Friday, September 10, 2010

Savor the Summer

As the summer of 2010 draws to a close
When we’ll have another like this, no one knows
It was a summer that we so wished would last,
Because while it was here, we were having a blast
We had the Thompsons and the college students, life was all good!
We tried to act as if they weren’t leaving,
Even though we knew, eventually, they would
It was a summer of adventure, and growing, and fun
And it ended just as quickly as it had begun
First there was Fuge, way out in Kentucky
Where you might not burst into flames, if you were lucky
In Williamsburg, we put our faith into action
Trying to help people, regardless of their situation
We met the Thompsons in the airport, with many hugs and smiles
We were happy to have them back, even if only for a while
Then came VBS, after which we’d stay at church and talk
And during which Victoria earned the nickname: “laughing hawk”
Then came the Romania missions trip
An amazing experience for all who went
We played soccer, ate liver, and shared God’s love
And showed people the hope that only comes from above
We argued over whether Borsec or Dorna was best
An argument that was never put to rest
We tried to reason out what “dolphin trainer” meant
And tried to figure out why water was dripping out the AC vent
We played UNO, and sang “Two Lei”
And got to know new people every day
We taught the translators how to say, “ain’t”, “ya’ll”, and “down yonder”
Then Evan taught them “booger”, which gave them something to ponder
It was sad to have to say goodbye
But back to the USA we had to fly
Back to work, to school, to real life
Back to the mundane, back to the strife
Summer was winding down,
And the signs of change began to abound
One by one, students left for college
Presumably in the pursuit of knowledge
The Thompsons flew back to the Middle East
Well, three of them at least
Youth group started back again
And school was there, just like it’s always been
But, it was obvious that this summer had changed us all
A fact that’s obvious as we head towards fall
My world got a lot bigger
But my town seems a bit emptier
My friends are now scattered across the state, the country, and the globe
But I wish they could all be here in my abode
When we look back, I hope we won’t think “Wow, what a bummer.”
I hope we all remember to “Savor the Summer”.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My new favorite shirt!!

My new favorite shirt!!
Obama Urges Homeowners to Refinance
If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama's Refi Program

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Last Day in Romania

Well, today is our last day in Romania. Today was our tourism day. We went to the mall, a flea market type place, and a Romania restaurant where we ate pizza.
First I will start out with a praise. After much prayer and work, the bus doors were finally opened, and Autumn was able to retrieve her guitar that was being “held hostage by the bus”. We had prayed several times that the doors would be opened and they finally were. Talk about an answer to MUCH prayer! We ended up working with two electricians, one who was trying to fix the doors but ended up fixing the air condition on the bus, and one who finally fixed the doors (you don't know how many times I wished we had Alex Valade here with us this week). At one point we even discussed prying the door open. There were enough rednecks here that we probably could have managed.
The first thing we did this morning was take the Lord's supper. We were blessed to have three of our Romania translators who were taking the supper for their first time. Here in Romania, the Christians are not allowed to take the Lord's supper until they have been baptized. Several of our translators had just been baptized, so this was their first time taking the supper.
After that we went to the mall. First we had to exchange our American dollars for Romanian leu. After that we went to the most logical place Americans in Romanian mall would go: McDonalds! I will tell you, a milk shake back home is way better than a milk shake here in Romania. Jamie Venning informed us that the double cheeseburger was about the same, Tom said there wasn't enough salt on the fries, and Ryan Taylor complained about the sea of mayonnaise on his Royal Deluxe hamburger. Tyler also informed that if you get a Happy Meal (which he obviously did) you get to pick your toy. But, it was good to have something close to American food instead of the chicken livers we had just a day earlier. After we ate, we continued on through the mall visiting stores such as Reebok, Nike, and Adidas (can you tell I was with a group of soccer players?). One time when I was leading our group, we somehow ended up in an electronics store. I don't know how that happened. :-) I got a couple of cable connecters which were a little less expensive than it was here. I also went shopping with Justin Krehbiel for sugar free juice. Yeah, right. Not only could we not speak Romanian to ask someone for help, but when we started reading the ingredients, we couldn't find a single bottle without sugar.
Next, we went to a flea market. This was a bunch of vendors lined up on the edge of a busy road. Sometimes it felt like you were playing “Frogger” just crossing the road. Most of these vendors sold about the same things: souvenir plates, table cloths, and woven baskets. I ended up buying one wooden spoon. Yeah!
We then went to an overlook where we could see the entire city of Cluj. And lastly, we went to a place that served amazing pizza, and drinks that were 0.2 liters big. No refills.
On the way back to the hotel, there was a massive thunderstorm which poured the rain. We quickly learned that the streets in Cluj have no drainage. Water was pooled up in the streets four and five inches deep in places. Crazy. Daniel also informed us that the runway at the Cluj airport floods when it rains very hard (like it did tonight). He said the last team out of here flew out a day late, had to stay two days in Germany, had to fly to Spain, and one other airport before crossing the Atlantic to get to America. All because of flooding at the Cluj airport. I checked the weather yesterday and it said “partly cloudy with a chance of rain”. I checked it just now, and it said “Sunny”. Let's just hope.... and pray.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thunderstorms Electricity and Bus Doors

