I have one sister in my family. Two years ago Rebecca and her husband went for a two week trip to Romania to care for the orphans there. They feel in love with the Romanian people, especially the orphaned children. It has been interesting for me, as an Orthodox convert, who already has a very high respect for the Romanian Orthodox spirituality and monastics of Romania, to see my Protestant Sister and Brother-in-Law, Mark, work within an Orthodox country.
They have been to some of the most famous monasteries of Romania, have seen how the Orthodox churches are everywhere, and they even got me an icon of Christ. (I do not have it yet, but am getting it at Christmas time, as I live miles from Michigan).
This past summer, Mark and Rebecca went back to Romania for 5 weeks, to help run a summer camp. They came to back from Romania, and decided that they wanted to be full time missionaries to the Romanian orphans.
For me, as a convert to the Orthodox Church, it is a challenge to know how to best articulate the complexity of Protestant missionary work in Orthodox countries. As I know various friends who are Orthodox, from Orthodox countries, I have heard how it is not easy for Protestant missionaries to work there. There is a lot of mixed feelings, suspicion and cultural confusion towards Protestant's Christian expression. The Protestant songs about Jesus, that many converts from Protestant backgrounds know, are confusing to ethnically Orthodox people who find these songs so casual and foreign to their understanding of God and the Church. However, if Protestants go with the right mindset of love and respect and cultural openness, they will be okay. I even know of an Orthodox priest in Chicago who went to Romania as a Protestant missionary and is now an Orthodox priest in the Romanian jurisdiction!
I love Rebecca and Mark very much. I strongly respect the compassion that they have for the Romanian children. At the very time when the US economy is struggling, and there is so much upheaval, Rebecca and Mark are seeking to be obedient to where they see God calling them. Mark has a full time job as an Engineer and they have a lovely house. They will give up the job security and are seeking to sell their house. They feel, as their blog is also titled, that they are on an Extraordinary Life Journey. And I believe they are.
Please pray for them. They still trying to sell their house and they want to start their life in Romania by this April. If the Lord wills them to go, I will stand behind them in prayer; I will also miss them very much. It is hard for me to imagine not being able to call my sister in the same timezone. Lord have mercy on us!