“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my might rock, my refuge is God,” 
– Psalm 62:5-7 

For the past two years, I have found it far too easy to hide behind my abundance of emotional baggage. I would make excuses and blame it on things that happened to me in the past instead of actually making an effort to change my ways. It was always far too easy to put God in a box and never take any chances, because there was always the risk I would be hurt again. 

When I signed up for this trip nine months ago, I didn’t realize at the time what a huge chance I was taking. I was basically signing up to spend a month in a foreign country, eating new foods, learning to speak a new language, meeting new people, and basically kissing my comfort zone goodbye and running full force in the opposite direction. Oddly enough. . . this has turned out to be the best chance I’ve taken in my life. 
At training camp, we were told to lay down our expectations for our trip and surrender it all to God. I was dead positive I had done this, and I was ready to go. I had been growing my leaps and bounds, doing new things like actually listening for God’s voice when I prayed and opening up to these 8 other people on my team. I prayed out loud for the first time in my life, which was a bigger deal than most realized. 

When we arrived in Romania, to say I was slapped in the face by culture shock would be a mild understatement. It took me a good week to actually adjust to this new way of life. I was eating new foods and dealing with a language barrier I had never dealt with before, and on top of it all we were all jet lagged. My comfort zone was (and still is for the most part) so far behind me that I couldn’t even see it, let alone run back if I wanted to. Just when I thought praying out loud was a big deal, I was asked to speak in front of an entire church. I finally hit the point this week when I realized my problem; I had never truly laid down my expectations. I came into this trip expecting it to change me as a person, help me see God more clearly, and also as a break from things back home I didn’t want to deal with anymore. All of these things were expectations, whether I realized it or not, and I would never be getting anywhere until I laid them all down and surrendered them to God. During a team worship session, I knew it had to be done, and not just in my head. It had to be one of those out loud, bold expressions. It had to completely leave me. 
This changed everything. 

Now, two weeks into this trip, I cannot imagine going home. I have learned to eat food without questioning it and sometimes I actually really enjoy it. I’ve spent an afternoon shoveling dirt and it has become second nature to use an outdoor bathroom. I’ve begun to fall in love with this country and these people, and our time left here seems far too short. 

It has become more and more clear to me with each day of this trip how necessary it is to completely rely on God and actually listen for the Holy Spirit. To know that the little voice in my head isn’t just me being crazy, but God actually speaking to me is such an awesome yet overwhelming thought. 
The song “Hosanna” has played a huge role in this trip for many of us. My prayer for myself (and for my team) this entire trip has been that God would “heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen” and “break my heart for what breaks his” just as the song says, and with each day we spend here in Romania, I see this all coming about as God works not only through me, but through each and every member of this team.