July,2023 – God Bless America, Land That I Love (and the ‘other land that I love…)

July,2023 – God Bless America, Land That I Love (and the ‘other land that I love…)

Every year as we celebrate the 4th of July, my heart and mind are drawn to how grateful I am for America.  I say often, “Thank you, Lord, for my having been born and bred in this huge, beyond beautiful and amazing country”.  We sing, ‘God Bless America, land that I Iove . . .”  And I say, “Thank you, Lord, for this land and for the freedoms I have been offered – that have been made available to every American – everything from the cars we drive to our choices of education, the cereals we eat, and careers.  Whether everyone avails themselves of these choices is one thing, but they are available.

I worked, raised a family, ministered locally for many years loving each of the chapters of my life into which God led me.  And then, one day, He gave me an assignment/called me to serve Him in Romania.  Everything was different there I quickly discovered – the culture, the mentality, the work ethic, the religion, education, the food, cars, and of course, the language!  As a friend said who came to visit me, “Everything is different!”  But just as quickly, I discovered that there is one ‘constant’ no matter where you are in the world – the hearts of followers of Christ are the same wherever you are.  I ‘fell in love’ with the precious marginalized ones the Lord sent me to minister to and care for.  I ‘fell in love’ with Romanian sisters and brothers in Christ.  I ‘fell in love’ with the lay of the land -most specially, the mountains.

My heart gained a compassion I had not felt before for a people and a land – those ravaged by Communism under the auspices of the very evil Ceausescu who would have robbed the Romanians of their very soul, if possible.  There is much not to love about Romania such as the abuse of their children (thousands and thousands of orphans), their being recognized as having the second highest corruption rate in the world (right after Russia), and the second highest alcoholism rate (also, right after Russia).  And then there is their seemingly need to capitalize on Bram Stoker’s novel featuring the blood-thirsty and evil Count Dracula.

Regardless, with my deep love for God’s assignment for me ‘loving the orphans’, and the deep friendships I developed with followers of Christ, it wasn’t long before I began to think of Romania as ‘the other land that I love’ – so much so that I obtained a Romanian Citizenship Visa.  America, the country of my birth and opportunity will always be ‘the land that I love’, but I am so happy, delighted, and content to have been sent as an ambassador for the Most High One to Romania – and have it become ‘the other land that I love’!

God, please bless America!  And God, please bless Romania!