If I were to describe this year's RBYA winter mission trip in a few words I would say that it was full of God's grace. I saw His grace through it all: in His protection upon all of our travels, in helping us to prepare for each church service, in our discussions amongst each other, in our Bible studies, in every moment of every day. The purpose of the RBYA mission trips is to encourage churches in part of the country, and this year we visited churches in Nashville, TN; Hickory, NC; Charlotte, NC; Hollywood, FL; and Atlanta, GA.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
- Psalm 139:3
We started the trip in Nashville, TN on Saturday, December 26 where everyone on the team met. Some youth already knew each other and others met for the first time. After getting to know each other along with youth from the church in Nashville, we began practicing our choral songs. We were happy that some of the Nashville youth stayed and practiced with us to sing with us the next day at church. That Sunday we had our first church service of the trip and the whole church received us with so much warmth on such a cold winter day. Many of the youth in Nashville expressed their desire to become involved in RBYA, and we look forward to seeing them at camps and conferences, and serving with them on future mission trips. The fellowship in Nashville was truly blessed.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
- Psalm 133:1
Next we drove over the beautiful Appalachian Mountains into North Carolina. On Tuesday, we had an important discussion together with the youth of Hickory about the proper and Biblical view of marriage. The next day we had the opportunity to help a local Christian mission that reaches out to poorer people in the community. We had one service in Charlotte and then a service in Hickory where a couple of the young men in our group gave testimonies. I was especially touched by Daniel Dumitriu's testimony of how he spent a couple weeks among the tribes in the jungles of Peru last summer, serving along with local Christian missionaries. He spoke of how God guided his every step and how he learned to appreciate missionaries who sacrifice so much so the Gospel may reach lost souls.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
- Psalm 121:8
Wednesday night we set out on the long journey from snowy North Carolina down south to sunny Florida. We held services at two of the churches in Hollywood, FL (Grace and Bethel), where we spent New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We prayed through midnight, thus entering the new year in prayer. New Year's morning we enjoyed seeing the beauty of the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean horizon.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
- Lamentations 3:22-23
We ended our trip in Atlanta, GA where we had our last two services – in the morning at Gwinnett Romanian Baptist Church and in the evening at First Romanian Baptist Church. Being the first Sunday of the month, we had communion during the morning service and I was happy that Pastor Petru Popovici imparted communion to us. I am very thankful for his continuing service to the Lord and to His people for so many years. May we follow his example and faithfully serve the Lord all the days of our lives.
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
The will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
- Isaiah 40:31
I am blessed to have had this privilege to serve the Lord with 20 other youth this winter mission trip. I trust that the Lord worked in the lives of all who were on the trip as well as in the lives of the youth at the churches we visited. May our excitement from the mission trip not fade away, but rather continue throughout the year and may we not grow weary in doing good.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
- Romans 8:37
- Claudiu Mich, Training Department West