We left NYC on May 31 to spend our summer with family and friends before departing for Romania. We knew it would be busy, but I don't think we could have ever imagined how crazy it was going to be! For 3 months, we lived on the road. We were in a different place, if not multiple places, every single week. We connected with friends and family, partners, and potential supporters. We traveled to Texas, Georgia, New York, and Michigan. We were exhausted by the time the end of July came, but there was still work to be done. We flew to India and spent time with our partner organization. We then went to back to Europe to have some vacation time before settling in to Romania.
We knew that rest was important and needed after the chaos of the summer, but unfortunately, life had different plans. We were initially going to visit Stockholm and Copenhagen, but logistics got complicated and it was no longer financially feasible so we ditched that plan. There were so many other stresses going on that I won't mention, but needless to say, we ended up living a logistical nightmare. Our vacation, while having some fun and relaxing moments, wasn't the rest we were looking for or necessarily needed, but what are you going to do? We ended up spending time in Amsterdam, Munich, and Innsbruck. It was our first time in Germany and Austria so we really enjoyed getting to see new places and experience new cultures!
We've now been in Romania for a month and are settling in quite nicely. The first couple weeks were challenging as we navigated this new culture with a language that we do not speak. We have managed to get the necessities for our apartment though, which makes it feel much more like home. We still have a few things to do or to purchase, but I'd say we're about 90% there!
In the midst of this, we officially launched our first "Flourish Group" for Radiant Hope. I have 7 little ladies coming to my apartment every week to talk about identity, value, worth, and the hard things of life. We'll also be adding in more activities as the weeks pass so that we can begin to build relationships with more kids and expand our program in 2018.
It's crazy that this God-sized dream is happening and is getting better with each passing day. Every conversation with the girls or a look out the window reminds me of God's faithfulness. Romania wasn't part of the initial picture when we were strategizing how to develop Radiant Hope, but over time, He revealed to us that this is where we needed to be right now. We get to be here with the girls that I have grown to love and invest in them during these critical years.
Now that we're more settled, I'm hoping to have the space to blog more and keep you in the loop. Ricky and I want to share this with you - our friends and family - because you are a big part of the reason we've made it this far. We want to share the highs and lows, joys and triumphs, disappointments and sorrows. All of these things keep life interesting and allow us to be refined so that we can grow into the people we were created to be.
I appreciate you following along as we continue to walk this path that God is so graciously laying before us.