We left Budapest (& Romania) in our rear-view mirror – I was thankful to have survived our trip & all the drama, sex, & danger of the Hotel Dacia… we were picked up at the Frankfurt Airport (Fraport) & taken to lunch with Johannes for bratwurst, handkäse mit music (a vinegar hardened stinky cheese covered with onions,) & apfelwein (a wine made out of apples, which is a Frankfurt specialty.)
Keep in mind that this is happening in May ’97 – & that the purpose of this scouting trip was to prepare for a missions trip to Romania in August ’97. I was introduced to the “German way” – when Johannes told us what he’d been doing in the few days we’d been in Hungary/Romania – evidently, Germans like to plan, & to have little things like “a few minor details” together well in advance… Johannes had a ‘mock up’ itinerary of what we could be doing if we were to return to Germany for a mission in August ’98… as the German Foursquare National Youth Movement was already preparing for an outreach in several cities at that time. Johannes, Fearless Leader, Nate, & myself talked for a couple of hours about the possibility of about coming to Germany in 1998 to provide support for their outreach & to build relationship with the youth & leaders that would be participating.
Here’s what was proposed, discussed, & pseudo-planned:
Just a few minor details? I don’t think so – I had the sense that I was already more prepared for Germany ’98 than I was for Romania ’97… & by the end of our discussion, I was FEELING it. This resonated with me, in my guts. This was the kind of thing that I’d hope to be able to be a part of – something that would seemingly be beneficial to the local church(es), the kind of initial connection that would facilitate (or at least make available) a longer term connection for the building of relationships – I couldn’t wait…
Johannes took us back to the airport so that we could catch our flight back to the UK … when he dropped us off, he prayed for each of us (a story in itself.) When he prayed over me, I remember him saying, “God has given you a pastor’s heart. You can embrace it. It’s good, & it fits you.” (Reference this POST for more on this.)
This made 3x in the space of 2 weeks that 3 strangers had said basically the same thing to me – & I believe that it was 3x in order to remind me that this wasn’t something of my own creation – it had nothing to do with my dad being a pastor – it was a gentle hint, a nudge really, towards something that God would open up for me in the appropriate time, in the right place, as I would keep saying, “Yes” to Him & to what He’d put in front of me.
And we flew home – London to San Francisco. The 3 of us talked briefly about what had stood out to us about our trip, & made some tentative plans for what would be happening over the next 3 months as we got ready for Romania… but mostly we slept, or tried to sleep…I discovered that the end of a trip is not the best time to strategize, as by that time, you just want it to be over, to be home, to shower, & to sleep in your own bed…
Final preparations for Romania ’97.
A few signs that there was trouble ahead.
And the trip to end all trips.