give up.