Well, another day, another blog post.
First things first. Last night Zchuck lived up to his name after a bout with the chicken liver. We got back to the hotel, and I just couldn't stand it. So yes, Zchuck did throw up on this trip, but I have a VERY good reason. That liver was nasty.
This morning I woke up to a HUGE thunderstorm. I kind of preferred the rooster from the first day. Especially when I found out that the storm had knocked our power out. I thought “Oh, no. This is going to be bad. We think it's bad in Franklin County when the power gets knocked out and is out for several days. In a foreign country it will probably be several days before we get power back.” I sat and watched the storm for a while along with the various things that were happening in our hotel/restaurant/gas station that were byproducts of the electricity being out. There were customers just standing at the gas pumps either waiting to pay or waiting to pump. There was even some speculation on whether or not they were going to be able to fix our breakfast. Ryan was hoping that Frata had lost power so that they couldn't fix us our “special” dinner today. He said “God answers prayer!!!” But then, after giving it some thought he said “Actually, that wouldn't slow them down much. They would just cook it over a fire. Make you a nice rotisserie chicken.” But, about an hour after the power went off, I heard a motor start and the power kicked on. I think the hotel has a generator. Thankfully.
So far, we have had some fun teaching the translators some “new” American words such as “y'all”, “down yonder”, and “ain't”. Evan Layman was also kind enough to teach them the word “booger”. And explain EXACTLY what it meant.
I don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but our bus broke down one day this week. We were not even sure if we were going to be able to go to the village that day or not. Miraculously the bus was fixed with one small problem remaining: the storage compartment doors that are opened by hydraulics won't open now. The bad news is that we have some equipment under there... including Autumn's guitar. So you can just imagine how much Autumn is freaking out. We have two more days to get those doors open or Autumn will be leaving her guitar in Romania. So that is one prayer request, for Autumn's sanity and ours: “Get those doors open!”
Also in other exciting news, we had several more people accept Christ this morning during the ministry time at the village. We even thought we might be getting to see some baptisms this evening, but that didn't end up working out. So far, the number of people who have accepted Christ stands near 40! Out of those 40, I have personally gotten to pray with 7 of them as they prayed to receive Christ!
The second morning we were awakened by someone trying to start their truck in the parking lot. He tried once, he tried twice, he tried three times. He tried for literally 20 minutes before it finally came to life and he limped it out of the parking lot, after which he was promptly passed by a horse and wagon.
This evening, at the village, we were served cabbage rolls. I managed to put down two, but had to leave the other two on the plate. Not feeling the greatest right now. Update Later.

Futball Maggots and Chicken Liver

Greetings from Romania.
We have had an awesome last couple of days.
Yesterday, we went to Frata village and played soccer (futball) again. I was the goalie. After I allowed seven goals, we decided the game was over. Every time the Romanians scored on me they would laugh, point at me, and yell “Americano Ha-ha”. And for some reason they kept yelling “Watcha de Tom! Watcha de Tom!” After the game was over, we decided to talk to them for a few minutes. Tom, Story, and Hunter Layman shared their testimonies first. Then Ray Woolson explained the gospel along with a vivid description of hell that included fire, worms, and maggots. As Evan Layman said later “Turn or burn, baby. Turn or burn.” After that, we asked if anyone wanted to accept Christ right then. Five people raised their hands, and I was able to lead them in a prayer to accept Christ. That day also included Evan Layman yelling over some other people “Do you want Jesus or not?”.
Then we found out that the ladies of the village were kind enough to fix us “dinner”. “Dinner” turned out to be ground up chicken liver and potatoes. I looked at Tom, and we both said “This is not good”. We knew these ladies had worked hard preparing and cooking and even bringing tables from their houses for us to eat on. So we knew we would have to eat it. Tom said “Why do they have to be so nice?” So Tom and I decided that we would take it like men and just stomach as much as we could handle. Some of us were not as brave. Exhibit A: Evan Layman, who scraped everything off his plate into Alton's backpack so he wouldn't have to eat it. Exhibit B: Ryan Taylor, who had the nerve to go inside and ask for a plate of JUST mashed potatoes, which he got and ate every bit of. We knew that these ladies were feeding us on Wednesday night, but they sprung this on us as a surprise on Tuesday night. I told pastor Stan “I didn't have time to prepare”. He said “I know, I didn't either” By prepare, I meant lining my backpack with a plastic bag, so that I could do the same thing as Evan. I told Pastor Stan my idea, and he said “Well, if you do that, just make sure you sit next to me.” Ha-ha. We actually had lunch in the village today fixed by the same ladies, but today it was really good. Grilled chicken and potatoes. Yum. I didn't even have to use my “prepared” backpack. We still have dinner tonight to eat at the village so I'm a little concerned, I think I'll leave my backpack “prepared”.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roosters and Soccer With a Serious Note

