Sixteen WLLC members and friends are traveling on behalf of the congregation to visit our companion congregation in Sacele, Romania, October 1-5. They were commissioned to carry our greetings and offerings on September 27. The group continues on for a Luther Reformation Tour in Germany, October 6-15. Here are some thoughts from some of the travelers about the trip:
I remember many years ago when a group of high school students travelled to Romania for the first time. We had an auction at the Sunset Fire Station to raise money for their trip, and since then, WLLC has engaged in a deepening relationship with the people of Sacele and their congregation over many years of financial contributions and personal contacts.
This year, the timing is right for me to travel there too, and to witness firsthand the amazing connection we have developed with these lovely people, half way around the world from us. I also am looking forward to our tour of Germany and the opportunities to learn more about Martin Luther, as that country prepares for the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. My hopes for this trip include enriching my relationship with my fellow travelers and I feel particularly blessed that one of my sisters is able to join me for these two weeks.
I look forward to our accompaniment trip with our sisters and brothers in Sacele, Romania. While traditional mission trips are usually not a bad thing, at least in our intentions, they often are centered around us doing something for another group or congregation, usually with no expectation of anything in return. That creates a relationship between a giver and a receiver. “Accompaniment” is a walking together in Jesus Christ of two or more churches in companionship and in service in God’s mission. The relationship is no longer between a giver and a receiver, but now is between two congregations, each of which has gifts to give and to receive. This kind of healthy relationship building is what I look forward to. As we move from Romania over to Germany, it will just be great to see the sites where Lutheranism began. It is one thing to hear the stories about Martin Luther, but it should be quite another to be in some of the places where he walked, worked, and prayed.
If you would like to see a more detailed discussion about Accompaniment, please visit the Oregon Synod’s website, from where I borrowed some of my statements above: http://www.oregonsynod.org/groups/peace-not-walls/our-purpose-our-mission
Here are a few of the things I am excited about in Germany and Romania. In Transylvania, there will be castles, and maybe a fairy godmother and a princess, it is the land of fairy tales. I’m taking binoculars, there may be a bird or two.
The Merchant Bridge in Erfurt is on my to do list, so glad Luther went to school there. I’ll finally see the church door where Luther ignited the Reformation almost 500 years ago. At the end of the trip we will have a wonderful reunion with our exchange student Michael Hiller.
Bitte and danke, Myrna
I know very little about Sacele, or Romania for that matter. My knowledge of Transylvania is centered mostly on Bram Stoker and Bela Lugosi movies. I know much more about Germany, the birthplace of our religion, and today a vibrant and thoroughly modern country that maintains it's link to the past. I am looking forward to walking with our Sacele friends, and also walking in Martin Luther's footsteps. I fully expect to struggle with the language (charades anyone?) and hope that patience rules the day. My eyes will thank me later for altering my daily focus from the laptop to the European countryside. Our journey looks to be the right mix of adventure, fellowship, education, and fun. Egészségedre!