I had the opportunity to be part of a team from my church (Fountain Square Presbyterian) that went to Cluj, Romania. It was a chance to see other expressions of the church in a different cultural context. It was a learning journey that focused on cultivating and deepening relationships.

I was asked “what was the most surprising thing [I] learned?” That’s tough to answer because I’m still processing the trip. My thoughts are centering around two issues:
1. The role of tribalism/shared history and the tension created among people. There are parallels to the issues of race that plague us here in the U.S., the conflicts/issues that go back hundreds of years.
2. The issues surrounding poverty. How we see the same systems undergirding it (politics, self-interest, lack of empathy, etc.). And how hard it is to get people involved in investing in the PROCESS, that is, building relationships as the foundational piece to combating it.

Probably the most profound prayer I heard, which echoed my heart though I hadn’t put voice to it, was when a partner prayed “God, I don’t see your love in this poverty. I don’t see your justice.” But I’m going to trust You anyway and be committed to the struggle and reconciliation process.

Like I said, I’m still processing a lot (so I hope that made sense).