Well, you know you’re on a missions trip when your alarm clock fails to wake you up, but instead you are awakened by a rooster crowing.
As I write this, I’m riding on a bus headed to the village of Frata. God is already doing an amazing work in Frata. Already we have had three people accept Christ. Two of which I was privileged to witness. We went into a small house in the village of Frata to pray and lay hands on an elderly couple that was sick. We went into the house and prayed for the lady, who had a heart condition, and the man, who was blind, Then our translator, Mihi, started conversing with them. Not understanding much Romanian, we couldn’t tell exactly what he was saying, but we could tell that he was sharing the gospel. Eventually both of them prayed to receive Christ..
Then we go from a language that I can’t understand to a language everyone understands: sports! Our group has had a great time playing soccer (football) in multiple different locations. First at the hotel, there is a courtyard outside our hotel where the guys from our group and the translators have been playing soccer during free time. They don’t have goals, but they have been putting two rocks where the goal posts should be, and the rule is that the goal is not good unless it is below the goalie’s waist. Playing on concrete is not always a great idea, because well played soccer can result in people landing on the ground, as Matthew, Ryan, Joseph, Tyler, Story, and one of the translators (Emanuel) can tell you. We also played in a road/driveway in the village Frata. This spot had it’s own difficulties. Everything from wet mud, horse and buggies, and fist sized rocks to step on. Even Layman slid in the wet mud when he tried to illegally slide tackle someone and take their legs out from under them. That person jumped out of the way, but Evan fell in the mud. He should have known that he was in way over his head. He had to wear his muddy shirt the rest of the day. The last location we have played is a small school in the village of Frata. We have a small grass and gravel field where we played. This was the only location that actually had goals. They usually play Americans vs. Romanians. We managed not to get killed in the first game… final score 1-1. The second game was a different story. In the second game, America beat Romania 4-1, including scores by such big names as Joseph Wampler, Tom Johnson (PK), and several others. Our guys all started waving their shirts in the air and singing America’s national anthem after the game was over. Ha-ha.
Until next time,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Flying, Security, Knives, Water Bottles, and the Internet

Hey guys,

As many of you know I am now in Romania. Our church made it over here safely last night without too many delays. It was my first time flying, and the flight out of Roanoke was pretty interesting, but uneventful. And for those of you that are wondering, Zchuck has NOT shown up yet. :-)

My first little adventure started in the Roanoke airport. I had forgotten to take the pocket knife out of my carry on bag, but I did not realize it at the time. I sat there watching them run my bag through the x-ray machine. They did it once, twice, three times. Then the x-ray guy calls the inspection guy over and points to something on his screen. They pulled my bag off the line and started going through it. I was trying to figure out what they possibly would have a problem with. I said “There's a large camera in there, along with a laptop.” He said “No, that's not what it is”. Then he started digging in the side pocket so I said “There's a bottle of Benedryl in there and some other medicine”. He said “Nope” one more time and them pulled out my knife. I said “Uh-oh”.

The flight overseas from Charlotte to Munich went well. Except for one thing. I had taken my water bottle onto the plane, and put it into the over-head compartment. A few minutes later Ricky Wampler felt something dripping on his head. The flight attendant thought it was the air condition vent and started running around like crazy trying to clean it up. Then he says (with his accent) “The over-head bin is wet” Then he pulls out my water bottle and says “What is this?” He asked me “Is this yours?” I said “Yes”. He said “Your water spilled in the over-head” Then he says to Ricky “We will have to think of some punishment for him. He can clean the bathrooms” Ha-ha.

No one is going to let me live those things down. They keep asking me “Weapon free, Ezra?” “Water bottle empty, Ezra?” On the plane, Ryan said “We can't take him anywhere” Ha-ha.

The rest of the trip went relatively well. We had a beautiful landing in Munich, Germany. The pilot did such a good job, that we barely even felt the landing. The whole plane broke out into applause. We had the exact opposite landing in Cluj. :-/ Everyone made it through customs without a problem. The only little hang up we had was that Pastor Stan, Tyler, Tom, and Bryanna lost their luggage. They are supposed to get it delivered to the hotel today.

We had a little bit of trouble getting the internet to work here at the hotel, resulting in us being off line since we left the Charlotte airport. We managed to get that fixed last night.

Well, after being up 34 odd hours straight, I was ready to get in bed last night. I slept great.

Goodbye for now.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Hey guys,
Welcome to my blog. I will be using it for a variety of things, but the first being updates that I will hopefully be able to give you while we are on mission in Romania! Enjoy!