Reflection: Amanda Hebard

In August 2010, four young adults participated a mission trip to Romania to work at a summer camp as part of Lehigh Presbytery’s ongoing partnership with the Hungarian Reformed Church in Romania. Read all of their entries.

Kim, Brandon, and Amanda

Kim, Brandon, and Amanda in a field of Sunflowers in Romania

Let me first say thank you to all those that donated or otherwise supported this trip. It was a mind-blowing experience for me. I had never been to Europe, and my small understanding of this world was limited both to the US and to my less than 20 years of memories. I feel it is important to understand that the nature of the trip wasn’t as salvation or relief to the visited, but as friends coming together across the world and growing in one another. While I know I have grown remarkably through my short experience, I hope that the people we touched and met and worked with grew as well.

And I feel they did. The campers with us learned so much English and got to improve their language skills. Even when we couldn’t communicate, we laughed. I’ve never met kids with such patience before. They understand that in order to achieve something worthwhile, you’ve got to put in time and effort. In that way, and this is silly but simple, learning a difficult craft is like growing the vegetables for dinner. Simultaneously, the kids were just like ours, mischievous and energetic and too cool to sing (not by the end of the week!). It was surreal but comforting to this universality.

We met adults, too, people that carried us through the experience and showed us the splendor of their heritage. The family that ran the camp: Csaba, his wife Ilona, and their daughters Jasmine and Carissa; we made strong friendships with them and were able to experience what it’s like to be a Hungarian family in Romania. We saw the same with Tibor Nagy, our guide, whose children are still only young. But Tibor knows everyone in his village, and worked to build a fellowship hall behind his house, and is a stable, spiritual bastion for everyone around him. He drove us through Hungary after we landed in Budapest, through Romania to the various camps and cities, to the Carpathian Mountains where we learned how glorious and remarkable the Earth is, all the secrets it’s hiding.

I don’t think our trip could have been anything but a spiritual one. The sense of awe looking over the mountains next to the bittersweet joy of hearing a young woman willing to share her story of loss: these things are from God, from the Goodness in Life itself. And if God is Love, then what I felt on that journey, what I shared and received with our greater family across the planet, was Love.

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