Julia Asmus came to volunteer with Firm Foundations Romania for a few weeks this year. After her experience, she wrote a blog about her trip and she shared this blog with us. It’s a beautiful testament to the work that God is doing in Romania, and that we in FFR are blessed to be part of. Thank you Julia for coming to volunteer with us and for allowing us to share your writing:
In the 20 hours after I finished my last final of freshman year, I packed up my dorm, headed home, and hopped on a plane to travel the 5,000 miles to Romania. I made a point to spend time looking out the plane window and reflecting on all the things God has done in my life this past year of college, and man, there’s a lot, but that’s for another post. For most of the flight it didn’t seem real, and then at some point it simply was: I’m going to Romania and I hope I don’t come back the same.
I arrived Saturday evening and went to church the next morning with the girls I’m volunteering with. The pastor preached a message on the early church in Romanian and one of the volunteers translated into English. In that small room people from all around the world, coming to Romania for multitudes of different reasons, sat together and listened and talked. That evening I walked around the almost empty Brasov citadel in the gentle rain and visited the Black Church in the city center. It was a beautiful, yet stoic building that survived a massive fire hundreds of years ago and took decades to restore. It was built to hold 5,000 people when there were only 2,000 living in Brasov. The makers must’ve had big plans for their cathedral.
I worked my first volunteering shift at the hospital Monday morning. Sarah and I changed into our scrubs and carried over toys to play with the children. The children we visit in the hospital are all sick. Most of them have parents, but their parents may rarely visit them, if ever. Firm Foundations, the organization I’m volunteering with, steps in by bringing them diapers and hosting volunteers who assist the nurses by playing with the children, holding them, feeding them, and changing them when they might otherwise not get the necessary attention they need. I held little Adam* and played with him. I put little shoes on his feet and held him so he could try standing up. He’s nearing two years old and still can’t walk or stand on his own, but he knows how to giggle and loves to laugh. I held Callie*, a little girl who was supposedly left abandoned in a park and another little boy whose name we didn’t know. We handed out at least 50 diapers and changed multiple babies. When I came back Tuesday, little Daniel* sat up in his crib when he saw me and reached out his arms toward me. He sat in my lap and played with the toys while princess Samantha*, a 2 year old recovering from heart surgery, blew bubbles at us.
I’ve wanted my life to be this great big grand adventure. I’ve wanted to do big things in big ways. I want to change lives and impact eternity…and yet this trip has shown me that I am so small and everything I’m doing is so small. Feeding babies, changing diapers, blowing bubbles, holding children, playing with them, and I’m only here for two weeks, what can I do in two weeks?
And then I look at the mountains and think of all the miles I’ve traveled to get here and the sunsets I’ve seen and the bird song I hear each morning and the wild flowers that grow along the road and it hits me that I know the God who created it all, and He holds me and says “I’ve got you covered, I am in control, I love you, I love these children, and I’ve got you in my hands.” And I stare at Him with wonder, the same way the children open their eyes when they awake from their naps and stare at the room and everything in it. “It’s a big world out there,” I tell them as I hold them up to the window so they can see the sky and the sun and the mountains right outside their door. Their eyes grow wide and I smile at them and they smile back and perhaps life and love don’t have to be a grand adventure to be wonderful. And perhaps I don’t need to change the world everyday, perhaps all I’ve ever needed was God and His love and this relationship where He pours out all His life for me on the cross and I respond by letting that love guide me everyday, in the big things, and especially in the little ones.
*Alternative names used
Julia’s blog site: wandering-heart.weebly.com