So here is what we’ve done in the past week or so. Monday we just hung out and did some souvenir shopping during the day. We spent time down in the square and just hung out. At night we went to the YWAM base to help with dinner and clean up. YWAM was hosting the CROSSOVER basketball team, a group of guys and girls who help teach basketball to kids and at night play against local teams. Our job was to serve their dinner, clean the kitchen and dishes and then mop and clean. They didn’t eat dinner til between 930-10 so it was definitely a late night for us.
Tuesday we purchased our tickets to Budapest and had a time of prayer at JeJe and Coleen’s. It was a great time just reflecting on our time we had in Cluj and what the Lord had done in each of our own lives. We have all learned and grown so much throughout the duration of this trip. We went back to the YWAM base again Tuesday night to serve the CROSSOVER team.
Wednesday we went to central park to hang out during the day before we went and watched the CROSSOVER teams play. During this time, there was a heavy rainstorm that Jessica, Whitnee and I got caught in. It stopped raining, and we headed to the gym to watch the games…on the way there the streets were flooded and Jessica, Becca and I got kicked out of our cab because the driver didn’t want to drive across the flooded road. So we walked…through the nasty dirty water to find our way to the gym. The girls played and had a great come from behind win, and the guys were dominant. It was fun to watch. We then went back to the base to serve them before they headed to Budapest and then to the Czech Republic to continue on with their tour.
Thursday was an all-day affair beginning at 5AM. Seeing as we didn’t home til after midnight, it made for a long day with little sleep. We left Cluj at 5 AM headed for Sigishoara. We had thoughts of eating breakfast there before heading on to Bran, where Dracula’s castle is, but we got there too early…so we settled for some crackers and baked goods from a local bakery. On we went to Bran where we spent a few hours, eating and checking out the castle. It was pretty cool, I think we are all glad we had the opportunity to get to see and experience it. A long drive, but well worth it. We stopped in Sigishoara for some time in the city as well as dinner. What a beautiful city! It is a medieval city where some of Romania’s rulers lived…and I may be wrong, but I believe this is where Vlad the Impaler lived. After dinner we got back in our shuttle to head back to Cluj. Arriving home at 11 PM, needless to say…we were absolutely exhausted.
Friday…our last day in Cluj. 2 words…Mixed emotions. The girls checked out of the bread and breakfast, and Jess and Whit headed to the salon for a massage and a hair dying. The rest of us went to the mall and saw Batman. We then made our way back to the Jejeran’s for a sweet time of fellowship with our friends from YWAM. It was really weird to think that we were actually leaving that night and that they had come to say goodbye. In our 6 and a half weeks here, they really made us feel at home. Home away from home where each of us felt so welcomed and really like a part of their family. After our goodbyes, we headed to a traditional Romanian dinner with the six of us and the Jejeran family. It was nice to spend time with just us and them. After dinner, the six of us met up with Ovi and Cristina from the YWAM base to hang out. We had some ice cream before walking to a park to pray. It was a great way to spend our last moments in the city. After gathering our stuff at the Jejeran house, we headed to the bus station where we got aboard our shuttle and left for our 7 hour journey to Budapest. Definitely mixed emotions. It was so hard to leave these people who we have connected with and truly come to love and cherish after 6 and a half weeks, but we also know that God has so many more great blessings ahead of…including a trip back to Budapest for Chanel, Natalie, Jessica and I. And we were very excited to share our memories of the city with Whitnee and Becca.
Saturday in Budapest…well, we got to the bus station a bit after 7. Got a couple taxis and headed for the church. After checking in, we headed out to hang out in the city. We went all over today revisiting some of the places we had been 2 years ago. Included in that was where we had our first outreach, as well as Hero Square. It was a really long day, and we came in early to get some sleep before another long day Sunday. We were really looking forward to Sunday…church in the morning, lunch and maybe a visit to the castle followed by evening church and dinner with our friends at one of our favorite Hungarian restaurants, The Jungle…also known as the pirate restaurant.
Sunday was great! Church in the morning followed by lunch at Arriba and some sightseeing. We spent the day walking around the castle and the rest of the Buda side of the city before heading back to church for Sunday night service. Worship was amazing, as those of you who have been here know, and it was just a great way to spend our last Sunday here in Europe. We went to The Jungle for dinner and were joined by a few of our Hungarian friends. What a blessing it was to hang out with them and talk about what has been going on for the past couple of years as well as talk about all the things that we had done here in this city.
Today, the girls went off to a Turkish bath and I met up with a friend who I grew up with and had lunch. Pretty amazing to travel half way around the world and meet up with someone you’ve known almost your whole life. We will be heading to the castle tonight as we spend our last night here in Europe before we start our journey home tomorrow!
It has been an incredible experience and we thank you so much for your support, love, and prayers. We hope that this blog has allowed you to come along with us on this great adventure that God has set before us. The six of us look forward to coming home and being able to share our stories with all of you!
In His love,
Ryan, Chanel, Natalie, Jessica, Whitnee and Becca