In this series on A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to Become A Pastor, I shared about A Decision and A Book in Part 1, Part 2 was A Discovery and The Downfall Begins, Part 3 was The Valley of Death, and Part 4 was Recovering and Remembering That Book.
Part 5 today is about Romania and how God worked through my trips there to begin to show me what he was calling me to do.
As I shared in Part 4, in April 1996, the doctor told me, “Matt you are now a healthy man, It is a miracle you did not die.” Upon hearing that there was a sense of relief, but when I got to my car I had question- What now? My life was in shambles after three years of health struggles. God would begin to show me What Now through my trips to Romania.
After hearing my church wanted people to go to Romania, I signed up to go. My first trip was in June 1997. That trip demonstrated two themes that would reoccur. The first was being doubted by others and the other was being with other cultures was like a fish taking to water for me.
When the missionaries first saw my name on the list, their first thought was, “Isn’t he the guy who talks slow?” Their only frame of reference for me was meeting me when I was still sick.
But while I was in Constanta Romania, I found that relating with my new Romanian friends was so natural for me. There were so many incredible moments we shared. That first trip gave me the desire to return in June 1998 and teach a class in the Conversational English Language Camp.
I loved interacting with the students in my class and spending time with them in the afternoons or after the evening classes. Being in a classroom teaching English was something I loved. I learned some Romanian phrases during those first trips too.
In October 1999 during my third trip, I had a conversation with a missionary outside the People’s Palace, built under the dictator’s rule, about teaching English as a way to connect with people. He told me it was one of the best ways to connect with other cultures.
I returned from that trip knowing God wanted me to gain experience teaching English Second Language. At the time I thought it was for the purpose of returning to Romania full-time as a missionary.
God would bless me with four more trips to Romania, but the calling would become clearer in time. More about that in Part 6.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.